Theresa May announces new £80 million funding for youth projects

Theresa May has announced £80 million of funding for youth projects in England.

The announcement, which is the latest in her drive to create a "great meritocracy" in the country will involve money from the government and National Lottery funds.

The £80 million will be split between the Youth Investment Fund and the Step Up To Serve #iwill social action campaign.

Local youth groups will be able to bid for a share of the cash, which could be used to fund sports clubs, drama courses, volunteering or training opportunitites for young people.

Mrs May said: "I want Britain to be the great meritocracy of the world and a fundamental part of this is ensuring all young people get the best possible start in life.

"This new funding demonstrates our commitment, and will be a huge boost for youth groups across the country - giving young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the opportunity to gain the experiences and skills they need to succeed in life.

"This is all part of our determination to build a country that works for everyone and ensure that young people can go as far as their talents allow, regardless of their backgrounds."

The announcement comes just days after the Prime Minister revealed plans for a return of grammar schools, despite fierce opposition from experts and former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

National Citizens Service was championed by David Cameron. Credit: PA

The £40 million Youth Investment Fund will be open for projects in disadvantaged communities, with funding available until 2020.

The Step Up To Serve's #iwill campaign will be boosted by an additional £20 million from both the government and Big Lottery Fund.

The National Citizen Service - which was championed by former Prime Minister David Cameron - will also be given permanent legal footing through new legislation.

The National Service Bill will be introduced next week, and is expected to place new duties on local authorities and schools to promote the scheme to young people.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: "Any new money for youth services is of course to be welcomed, but the Prime Minister needs to be straight with the country and tell them why she was part of the Government that closed 800 Sure Start Centres, trebled university tuition fees, failed on high-quality apprenticeships and implemented savage cuts to local authorities budgets that have devastated youth services."