Brighton Youth Centre is one of 43 youth services in England benefiting from the first two rounds of the Youth Investment Fund.
03 April 2023
Ruth Hannant, Permanent Secretary for DCMS, visits Brighton Youth Centre
Last week we joined with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in announcing over £90 million of new funding to 43 youth services, enabling thousands of young people in England to access high-quality out of school activities to support their well-being, health, and develop the skills they need for life and work. These are the first grants from the 2nd Phase of the Government’s Youth Investment Fund of over £300 million to renew the country’s youth sector. The initial 43 projects awarded funding will reach an additional 16,500 young people aged 11 to 18 (up to 25 for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
To mark the occasion Ruth Hannant, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and our CEO Nick Temple, travelled to Brighton to visit Brighton Youth Centre (BYC) and hear why their £4.3 million Youth Investment Fund grant is so vital. During the visit Ruth Hannant met BYC’s CEO Mike Roe, the youth work team and some of the young people supported by BYC. The visit included a tour of the centre, and a chance to see some of the amazing activities on offer to young people, including dance, art, music and their indoor skate park. There was also an opportunity to see BYC’s exciting plans for the future, all shaped by young people. It is clear to see that young people love BYC, but this much-loved space is dilapidated and falling apart, there are limits to what they can do, and it’s just not accessible to enable everyone to enjoy it. A grant from the Youth Investment Fund will transform BYC.
Amongst other young people, Ruth Hannant met Lylli. Lylii explains why BYC is such a remarkable space.
BYC started my growth into becoming a musician and figuring out what career path I wanted to go down, also being there helped me create the friends I have now. I was just starting to delve into music and I just started to play ukulele and stuff like that, but I got the opportunity from BYC to start gigging and here I am now, 20 years old at a music university getting my degree, and if it wasn't for that one night when I was 12 getting onstage with a uke, I probably wouldn't be here right now. I think it's important for BYC to be refurbished because I want everyone else to have that same experience as I did, I want everyone to have that chance, to have that, because I think it's really important especially for younger minds to develop in a space they feel safe and can be exactly who they want to be without any pressure from anyone.
Brighton Youth Centre now has an exciting journey ahead. The centre has been awarded a Youth Investment Fund grant of £4.3 million, which alongside investment from Brighton and Hove City Council, will mean they can transform their space into a fully accessible, environmentally sustainable, and state-of-the-art facility, open seven days a week. It will give young people more opportunities to improve wellbeing, develop interpersonal skills, grow in confidence, explore their identity, and find a voice. Once work is complete, BYC will be able to double the number of young people they support, boosting their reach to 3000 young people per week.
Welcoming the Youth Investment Fund grant, Mike Roe, CEO Brighton Youth Centre said:
“I have been involved in youth work for over 40 years and this is the biggest opportunity to develop and sustain our work. The investment will enable BYC to become accessible and sustainable, building on 100 years of youth work in the city, the condition of the existing building had put the project at risk we can now look forward to our next 100 years.”
“The building development is important for the whole city including the thousands of young people he will use the project and the workers and volunteers his roles will be supported along with the many other partner projects that we work with.”
“The new building will allow us to build on our existing strengths such as arts, music, events and skateboarding and enabling a range of new services and partnerships. Using our experience and the involvement of young people in the design will ensure that the new building better meets the needs have a diverse range of young people whilst helping to generate income to support the service and reducing negative impact on the environment.”