Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for October, 2008

Blogging from China…

…is proving interesting! It appears that our WordPress site is blocked so our foray into blogging with young people has taken a slightly different turn with the group writing their blogs and then emailing them to me to post along with their photos. It seems to be working, so if you’re interested check it out here – West Sussex Youth Service – China Exchange 2008.

West Sussex Youth Service at the Great Wall of China

West Sussex Youth Service at the Great Wall of China

China Update 4 – They’re Off!!

bejingcityprop (51)Well, the day I thought would never arrive finally has…….as I speak there are 12 young people and 3 youth work staff from West Sussex on a coach starting their adventure to China!

Wow! I’m amazed that we’ve managed to get everything in place. On Tuesday we had our last staff meeting. We went over the final details, checking visas, emergency contacts (which is me now that I can’t go) sorting out the final IT needs (we’re hoping that a dongle is going to work out there, it’s difficult with limited info coming out of China but if not we’re hoping that there should be internet facilities available in some of the areas they are visiting.) We also went through a few scenarios of what ifs so that the staff could pre – prepare. With all ready I think yesterday was a frantic catch up for them of all that was outstanding (judging by the email in my inbox) and that’s it – they’re off.

Having been inspired to keep blogs and use IT software (thanks Mediasnackers) we have spent time with the group using animoto, and other video to encourage them to explore their own identity and share some of their lives and culture – here are 2 that I thought you might enjoy:-

The group are are aiming to keep a record of the exchange on line. If you would like to keep up to date with their adventures we are adventuring into blogging as a group and they will hopefully be sending updates to their blog  – West Sussex Youth Exchange – China 2008 do visit and have a look! 

Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty!


I’m hoping that I’m joining many other blogs today to talk about Poverty. In the guidance for joining Blog Action Day it suggests that bloggers keep their posts related to the subject they usually blog about. So I guess that means I’ll be looking at young people and poverty. 

I’ve been wondering what to write about and how to do this so intially I thought that I would start by goggling “youth poverty”. This threw up a number of interesting facts that I wasn’t aware of. In October 2007 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation did some research into youth poverty in Europe. A few of comments that struck me were:-

“Young Europeans in their late teens and early twenties are at a higher risk of poverty than all other groups except for children and older people. The risk of poverty declines significantly in the late twenties.”

“Having children is associated with a greater risk of poverty, especially in the year after birth. This ‘poverty penalty’ is highest in the UK, but in Scandinavian countries having children carries no extra risk of poverty due to their ‘child-friendly’ policies.”

“There are large variations between countries. Poverty rates among 20- to 24-year-olds range from eight per cent in Austria to 30 per cent in Finland (compared with eleven per cent for the whole population). The UK rate of 20 per cent is towards the upper end of the scale.”

I know that this info is a year old but I’m guessing that it hasn’t changed that much in that time span, and the UK doesn’t come out of it too good does it?!? Also in browsing I found out that The National Youth Agency is a supporter of the End Child Poverty Campaign and also carries information on ending Child Poverty on it’s website.

Click here to be taken to the End Child Poverty website.>

So what are the Key Facts

  • 3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK (after housing costs)
  • The proportion of children living in poverty grew from 1 in 10 in 1979 to 1 in 3 in 1998. Today, 30 per cent of children in Britain are living in poverty.
  • Since 1999, when the current Government pledged to end child poverty, 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty.
  • The UK has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world
  • The majority (54 per cent) of poor children live in a household where at least one adult works.
  • 43 per cent of poor children live in a household headed by a lone parent. The majority of poor children (57 per cent) live in a household headed by a couple.
  • 42% of children in poverty are from families with 3 or more children

For me in practice what I often see is not only the physical poverty that children and young people are living in but stemming from it is (unsurprisingly) a lack of aspiration, a feeling of hopelessness and detachment that pervades their whole lives. So what can we do about it?!?!  There’s campaigning as already stated. For me, in my area of work what I’m trying to focus on, as well as dealing with the day to day reality of some young people’s lives, is raising aspirations and looking at programmes and projects that may inspire and support them to see that there is potentially a way out of their current experiences. Following today I will also reflect on what more I can do across the service

China Update 3

I thought it was time to bring us up to speed with all things Chinese! Unfortunately I’ve had to withdraw from the exchange (at least physically) as I’ve not been too well and felt that I wouldn’t be able to lead and support the group on this exciting adventure as well as I needed to. Fortunately another colleague has taken my place and the group is now really getting to grips with what they are going to be doing.

Risk assessments have been completed, more forms filled out, visas sought, the usual passport frenzy calmed and more information shared with the young people about what lies ahead of them. (Ranging from dodgy toilets to amazing banquet meals).

As we are trying to expand both their and our skills in social media we have set up a blog for the young people to share their adventures with all of us and their Chinese counterparts. We are aiming for this to be an ongoing blog after the group return and for it to still be in use when we host (hopefully) the return group. Do visit for yourself to see how our experiment goes and here is a sample of some of their video introductions that they’ve posted so far:-

Blog Action Day 08

One of the aspects of blogging that I’ve found so fascinating on my journey of the blogosphere has been the sense of being able to affect change and share our ideas and thoughts across the world. I read news and information from Australia to Malaysia, the States to China and right across the UK. In doing this I’m fascinated to see how much I can contribute to change. For this reason I’ve joined the Blog Action Day 08. See more about it here;-

APYCO Blogging!

It’s the APYCO Conference – Creating Shared Space, making integration work – and there’s some interesting comments and proposals on changes within the association. How do I know this? Well, in case you hadn’t picked it up – the Association of Principal Youth and Community Officers has now started a blog, with the major support of Tim Davies. So if you’re interested in youth work and what they’re saying you might want to check it out. It’s a great way of bringing more of the youth work community on line. Who knows, perhaps more of them will start blogging!

Social Media Strategy developments

As I’ve detailed before I’m responsible for developing our Social Media strategy. To kick start this the social media staff group (made up of colleagues from across the service) had some training from Mediasnackers. Following that we have had a few discussions but due to pressure of time we haven’t been able to move as quickly on this as I would have hoped. 

Courtesy of Dave Press

Courtesy of Dave Press

However a couple of colleagues went to the UKyouthonline unconference and have developed some more ideas and finally we’re now able to support and finance this group meeting up once every 6 weeks to both talk, share, develop and practice online social networking, social media skills and explore the free tools available. I think this will be a real asset to our work and starts to get youth workers skilled up and versed in using the various tools out there and understanding how they could / might affect their work.

I’m really pleased that we’ve got this far, especially as this is only a part of our regular work.  I’m now looking forward to pulling together a lot of the information that we’ve collected to put together our own strategy and to look at how we can maximise opportunities for young people. Watch this space!

Back again!

Sorry for the interruption in posting. I have unexpectedly been off work for the last two weeks and not in a posting frame of mind however hopefully that will now all change (although I’ll no doubt have a back log of emails to go through as well as updating myself on what has been happening in the operational areas!)

So – I hope to back in the thick of things soon!

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