Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for April, 2008

We have a vision….

….of creating a virtual space for all our Youth Forums to convene, discuss and interact!

I probably need to explain this a bit more. With the introduction of the Youth Opportunity & Capital Funds we had various discussions with young people and amongst ourselves as to how to distribute the money and really make sure that it was for and by young people. The message was very simply keep it local. We / they created a County Wide Youth Opportunity Forum (YOF) to support groups with a county wide remit (and to act as a bit of a steering group) and 24 Locality Youth Forums (LYFs!) which reflected the 24 localities across the County.

It wasn’t an easy task however it has been fantastic getting the money out to the different areas and has really enabled young people to decide where and how to spend the money they have been allocated and see the end results of their decision making.

Now our challenge is (more…)

Integrated Youth Support and Development Services

Phew! What a mouthful!!

We’ve been interviewing for new staff the past couple of days and it’s made me think much more closely about the changes that are headed our way and also the ones that we are in the midst of as we undergo ‘transformation’!

To start with there is Connexions. As a Youth Service we have had responsiblity for the Intensive Personal Advisors from Connexions for a long time and have not really experienced some of the conflicts and difficulties other authorities have. They are part of the service and although having different responsibilities and roles to the youth work staff they have always attended our county staff meetings and been involved in the work that we deliver. However the two sets of staff have always worked more or less in parallell and we have not really planned together etc before. Nor have Team leaders for Connexions IST been responsible to the Senior Manager of a particular area. 

This is all about to change! (more…)

Possible Youth Work Tool

Possible Youth Work Tool, originally uploaded by West Sussex Youth Service.

Following on from Tims note about cartoons I’ve had a go on one of the ones that someone suggested in his comments. I can see a lot of possibilities with this and have just added it to our weekly news email that goes out to the service….just experimenting!!!

Following on from DKs comments here’s another from another site. This one is an easier site as you don’t have to do everytihing line by line so it’s a lot quicker.

Online Youth Work Community

WOW! 🙂 I’ve been away for a week (hence the quiet) and it’s all been happening! Firstly welcome to Dave Petrie an Advanced Practitioner from Essex who has started his own blog. It’s great to have someone else to share this journey with:)  Having decided before going on leave to be more transparent DK wrote a bit about this blog on the Mediasnackers report and the word is now out! Thanks DK and sorry to have disrupted your campaign!:(

I’m really hopeful of developing a network and online youth work community and have started to discover sites and forums that I didn’t know existed before through following others links. For example through tracking some of the referrers to here I discovered this youth worker forum where some good discussions are being had.

Anyways, the thought of an online community got me to thinking about the on the ground community of youth workers and how we share (or don’t!) our experiences face to face. (more…)

Online Learning

The experiment I’ve started with this blog seems to be going well at the moment and all the time I’m massively increasing my technological awareness .

Firstly – The small discussions that this work is generating is exciting and definately helps me to increase my understanding and awareness of the sector and other people’s views about it. I’m looking forward to the community increasing. Have you seen what  Tim Davies  is initiating with the BarCamp Youth On line  event? It looks really interesting and I hope we will be able to share and develop lots of ideas.     


Secondly –  I’ve been experimenting with using Google Docs for collaborating with colleagues. As a region we’ve been involved with youth worker exchanges with China and we’re hoping that this year we’ll actually be able to involve young people in the exchange. However trying to organise ourselves across at least 7 local authorities is quite a challenge as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve written some papers etc to try and get everyones’ input and flesh out our ideas.  So far I’ve had one ‘out’ as their authorities filters won’t let them access this info and another is ‘in’ and has contributed to the document (far more easily than I’d thought would be possible.)

My only frustration has been my own lack of technical skills which mean that I can’t do everything I envisage but I’ll get there!!!! – Just discovered that the link I’ve got to the document above doesn’t produce a pretty picture like others do – oh well, at least the link is there!!


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…)


I’ve had an interesting discussion today with regards to transparency which has led me to wonder how transparent I should be on this blog. At the moment I haven’t been very specific as to where I work although I don’t think it would take too long to find out! It’s not that I don’t want to be transparent it’s just that part of the issue is that we don’t have any specific gudelines yet within the authority as to what is / isn’t allowed. As someone who will probably end up writing the guidelines for the Youth Service I thought that it was best to try it out – or at least get started – in order to work out what we might need in the guidelines / policy.

After the conversation I got around to wondering how much transparency is needed? Does it help to know which area someone is from? Does it increase the flow of conversation or lend more credibility to what is being written about or does that come from the nature of the conversation and online interaction? Will online transparency affect my relationship with colleagues? There’s a lot to reflect on here. The post here – from Tony Hung has also given me some more food for thought too. The next step is talking to colleagues to get their view on the way forward too.



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