Conservative run Westminster City Council has guaranteed half a million pounds of funding for youth services every year.

At a time when the threat of young people falling into gangs is all too real, this investment in children’s futures will see youth organisations be able to tap into hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding.

Clubs that provide training courses or sports activities will be able to bid for a portion of the cash. As part of the bidding process those applying will have to show how their activity benefits local young people across their area. The funding will allow bidders to expand their current activities and support more young people.

In a speech to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Avenues – a voluntary organisation which runs activities outside of school hours in the north of the City – Conservative Leader of Westminster City Council, Nickie Aiken, announced

“When we had to make the tough decision to withdraw funding for youth services three years ago, we lost the trust of many people, but more importantly we alienated young people in our city. That’s not the type of council I want to lead and so from this September we will make £500,000 available each year to invest in the best youth services across Westminster.

“We will work with youth organisations over the summer to design the best ways to invest this money, and think creatively about how together we can reach and change as many lives as possible.”

Cllr Aiken told the audience that the era of major funding by local authorities for local projects had passed, however said that the growing climate of gang violence and county lines drugs activity meant Westminster City Council had to take action and reintroduce limited direct funding.

Cllr Aiken added: “I firmly believe that well run services targeted at helping our young people to develop into productive members of society have a massive role to play.

“Politicians have to back their words with actions to win back trust. That means that sometimes admitting you were wrong and changing your position if circumstances dictate. Our Band H taxpayer residents who are paying the voluntary community contribution have made it clear that youth services are a priority for them, and we have set aside £130,000 for additional projects.”