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Archive for the ‘youth provision’ Category

Changes at West Sussex Youth Service

Well, it’s good to be back after not having sufficient time and energy to blog for quite some time. A lot has happened in the last 6 months, I was successful in reapplying for my post at the end of last year, (phew!) and then finished off my Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership, submitting at the beginning of the month and just hearing I’ve passed (phew again!). I’m now hoping that the time I spent on those areas can now be redirected into writing this blog again.

So to update….after last years work on reducing the size of the youth service we have now been re branded the West Sussex Youth and Development Service (YSDS). From January through to March we were busy interviewing and reorganising staff teams to deliver the new service.The Service is now based on 3 geographic areas, Northern, Western and Coastal.

Our Service Model has four areas:

1 We have now moved from delivering universal generic youth services across the county (the one night a week youth club type scenario) to mainly delivering these in the areas of most need. We haven’t completely stopped work in this area though as we are working to support the voluntary sector to take up the delivery of universal services with local communities setting themselves up to deliver youth clubs in their area aka The Big Society!

2 We will focus on Early Intervention and Prevention. This is the delivery of open access, universal type services aimed at young people who live in areas of deprivation and groups of young people who experience societal disadvantage (young people with disabilities, who identify as LGBT, who may have a disability, who are looked after, NEET, young carers etc) Our Information Shops fall into this category although they also cross over into our Targeted Work.

3 The bulk of our service will be Targeted Youth Services (TYS). These will tend to be groupwork programmes targeted at the young people most in need of our services. They will be requested by either the young people themselves, parents, carers, teachers, schools – anyone as long as they fill in a form. Programmes will focus on addressing issues such as Self Esteem, Anger management, Risk Taking, Consequential Thinking etc, be outcome and impact led and be delivered through a variety of methods (arts, outdoor education etc). This will also include the individual work delivered through our Intensive Personal Advisors who will continue to deliver one to one work with young people who have multiple issues.

4 Specialist Services – This is where most of our youth offending work is delivered and is where we  have statutory duties. (Court Ordered work, careers support for LDD young people)

A Brave New World?

Courtesy of Icelight

I initially wrote this in early September since when work has increased considerably however I thought it was still a useful reflection in these rapidly moving times.

“I’ve just returned from my holidays and started back at work and it’s all happening with a vengence! After numerous consultations (staff, user groups, other agencies and partners) and the proposals for the restructuring of the youth service facing the Council Select Committee twice we have now started statutory staff consultations. A great time of upheaval for all the staff who have worked tirelessly over the summer on a variety of youth programmes and continue to deliver excellent youth services.

Alongside the consultation we are developing sub projects around the new shape of the service. On the brink of the changes it is interesting to think about how much the service will actually change. In discussions with colleagues we felt that the new challenge, as well as supporting and working with everyone concerning the staff reductions, alterations in the delivery of services etc. will be in trying to think differently.

Having been presented with a new organisational structure I found myself automatically thinking “oh, that means that we will have x ” based on our current roles and responsibilities. I had to challenge myself to  look at other ways in which we could deliver our services and how new roles might work. I have recently had similar experiences with staff .”

…. New thinking is an ongoing challenge which we continue to work on at the moment at all levels. So the question is…..how much of a “new world” will there be?!?

Connected Generation 2010: Social Media and Work with young people

As promised here goes the start of a new series of posts! I’m currently on the train heading down to Bristol for this event which I’m hoping will reinvigorate our endeavours in the world of social media and young people. I have been technically literate !!! (on a WSCC laptop but not the usual one!) and managed to get a dongle to connect and set me up with access to the internet as I journey down. (A new experience but oh how it opens up the world!)

This is a timely conference as we, as other youth services, are in the midst of service cuts and transformation. At the moment there are a series of consultations happening (both online and through stakeholder events) to try to gain more information and interest in the shape of future services. Som of these have raised how much / if services can be delivered online. I am therefore looking forward to ths event and on meeting with colleagues to discuss how they are working and what they have been able to acheive online.

I will keep you posted!

Accreditation Review

Courtesy of Phillie Casablanca

Courtesy of Phillie Casablanca

I had a meeting with our new DofE, Accreditation and Outdoor Education Manager today as part of their induction as the stragtegic direction for accreditation and Recorded Outcomes fall under my remit. It was a really good meeting (or at least I hope so!). When I was preparing for the meeting I went back over the West Sussex Youth Service guide to Accreditation that I put together just under 2 years ago. (Wow! Doesn’t time fly!)  I know that there is a lot of debate around accredited outcomes and I have joined in a few. Jon Jolly is currently doing some research for his dissertation on Outcome Based Youth work, if you have the time to help out he has a very quick questionaire to fill in and would really appreciate it.

