Beverley Hughes has said engaging society’s most excluded young people will be the “critical test” of a ten-year youth strategy published yesterday.
The children’s minister said disadvantaged young people had most to gain from the strategy, which aims to deliver new and improved youth facilities in every community and engage young people in positive activities.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families announced an extra £184m from 2008-11 for the strategy, alongside £495m of continuing funding.
The DCSF will also pour in an as yet undisclosed sum from unclaimed assets.
Beverley Hughes said the new measures would empower young people and give them a greater say in the provision of local services.
The youth strategy’s key commitments include providing a place for young people to go in every constituency, increased residential opportunities bringing together young people from different backgrounds, and improved availability of year-round activity-based support schemes.
A pilot of “coming of age” ceremonies will also be held to mark young people’s transition to adulthood, in order to boost their self-respect.
Primary care trusts and youth offending teams will also be expected to pool budgets with local authorities to help improve educational attainment and prevent offending.
The strategy follows a government commitment to spend over £1.3bn on developing extended schools from 2008-11, to ensure all schools offer extended provision by 2010 and disdvantaged families have adequate access.