Welcome to my Blog.I’m Hilary Mason and I work for West Sussex County Council as a Service Manager with the Youth Support and Development Service (yes we still have one here!!).
I have been in post for just over 6 years now. Prior to this I was involved in youth work in various charities. I started out in the Outdoor Education sector involved in centre and school based work. From there I moved into sailing and worked for a long time for the then Ocean Youth Club, a sail training organisation, which became Ocean Youth Trust. Predominantly involved with the Scottish area I also developed a number of youth training programmes and started becoming more interested in personal development and how this could be maximised in this environment.
I then worked for Raleigh International , a Youth Development Charity running expeditions overseas for around 7 years. At Raleigh I started out doing face to face youth work facilitating the Raleigh International Millennium Awards in Leeds and Cardiff and then moved up to London to run the Volunteer Expedition Staff Office and then became Director of Operations. This sort of work has remained a passion for me and consequently I am very interested in developing opportunities for young people to have international and european experiences.
Having lived life very much in the charitable sector (and in a few more roles than I’ve indicated here) I was bemused and amazed when I entered the public sector. It’s been and continues to be an interesting experience.
With a population of 64,500 young people aged 13-19 West Sussex is located on the coast of central southern England, within easy reach of London. There are four coastal districts: Chichester, Arun, Worthing and Adur, while Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham lie to the North forming the Gatwick Diamond. More than half of the County is in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while the West Sussex Coast stretches for 68 miles. However there are specific pockets of deprivation identified as Super Output Areas (SOAs). West Sussex has 9 SOAs that are ranked within the worst 20% of all SOAs in England, all located along the coastal strip.
As with most youth services we have experienced substantial change over the past year and will continue to do so over the next few years as government direction changes and the implementation of the “big society”. I am currently the strategic lead for Looked After Children, Marketing and Communications (our website), Equalities and Access for vulnerable groups (including Young Carers, LGBT, BME, LGBT and Travelling young people), and Think Family…..no small task then!
HERE COMES THE DISCLAIMER!!!!
This is my blog, I am experimenting to see if it will / can expand my networks and to understand more about the importance of online networking and reflection. Therefore anything I write is my own view and not that of West Sussex County Council or West Sussex Youth Service. I will endeavour to be as open and honest as I can but please bear with me if I sometimes use couched terms!!
Hope this gives a bit more detail!