Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for June, 2008

And another Conference!

This time a West Sussex County Council one. The main aim of it was to look at Assessment Frameworks and see how we undertake our needs analysis when looking at families, children and young people. Overall it was a good day however as we all align more closely with (or indeed become) integrated services it is interesting to see and listen to the language used and the different professional basis that individuals are working from. For instance today there was a lot of talk and discussion about multi agency working and working together however the language used was still very much from a Social Services background which doesn’t always resonate with people from other settings.

South East Youth Partnership Youth Taskforce Seminar

The South East Youth Partnership (SEYP) is the similar to the Regional Youth Work Units found across the country. Rather than hold a lot of conferences the SEYP has gone for more of a seminar model where we have input from various key agencies and then have time to network and work more informally with colleagues throughout the region in various workshops.

Youth TaskforceThis particular seminar was looking at the Youth Taskforce and also it’s relevance to Targeted Youth Support. There was an interesting talk from Ian Brady from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) about how the Youth Taskforce came about out of the Respect Taskforce.

I struggle at times with some of the way the Youth Taskforce and its work is described as the language used is very enforcement, almost punitive led and appears to take little account of the relationships with young people and the way in which youth workers work with them.

However, what was clear was a commitment to see how we can work together to resolve the various issues that face vulnerable young people. Ian Brady was definately listening and open to discussion. Whilst we had challenges for him he also gave some back to us. For some of us we outlined the difficulties of trying to work in facilities that had been contracted out (ie leisure centres) where they did not always want to work with challenging young people, or provide their facilities at the time that we needed them to do so. One of his challenges to us was about knowing when and where our facilities were open and did these include Friday and Saturday evenings? TYS

There were also interesting inputs from the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) and the youth policy team there. This led on to some more open and frank discussions about Targeted Youth Support and how far different organisations had got to in developing this work.

Having felt that we were progressing quite slowly in this area it was useful to see that other organisations were mostly at the same stage as we are. Everyone seems to be trying to resolve issues to do with identifying which are the young people we should be targeting, whether to always use the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) , what are the best interventions for what outcomes, how we support young peoples transistion from specialist services back into universal services and how we actually do all this.

Overall the day was really helpful in networking and sharing practice with colleagues, clarifying what the issues are and how we might move forward on them (as well as an overview of government policy). I am still thinking it all over so I will post more once I have them straighter in my mind! In the meantime – the next seminar is in December, on health and I would recommend them to anyone as good thinking time and an opportunity to meet and discuss with colleagues.


Using Images, video and other media online

Well, I’ve finally set up a SNS as a place for colleagues involved in developing the Social Media Strategy to discuss and share ideas. We’ve used Ning to do this and will see how it goes. It’s already been pretty active today and I think everyone who’s been invited have managed to find their way there. The discussions so far have been about what sort of areas we need to consider for the strategy.

Number one that tends to rear it’s head (as always) is safeguarding for both youth workers and young people. Mixed with this, although raising it’s own queries is the use of images and video, in particular YouTube. I have a whole heap of mixed questions / concerns / feelings / uncertainty / fear about this area and am trying to sort my way through them.

Taken by James Huenink

(Orange Question Mark Button courtesy of James Huenink)

On the whole I don’t view using images & video on the internet as scarey and then someone comes along with a strong opposite view which then leads me to question mine and think that maybe I should be more concerned. I have a number of questions which others may or may not know the answers to…..I will also post across on UK Youth Online to see if there’s any comments or pointers over there.

Firstly – postings on YouTube. Other organisations are obviously doing this, including some youth services. What sort of consent do you need to post video images of young people on here or similar sites? I’m asking because I know that individuals or groups post their own clips or clips showing other people. Is this ok if they are doing the posting? Do people advise young people what could happen to the video bites that they are posting?

It has been suggested by a colleague that if we decide to use YouTube (or something similar) as a service we might need to consider ‘locking’ the posts so that no one else can use them. If you do that then it inhibits some of the sharing that we might want to be doing with it. Potentially one of the issues (more…)

Social Media for advertising

It’s been interesting for me to discover and see how different organisations are trying to encourage and make use of different media to attract young people. I have been struck by two organisations using YouTube recently,

Firstly V who are currently promoting the V Cashpoint scheme which is looking to fund small youth-led projects which are aimed at filling a gap within a given community. (Needs to be young people aged 16-25yrs). They are using YouTube –

& have a Channel on site.

