More than two-thirds of voluntary and community organisations working in the youth sector have seen their funding cut in the past year, according to a report by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
Nearly 70 per cent of the 135 organisations surveyed in September for the Comprehensive Cuts report said they had experienced funding reductions over the past year.
More than 80 per cent of those surveyed said that, because of cuts or anticipated reductions, they would be ending whole programmes.
The NCVYS found that of the organisations that have suffered cuts, the majority were facing a loss of more than 20 per cent of their funding. The report says that the majority of these cuts have come from local authorities.
A number of case studies are also cited in the report, illustrating the impact of the cuts.
One example is Northamptonshire YMCA, which has lost £1m because of a £30m cut in the local Supporting People grant. All of its housing support and five out of six youth and community projects are due to come to an end as a result.
Susanne Rauprich, chief executive of NCVYS, said: "A wide range of respondents to the survey painted a picture of a sector that is clearly preparing for the worst.
"Cutting youth services now is risking the loss of vital support to the most vulnerable at a time when it matters greatly. Big visions like the big society need small investments."