€20m to support work with young people

Summary

Flanders’ minister for youth and Brussels has pledged four years of funding to dozens of projects working with the region’s young people

Financial security

The Flemish government has pledged more than €20 million to support 63 youth centres and youth work over the next four years.

Minister for Brussels, youth and the media Benjamin Dalle announced the funding at an event at new youth centre DAR, at De Brouckèreplein in central Brussels. “For the first time, we are making the money available for a full four years,” he said. “We want to offer them financial security and release them from the administrative burden. They no longer need to spend time applying for subsidies and can instead do what they do best: supporting young people.”

Over the next four years, a total subsidy of €14,789,800 has been set aside for youth centres, and €5,232,600 for youth work with children and young people with disabilities. Across Flanders and Brussels, 49 centres will receive between €23,000 and €95,000 each per year. Fourteen projects in Flanders that work with young people with disabilities will receive between €38,000 and €118,750 each.

The non-profit Jeugdhuizenondersteuning Brussel (JHOB), the umbrella organisation for 10 Brussels youth centres, receives €95,000. “De Branding in Jette built a music studio last year through crowdfunding. With the financial support we’re getting now, we want to expand this studio and ensure that young people have an accessible way to play music,” JHOB spokesperson Jonas Merckx told Het Nieuwsblad. The money will also allow the organisation to recruit two extra part-time members of staff.

Essential social role

The ministry considered for subsidies projects that focus on encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and artistic expression and promoting social cohesion between the youth centre and the environment. “Youth centres are not islands,” said Dalle. “They play an essential role in society and within a community. That’s why we want to strengthen them with this powerful financial boost. They know better than anyone what is going on within the youth community and can best support young people.”

“Youth centres are open spaces where young people are in charge,” said Sean Hendrickx of Antwerp umbrella organisation Formaat. “At the same time, they play an important role in their neighbourhood.”

Applicants previously had to apply every year for subsidies, but the latest round of funding is guaranteed for four years, allowing the beneficiaries to make longer-term plans.

Photo: (L-R) Minister Benjamin Dalle, Sean Hendrickx of Formaat and Jonas Merckx of JHOB
© Belga/Thierry Roge