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McDonald’s Research: 20% of young people in the North West don’t feel properly supported in their communities with closures of youth centres and loss of youth workers locally compounding challenges

New research of 2,000 young people aged 16 to 24 across the UK, including those in the Northwest has highlighted the impact of growing challenges and uncertainty young people are facing when it comes to the future, with some stark issues raised when it comes to support, career opportunities and safe places to go.

Almost 1 in 2 (44%) nationally don’t feel there are enough projects in their area aimed at providing support and opportunities for them. Young people in the Northwest feel there is a lack of opportunity and barriers to success, with 49% changing their expectations for the future and 33% admit they’ve become less ambitious altogether.

Almost 3 in 4 (69%) of young people in the Northwest say they worry often about the future, yet only 11% of young people nationwide have a youth worker or counsellor to turn to for support.

Over the last 18 months, McDonald’s Preston Riversway has been part of a national pilot to build Makin’ it, a programme that provides young people with genuine opportunity in the areas they live in. Working with youth workers from The Foxton Centre, the restaurant has provided access to welcoming and safe spaces for young vulnerable people in restaurants and whilst fundraising and supporting them at their local events. McDonald’s have also helped young people from the centre into employment and providing breakfast to the homeless every month.

As one of Northwest’s biggest private sector youth employers, McDonald’s Preston Riversway was one of 70+ restaurants paired with local youth projects and youth workers, giving young people in Preston a safe place to seek support.

Makin’ it will now be expanded nationally, with all 1,450 McDonald’s restaurants connected to youth services and the funding of 500 new youth work qualifications, in order to help unlock the potential of young people in every community. McDonald’s will also be diverting an unspent part of its Apprenticeship Levy to support more youth workers to undertake their youth work apprenticeship in England.

McDonald’s has committed to providing resource and funding to enable all young people to get access to genuine opportunities where they live, including music partnerships and sports programmes to be launched this Summer in partnership with Youth Music and Kick it Out.

Nigel Dunnington, Franchisee of 18 restaurants across Lancashire, said: It’s no secret that young people today are facing some incredibly challenging times, particularly when it comes to accessing trusted adult support and opportunities. With 90% of my workforce being under 25, we’ve seen first-hand the difference that access to training, jobs and support can make. We want all young people in our Preston community to feel like they have opportunities to make the most of their life and broaden their horizons, so with the scale of the Makin’ It project, we have the ability to make a real difference.

We have already seen some fantastic results since we began working with The Foxton Centre a few years ago now. It just goes to show how valuable it is to be there for young people, and we hope we can continue working with the Foxton Centre to make a meaningful impact and difference to a generation.”

*Survey by OnePoll for McDonald’s from 5-15 April 2024 with 16-24 year olds Sample Number: 2000 (400 16-17, 1600 18-24)