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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Working through uncertainty

I was at a meeting of the South East Youth Partnership (SEYP) International Committee up at the British Council Offices in London on Monday. The Committee comprises representatives from local authorities and the voluntary sector from across the South East Region. Our remit is to promote and support International Youth Work, with a particular focus on the youth in action programme funded through the European Commission.

As the committee started to plan ahead and look at International youth work strategically across the region it became obvious that we were trying to do this against a background of disquiet and uncertainty. With reductions in services happening across the South East most people were unsure whether they were going to actually be in post in October (the date we were planning a promotional and getting started event). Some services are in the middle of restructuring, others were going through their second or third round and yet others had not yet started.

We had a long discussion to decide what sort of an event we should put on, whether we should hold one at all and who to aim it at. In discussion it was clear that there was definitely no one shape fits all in terms of services. In West Sussex we are in the midst of restructuring to form an Integrated Youth Support and Development Service, incorporating the Youth Offending Service, the Youth Service and Connexions although who will actually deliver the services is still to be decided. In other areas there is no youth service with youth workers being in integrated teams managed through Children Services Managers.

It was felt that International Youth Work is starting to be seen as the ‘icing on the cake’ and a ‘nice to have’ so there was incertainty over how ‘managers’ may perceive the benefits of releasing staff to attend a training day on accessing funds in this way. However after much debate we decided that we should go ahead with a promotional / training event. With many grants ending in March 2011 (in particular the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Fund) the Youth In Action funding could be used as a means to support some of the work that was previously covered through the YOF funding. In particular the Youth Initiative part of the programme could be helpful as you don’t even need to go abroad to apply for and gain the funding. The event will be targeted predominantly at practioners.

So – the event is going to go ahead and I will post more details as it gets organised. In the meantime it is worth reflecting on the support that many colleagues need in this period of uncertainty……where Change is the only certainty!

Busy Day

It’s been a hectic start to the week today. I’m always amazed at how varied the job is and the range of work that I can cover in just a day.

Youth Volunteering

I’ve finally managed to finish the final draft of the youth volunteering strategy for consultation with colleagues. It’s taken some time as I’ve been reading up on all the various volunteering literature that’s about in the system at the moment, and there’s a lot! I’m keen to see how its taken on board and how we can look at implementing it across the Children and Young People’s services.

There was the usual shuffling and responding of the mass of emails that always build up when out of the office for a few days. Personnel issues feature highly, along with various information bulletins which need reviewing and checked to see if there was anything I needed to react to or pass on to colleagues. The sheer amount of data coming in on these is hard to keep up with, especially with having such a broad range of subjects to check on.

Social Innovation Camp

Wow! This looks really exciting. I came across this from reading the Mediasnackers report and following the links. On the welcome page it defines itself as “What happens when you get a bunch of software developers and social innovators together, give them a set of social problems and only 48 hours to solve them?” The area that I’m really interested in is the Personal Development Reports submitted by Michael Amos-Simpson. (Mike set up and runs YoMo – a social enterprise that provides training and resources to support young people to contribute to their local communities. Their training is led by young people that have come through the training themselves and YoMo works all over the UK and Ireland, as well as supporting projects in Malawi.) His idea can be seen here at Personal Development Reports It’s basically looking at how you can track a young persons ‘journey’ / soft skills development over time. I’ve submitted a few comments and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens as this is an area we are looking to develop to help support our Recorded Outcomes.

Europe

Next I had a meeting with new colleagues in the Europe Office. We’ve been working hard to encourage and develop this area of our youthwork as for various reasons it’s not as well developed as it could be. During the meeting it struck me once again how disjointed some of our work is throughout the local authority with very few people having a complete overview or understanding of how each part relates to the whole. So, it was good to touch base and I think that they were surprised by the number of initiatives we’ve already started under the EU Youth in Action Programme (run through Connect Youth in the UK). We’re also hoping to set up some projects under the Interreg IV programme. I’ll talk more about these as they progress.

So all in all a busy day…..and more to come tomorrow!

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