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Funding for youth work is being increased by more than 30 per cent, the Scottish Government has announced.
It said the increase recognises the ‘vital role’ the sector would now play in making up lost ground in learning because of the pandemic.
A newly-created £3 million Youth Work Education Recovery Fund will target those communities and young people which need it most, it said.
It brings government spending in youth work during 2020 to at least £12.5 million, it said.
The fund will be administered by YouthLink Scotland, the national youth work agency.
It is open to applications from community learning and development services which help young people engage or re-engage with learning.
Submissions should support work taking place between November 2020 and the end of August 2021, it said.
Richard Lochhead MSP, further and higher education minister, 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 young people across Scotland had shown ‘extraordinary resilience’.
He said: ‘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.’