By Melissa Kasule
A charity suffers major blows and struggles to keep afloat amidst the pandemic with increasing cuts to youth services.
Football charity, Streatham Academy FC, founded by local resident – Hussein Hussein, has seen the numbers halve in the aftermath of the first lockdown.
The organisation that aims to prevent crime and end gang culture through football and youth empowerment was working with 150 local kids prior to the Covid crisis.
Without local or central government funding, Streatham Academy FC became dependent on crowdfunding during the lockdown.
The charity raised around £800 to pay for expenses but failed to find funds to buy digital football kits so kids could train at home.
With the latest lockdown and Covid measures, the charity has been forced to look at running online Zoom training sessions.
National Youth Agency found youth services have been cut by over 70% in under a decade, with youth centres closing down, training placements reduced, and a loss of 4,500 youth workers since 2012.
Mr Hussein said: “For small youth charities like ours, Covid has been a time of real difficulty and uncertainty.
“Lockdown has really disrupted our service, with our numbers falling to half and now back down to zero.
“There’s a real lack of funding out there, particularly for new, smaller organisations”.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham said: “Youth services like Streatham Academy are a vital lifeline, particularly at this time of crisis, often standing as the only safe space or source of positive contact in a community for young people to access. They deserve better support.”
According to a report by the National Children’s Bureau, London saw cuts of 22% to youth services between 2010/11 and 2015/16.
Regional Breakdown: Cuts to services
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