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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.6 Supporting youth organisations

Last update: 27 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 14/10/2020

On this page
  1. Legal/policy framework for the functioning and development of youth organisations
  2. Public financial support
  3. Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants


Legal/policy framework for the functioning and development of youth organisations

There is no top-level policy framework specifically focusing on the functioning and development of youth organisations.

The framework for the operation of voluntary youth organisations and their relationship with the Welsh government is governed by the overall framework of the Third Sector [Voluntary Sector] Scheme. This is a statutory requirement of the Government of Wales Act 2006 which puts a duty on the Welsh Government to set out how it will promote the interest of Third Sector organisations. The Third Sector scheme offers the opportunity for organisations to put their views to the Welsh Government. It sets out how the Government and the Third Sector will work together and communicate with one another.

The principles of the scheme include:

  • The Welsh Government is committed to recognising and promoting the Third Sector.
  • The relationship between the Welsh Government and the Third Sector rests upon integrity, trust and mutual respect.
  • The Welsh Government recognises the need to work in partnership with the Third Sector as well as with other public services and bodies, based on an appreciation of each party’s distinctive contribution.
  • The Welsh Government expects the Third Sector to recognise the primacy of Welsh Ministers in formulating policy and legislation.
  • The Welsh Government recognises that Third Sector organisations are independent bodies which determine their own priorities and manage their own affairs, and that the Third Sector has an obligation to represent the interests of its constituents.

On the basis of this mutual understanding of each other’s roles, it is recognised that the Third Sector is a key partner in formulating and delivering many aspects of public policy, and as such it should develop strong partnerships with both national and local government.

The Youth Work Strategy supports effective collaboration between Third Sector and statutory youth work organisations. Local authorities are expected to work collaboratively with Third Sector organisations to help ensure that youth work provision meets local needs and that best use is being made of available resources. For example, with regards to delivering evidence and the role of Strategy Participation Groups, it states:

the Strategy Participation Groups will begin using the results to inform and refine their workplans. This rich data set will allow us to take account of the diverse nature of youth work in Wales, across both the voluntary and local authority sectors, ensuring the tailoring of support and strategic approaches according to identified need


The Strategy outlines its approach to young people’s participation: 

The strategy drew on the theory of Systems Leadership as a mechanism through which young people and the sector could be empowered to play an active role in the design, delivery, and monitoring of activity under each of the strategic aims – in essence, a way of ensuring participation. We remain committed to the principle of participation and therefore do not seek to pre-empt the outcomes of this work, which must be taken forward by young people, youth workers, and youth work stakeholders, if we are to move towards sustainable, sector-led models of delivery. Instead, this document identifies how this collaborative, participatory way of working will be established and governed. (p.5)


There is a great variety of youth organisations of different sizes and with different governance arrangements; many operate as charities under the Charities Act 2011 (see ‘Financial accountability’). 

Furthermore, the Welsh Programme for Government, Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021 , states the Government’s continued support for the volunteering and Third Sector. The Government will work across sectors to identify and create more volunteering opportunities for people, renew its relationship with the Third Sector to promote and expand volunteering, and work collaboratively with lottery distributors to create a fund, designed specifically to grow successful voluntary organisations.

Public financial support

The Welsh Government offers a variety of grant schemes and funding opportunities to organisations across Wales. Most central government grant schemes are designed to fit the government’s policy objectives and programme outcomes and commitments. The Wales Council for Voluntary Action describe this as ‘strategic funding.’ Government funding programmes are subject to change over time, as priorities, criterias and departments change. 

The Welsh Government is providing over £10 million to local authorities in 2020-21 through its Youth Support Grant. This includes £3.7 million to prevent youth homelessness and £2.5 million to support mental health and well-being, as well as core funding for youth work and youth engagement and progression through local authority services and in collaboration with their partners. The grant terms and conditions have been revised to include additional flexibilities aimed at recognising and supporting youth work service responses to COVID-19. These changes are intended to preserve the youth work service infrastructure while allowing greater agility for local government and its partners, including through the redeployment of staff and strengthening of digital outreach approaches.

The Welsh Government is also making available funding through the National Voluntary Youth Organisations Grant, which started on 1 April 2020 and will run for two years. 

The Welsh Government is also co-ordinating the publication of a fortnightly bulletin on behalf of the Interim Youth Work Board. This entails engaging with sector representatives and pulling together their key questions, and finding responses to guide and support the sector during this time. To receive the Youth Work Bulletin sign up here.

The Welsh government draft budget 2019-20 also allocated additional £10m to tackle youth homelesness. 


Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants

In 2015, the Welsh Government published its Volunteering Policy: Supporting Communities, Changing Lives. It stated that the Government will support third sector organisations and national grant schemes to improve access to volunteering for everyone, but especially for young people, and under-represented groups.