Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘statutory’

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!

And now there are FIVE!!

Yep, the MediaSnackers training has persuaded Steve Humphries to start his own blog! I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Steves’ experiences as he works  in a part of the youth service  which provides targeted and intensive youth support to individual young people, and as such, has a slightly different perspective on youth work to those involved in traditional centre based youth work. 

And so our community grows!!!! Here’s to the next Statutory Youth Work Blogger……

And then there were 3 (or four!)

Hurray! Another Statutory youth work blog goes live!!! Chris and Sue are both Senior Assistant Youth Workers working for Oldham Youth Service so if you’re interested in learning more about what goes on in Oldham, or more about youth work practice then have a look at their blog here. They’ve even got some video clips to look at too! (More than I’ve learnt to do so far!) 

The Statutory Youth Work blogs are slowly increasing……mind you we’ve got a long way to go to reach the amount of voluntary and faith based ones that are out there. Still, slowly does it!:)

What type of blog?

I’ve been thinking more about this blog and trying to work out what I should or should not include on it. It’s been interesting reading Tim’s Blog and his thoughts on his guiding principles and his reflections on developing his blog. It made me think what and why I was blogging….and when should I blog? I guess I thought that I would just write but now I’m wondering if I should become more focussed and target my posts on specific subjects. For those that have been blogging a while, is it a case of planning or developing principles or is it just having a go and refining it as you go along? I think Im concerned that if I make it too structured I might not write but if its too waffly then it might not be that interesting.  

Then there is the 7 reasons to blog and why aren’t statutory youth workers blogging. It’s an interesting debate. I think there are a number of potential reasons why it’s hard, or why they haven’t started yet. As a Senior Manager in the Statutory Sector I thought it worthwhile giving this a go after hearing from DK at Mediasnackers. However I frequently ask myself – what can I put in the public domain? How can I ensure that whilst I am as honest and truthful about my experiences I don’t post anything that will bring the authority into disrepute or reflect badly on either the organisation or colleagues? What should I blog about? How can I maximise the networking and sharing elements of this blog? And then the big question – when should I do this? Is it appropriate to use ‘work’ time to write? If not do I really want to use a lot of my own time to blog? I think that if I have all these questions and feel that I am in a position to resolve them then how difficult must it be for some of my colleagues? They already have limited time available and should they / can they spend time doing this as opposed to working with young people? Or should we build in reflective practice time and encourage more individuals to link and develop blogs to do this? 

And then there is the questions of IT skills, particularly in an authority that is only just getting off the ground with a website and where colleagues are gradually getting to grips with an online monitoring information system.   I like the Blogging for Youth Workers guide and think that this could be really useful for those who don’t know how.  I’m aiming to share this with others to get their thoughts re this. One of my future tasks is to put together a small working group to develop a Social Media Strategy. As this is still new to me any thoughts would be welcome, especially as there is so much appearing in the regular media at the moment. (Mostly negative!)

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