Government to support youth groups

Scouts, guides, police cadets and other youth clubs are to be set up in deprived areas as part of a £10 million scheme to improve life chances and cut crime, it has been revealed.

The groups are usually found in leafy suburbs and shire counties, but ministers want to bring them into inner cities.

A joint initiative between the Government and Youth United - an umbrella organisation for uniformed bodies - is to see some 2,700 volunteers trained to lead 400 groups in locations across England such as Hackney, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Middlesbrough.

The intention is to provide 10,000 more places for youths, including offenders, disruptive schoolchildren, children in care, and the unemployed.

According to The Times, Communities Minister Andrew Stunell is due to announce details of the initiative in Tottenham, north London, where riots started last summer. The area will apparently host the first clubs - such as police, fire and ambulance cadets.

Mr Stunell told the newspaper: "If you go into middle class areas you find middle class scout groups and other uniformed youth clubs, but if you go to Tottenham they are much thinner on the ground.

"Uniformed organisations give youngsters life skills, and, for some, the vital extra ingredient for them to make a success of their lives. They teach them to contribute to society rather than taking from it."

Groups said to be involved include the Boys' Brigade, St John Ambulance, Scouts, Girlguiding UK, Army Cadets and Air Training Corps.

Space in fire stations, police stations and public buildings could be used to run the clubs.

The Government is expected to earmark £10 million to fund the plan until 2015, with the youth clubs pledging to find £5 million to make it sustainable longer term.