Scottish Government funding for youth work is being increased by more than 30% to recognise the vital role the sector will play in making up any ground lost in learning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A newly created £3 million Youth Work Education Recovery Fund will be targeted at those communities and young people who need the most support, bringing Government spending in the youth work sector this year to at least £12.5 million.

The Recovery Fund will be administered by YouthLink Scotland, the national youth work agency. The fund is open for applications from Community Learning and Development services that help young people engage and re-engage with learning. Submissions should support partnership work between November 2020 and the end of August 2021.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s vibrant youth work sector plays a crucial role in supporting children and young people’s well-being, and in closing the attainment gap.

“Throughout lockdown we have seen the sector rise to the challenge of providing services remotely, supporting some of  the most vulnerable young people across Scotland.

“This £3 million investment in youth work will help education recovery from COVID-19 by providing additional targeted services for young people, where they are needed the most.”

Tim Frew, CEO of YouthLink Scotland, said: “This fund presents an opportunity for the sector to continue to innovate and develop new models of practice in collaboration across the public and voluntary sectors, alongside our partners in schools and colleges.

“Young people across Scotland have shown extraordinary resilience. They have had to put up with so much, missing out on many things that we often take for granted, and as they face the uncertainty of what comes next we will be there to support their educational recovery.  In supporting them to achieve, the youth work sector can demonstrate its unique role in closing the poverty-related attainment and achievement gap.”