Overall however I’m positive about accredited and recorded outcomes, especially when they are built into youth work programmmes from the outset and are a product of the process. I think the difficulty is in picking the appropriate scheme for the work you’re doing and looking at different ways in which you can evidence work rather than through written portfolios. This is something I have asked our incoming manager to review and see where else we need to develop our guidance and support to youth workers.

This is also where I think that digital media can come into it’s own….I’m just figuring out the what and hows so that we can then roll out some supporting training for our staff. In particular I think there are 2 online platforms that could support Recorded Outcomes, these are Dipity with an example here of the Worthing Youth Mayors year and a newer one that I haven’t yet had a chance to explore more Capzles. So what do you think? Are there any particular online platforms you would recommend for this type of work?


The Online Conversation in the back of the bus!

Recently I’ve been having a look at some Social Networking Sites that colleagues have set up and came across an interesting conundrum (or at least I thought it was!). A youth provision had set up a Bebo site that has attracted a reasonable number of young people. I looked around the site and then thought I’d see what sort of access the young peoples’ profiles had (as education in this area is something I think we need to work on with youth workers). On clicking on a young persons profile I went through to their page and a whole set of photographs. I felt that one of the photos was inappropriate – it was of a sign saying ‘gay’ with an arrow pointing at another young person who had their back turned away. There were a few, not particularly nice, jokes in the comments section following this.

Courtesy of didbygraham

Courtesy of didbygraham

So the question I was left with was what, if anything, do I about this? Mike Amos Simpson has previously raised questions about how far we encroach into young people’s spaces and this crossed my mind. After all it wasn’t directly on the site managed by us.

However this didn’t sit comfortably with me. I was then talking with a colleague about social media in general and this topic came up. In discussion we concluded that this was roughly equivalent to when you’re driving a minibus full of young people (more…)

Academies Update

I’ve posted before about the development of Academies and thought I would give an update on how things are progressing. The youth council from the area concerned wrote to Cabinet Members, District and Parish Councillors, youth officers and also their local MP, Tim Loughton to organise a meeting to express their concerns about the lack of planning and potential loss of ‘their’ youth wing. This took place this week and was a real compliment to both them and the staff working with them. They had a number of questions and queries for the invitees which they presented really positively.

Photo courtesy of Colb

Photo courtesy of Colbwt

As mentioned previously, the Academies programme does not allow for capital build of non-educational buildings. This means that there isn’t any funding available for a new youth wing (the old one will be knocked down to make space for the rebuild.) It is the first foray into Academies for both Woodards, the Charitable Trust we are working in partnership with and who will be taking on the running of the Academy, and ourselves. At the moment Cabinet Members have been in touch with Ed Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to raise the issue with a specific concern about the lack of joined up policy. I think the young people are now looking to write to him directly as well and Tim will also be scheduling some questions.

 

Locally we’re also looking at how we might define ‘Education’ in its broadest sense so that we can include informal education as a potential solution. We also discussed other possible sites with the group although everyone agreed that the school location is the best place in this situation. (more…)

Buildings for Youth Work

The other evening I was out at a local youth centre to do a quality inspection. It was an interesting visit as I hadn’t seen the centre since it had been built however I had been involved in at the very early stages when the plans had been drawn up for the building. As is usual nowadays there was limited funding and various amounts of competition for space from other community users. This meant that there was a considerable amount of compromise and I was frequently advising against building it over two floors and looking for where we could add in more storage space, outside play area etc.

It was therefore interesting to see the bricks and mortar in situ and the design translated into reality. The really positive news was that the young people had developed a lot of ownership of the youth centre and looked really comfortable and ‘at home’ in the upstairs part of the centre. It was definately thriving and fulfilling a need. The disappointing part was the difficulty in opening the downstairs level due to staffing numbers and problems in supervising it. This was quite frustrating as there is a lot of music equipment stored down there and ambitions to develop this side of the club. We’re working on solutions and as the evenings get lighter I can see the group slowly gravitating to the downstairs area however my frustration is more in knowing that this would be the case early on in the planning and not having succeeded on being influential enough in getting more floor space. I was even more frustrated to see the “NO BALL GAMES” signs :( fixed to the outside of the building in prime open space with no area being designated for this.

This frustration is (more…)

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