It was interesting and reassuring that charities like this are using public sites where we know that young people hang out to try and publicise their services.

I’ve also been struck by how Thad White over in Alaska is promoting the activities for Third Place Youth.

 The way in which he’s done this and added it to the blog strikes me as a way in which we could look at how we fulfil our part in promoting postive activities – perhaps having a real live announcements section on our county youth website? Has anyone else ot any other exampkes of promoting youth activities like this? – I know there are a number for media competitions but how about just promoting what is happening in the youth centre?

Using online resources

We’ve just had a great Senior Management awayday where we’ve been looking at how we move towards an Integrated Youth Support and Development Service. We’ve had the opportunity to reflect on our current structures (especially teams, meetings and work groups) to see how they support our vision and delivery. This is the start of a long journey as we are only just beginning to flesh out what the future of the service, it’s management structures and processes might be and we will be discussing these at all levels of the organisation.

What I thought was really interesting was how far we’ve come in our thinking about using online resources, social media etc to enhance and support our own structures as well as how we use them with young people. Since our conference with DK from Mediasnackers we’ve started to think differently and to reflect on how we can use these different tools. (This is still with little knowledge but at least the heart is willing!)bcukyouth7

For instance today we were talking much more about having online discussion opportunities rather than always having to meet face to face. I’m really interested in this at the moment as I’ve been participating on the UK Youth Online site that Tim Davies has set it up as a space to share ideas and info for people interested in online work and using online technology with young people. (Badge courtesy of Mike Amos Simpson)

Tim has already started some useful discussions about different aspects of youth work on line and it’s interesting to discuss issues that many of us are grappling with or starting to (for instance drawing up policies on online / Social networking sites use etc.)

I’m amazed that (more…)

Games for Social Issues

Recently I’ve somehow come across and signed up to a social issues games list serve through Games for Change . I like the idea of various games that tackle social issues and wonder how we might use these on our youth work? For instance there is this game Budget Hero which  helps players to learn about the US Federal Budget by balancing values and money. Something like this would be great to support the work that we do with the Youth Opportunity Fund and our Locality Youth Forums comprised of young people who are responsible for making grants to other young people. screenshot Has anyone come across anything like this in the UK? The only site I really know of is DemGames which aims to show some of the democratic decision making process. Any other ideas or thoughts?

(And another first – I’ve just learnt how to do my first screenshot….been dying to work that one out for ages!!!)

Social Media Training

Well, we’ve finally managed to get organised and have now booked in some social media training for July. I’m really excited by this as I’m hoping that this will be the kick start to a number of ideas, primarily getting our strategy together as to how, what and where we’re going to try and use social media professionally. I think it’ll be an interesting time as we are hoping to include a number of young people to train alongside us so that we can gain a better perspective and all be starting (ish) from the same (ish) point.

I’m intrigued by the dialogue that Mike Amos-Simpson over at the Late Breakfast Society Blog initiated with regards to how youth work might look on line (a very simplified abreviation of his post) and Tim Davies reply on  the Youth Work and Social Networking Research Project blog.   Soppa comments on an earlier post that a group in Finland have set up a Youth House (similar to a youth centre) on Habbo but as their site is all in Finnish I am awaiting some more information on that. We’ve also started to look at how we might have a ‘Virtual Connexions Centre’ and I hope that we will be able to look at all these areas through our Social Media strategy discussions.

I know I shouldn’t…..

….be obsessed by stats but I do find them intriguing. For example today is my most visited day…..and I wonder is this because I know that a colleague has been talking to others about this blog and what I’m trying out or is it because I know that DK over at MediaSnackers has been talking about some of their work (and their 2nd birthday….congratulations) and has posted some info about this or is it just a quirk of nature?!?!?! 🙂

It’s also really interesting to see what links get clicked on most and what posts get the most visits which in turn lead to lots of questions about who is interested in these links and why!

But hey….that’s not the immediacy of youth work and what I’m getting up to. More about that shortly!



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