Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘youth provision’

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!

The Online Conversation in the back of the bus!

Recently I’ve been having a look at some Social Networking Sites that colleagues have set up and came across an interesting conundrum (or at least I thought it was!). A youth provision had set up a Bebo site that has attracted a reasonable number of young people. I looked around the site and then thought I’d see what sort of access the young peoples’ profiles had (as education in this area is something I think we need to work on with youth workers). On clicking on a young persons profile I went through to their page and a whole set of photographs. I felt that one of the photos was inappropriate – it was of a sign saying ‘gay’ with an arrow pointing at another young person who had their back turned away. There were a few, not particularly nice, jokes in the comments section following this.

Courtesy of didbygraham

Courtesy of didbygraham

So the question I was left with was what, if anything, do I about this? Mike Amos Simpson has previously raised questions about how far we encroach into young people’s spaces and this crossed my mind. After all it wasn’t directly on the site managed by us.

However this didn’t sit comfortably with me. I was then talking with a colleague about social media in general and this topic came up. In discussion we concluded that this was roughly equivalent to when you’re driving a minibus full of young people (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?

Buildings for Youth Work

The other evening I was out at a local youth centre to do a quality inspection. It was an interesting visit as I hadn’t seen the centre since it had been built however I had been involved in at the very early stages when the plans had been drawn up for the building. As is usual nowadays there was limited funding and various amounts of competition for space from other community users. This meant that there was a considerable amount of compromise and I was frequently advising against building it over two floors and looking for where we could add in more storage space, outside play area etc.

It was therefore interesting to see the bricks and mortar in situ and the design translated into reality. The really positive news was that the young people had developed a lot of ownership of the youth centre and looked really comfortable and ‘at home’ in the upstairs part of the centre. It was definately thriving and fulfilling a need. The disappointing part was the difficulty in opening the downstairs level due to staffing numbers and problems in supervising it. This was quite frustrating as there is a lot of music equipment stored down there and ambitions to develop this side of the club. We’re working on solutions and as the evenings get lighter I can see the group slowly gravitating to the downstairs area however my frustration is more in knowing that this would be the case early on in the planning and not having succeeded on being influential enough in getting more floor space. I was even more frustrated to see the “NO BALL GAMES” signs 😦 fixed to the outside of the building in prime open space with no area being designated for this.

This frustration is (more…)

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