We need our youth workers back

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Government funding cuts since 2011 have meant 800 youth workers have lost their jobs in London alone.

Youth workers are mentors to young people. They have the power to single handedly change lives - in a way that teachers cannot. They are the guardian angels of young people - the eyes and ears, able to spot people at risk of getting into trouble and referring them to services.

Surely the best thing we can invest in as a country is our young people. It shouldn't be motorways, or slightly faster train lines. We are also denying the basics to young people. With more youth workers, it would not take six months for children in poor mental health to get the counseling they desperately need.

The annual funding gap in London is £39 million. The hard work of Sian Berry, Sadiq Khan and others in the London Assembly has helped plug a third of the gap. But that's still not enough, and the rest of the country isn't lucky enough to have these people campaigning hard for their futures.

The time for apathy is over. The impacts of funding cuts to youth services are felt in local communities across the UK every day - the rise in youth violence has gone hand in hand with the funding cuts.

Our call is for the government to step up and promise to start plugging that funding gap. That's the remaining £30m needed in London, and the blank cheque needed for the rest of the country. A price cannot be put on the futures of millions of young people across the UK.