Lack of access to facilities a major issue for youth work organisations

A survey of YouthLink Scotland's members has revealed that a lack of access to appropriate facilities has left many youth work organisations unable to return to face-to-face youth work.

The Access to Facilities survey, conducted in August 2020, asked organisations from across the youth work sector about the challenges and barriers they faced in carrying out digital, detached and outdoor youth work, as well as their level of readiness for a return to indoor youth work.

The survey revealed that 39% of youth work organisations still felt unable to offer face-to-face youth work, either outdoors or indoors, due to a mixture of safety concerns, lack of appropriate space, confusion over official guidance and risk assessment.

With regards to a return to indoor youth work, which could officially resume from 31st August:

  • 85% of respondents had no access to community and leisure centres.
  • Four out of five organisations were unable to gain access to outdoor centres.
  • Only one-third of organisations were able to access outdoor centres.

Other issues frequently raised in the survey included multiple local groups having to share limited public space, lack of toilet and handwashing facilities, financial impacts of cleaning and hygiene measures, and capacity to deliver youth work in smaller groups.

YouthLink Scotland CEO Tim Frew has raised concerns about the findings, warning that a lack of adequate facilities could leave large numbers of young people without access to vital support going forward.

A second survey will now be send out to all YouthLink Scotland members to allow us to get a clearer picture of how the situation is evolving as organisations adapt to the latest guidelines.

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