Where next for the Youth Sector? (Anna Smee, CEO UK Youth)

UK Youth Logo (JPEG)The past year has been a particularly tough one for the youth sector. Charities working with children and young people have come under fire following the closure of Kids Company and the difficult funding environment they operate in shows little sign of improving.

There are no easy answers for the sector. The global economy remains precarious, with the shadow of economic downturn in China hanging over stock and currency markets, and pushing oil prices down. As a result the UK Government remains pessimistic about growth prospects and committed to deficit reduction. Comprehensive statutory funding for youth services is fast being consigned to history and it is highly unlikely that we will see comparable levels of public investment return to the sector within the next ten years.

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Beyond The Usual Suspects

As part of #iwill week, London Youth Chief Executive, Rosie Ferguson, reflects on the value of social action in supporting young people to develop confidence, resilience and leaderships skills, and the importance of engaging those who wouldn’t normally take part.

Nearly 10 years ago, when I first joined London Youth, my job was to develop leadership programmes for young people in our network of 400 youth clubs. As a former young leader in a youth project myself, I started off by reaching out to the few young people in each club who I recognised as ready and willing to take on responsibility and lead their peers.

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The Partnership Approach To Employability

In this blog, Steph Taylor, Head of Talent Match London at London Youth, gives her thoughts on the importance of the partnership approach to employability.

On Monday, myself and Paul Tucker, Senior Partnerships Manager at DWP spoke at the Inclusion event on Employment and Skills in London. Paul is a member of the Talent Match London Core Partnership (a steering group who oversee the programme’s strategic outcomes) and we were sharing what we have learnt about creating successful cross-sector partnerships, to ensure that the impact of the grant from the Big Lottery Fund is felt way beyond the 2500 young people who will experience the programme and go into sustained education, employment, self-employment or training.

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The Coffey report: Child sexual exploitation, social norms and social change

I cannot imagine there are sensible adults who want to live in a culture in which child sexual exploitation is a new social norm in some or any communities. Yet there are sensible adults who are not doing all they can to make sure we develop a healthy and positive culture about young people, sex and sexuality. Today’s important report from Ann Coffey MP Real Voices, into child sexual exploitation (CSE) across Greater Manchester is another reminder of why this has to change.

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HIV diagnoses among young gay men: We need to act

I will keep saying it until I’m blue in the face: new HIV Infections have almost doubled amongst 15-24 year olds. I read my briefing over breakfast this morning and I cannot quite describe the feeling in my stomach. How can we, how can I allow this to happen, and how did this data slip out and go largely unreported this week?

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Let’s Stick To Knitting

Communications Support Officer at London Youth, Abdullah Mahmood, responds to comments made by the new Minister for Civil Society, Brooks Newmark, at the ‘People helping people – the future of public services’ event on Wednesday 3 September.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to notice the twitter reaction (read: backlash) to Brooks Newmark the new Minister for Civil Society’s comments at Nesta’s ‘People helping people – the future of public services’ event earlier this week.

His statements that“We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics” and“The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others” have really riled many within the youth sector with some accusing the Minister for Civil Society of patronising charities.

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Putting Young People First

In this blog which originally featured on the Foyer Federation website, Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive at London Youth, gives her thoughts on Foyer’s merger with Changemakers.

When I was 19 and a student at Goldsmiths, I organised a series of DJing workshops in the student’s union for young people from local youth clubs. I did this to bridge the void that I saw between the privileged environment at Goldsmiths and the communities of young people growing up around New Cross. I was excited to receive recognition from Changemakers for this and, with hindsight, it was one of the moments I can point to that led me to the career I do today.

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Why the voluntary youth sector needs to play more ‘games’

I was talking with a senior manager the other day about how the voluntary sector, and particularly the youth sector, is forgetting how to have fun, and more specifically explaining the value that games and play brings to CPD, team development and group work. He expressed much (healthy) scepticism about both the possibility and value of getting professionals to play games, and even argued that the word ‘game’ itself is a turn off.

“These are serious people with serious jobs, and they are not going to want to waste time running around like school children”  he told me.  This statement highlighted many of his pre-conceptions and assumptions. It also provided me with a golden opportunity to talk at length about how these ‘serious people with serious jobs’ could actually learn something about themselves, their staff, their organisations, their clients and their opportunities by allowing creativity to flow more freely through play and ‘games’.

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Inspire a generation?

Ahead of National Paralympic Day, Zoe Mellis, Head of London Youth’s sports development programme, Getting Ready, looks back on the changes in community sports across the capital in the two years since the start of London 2012.

When London Youth first launched its sports development programme, Getting Ready for the Games and Beyond back in 2009, none of us really knew what to expect. Of course, we knew that youth clubs could be great places for engaging young people in sport: after all clubs like Streatham Youth and Community Trust, Alford House, the Harrow Club W10 and many others have long traditions of using sport to help young people develop personal qualities and skills to help them live healthy active lives.

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No Matter What Life Throws At You

Daniel Sollé, Programme Delivery Manager on Talent Match London, writes about why mental health matters and how developing resilience and having someone to speak to can make such a difference

A few weeks ago a young man, a colleague, shyly asked me, “Danny, what does resilience mean?” At the time I was four months into working on Talent Match London, London Youth’s new youth employability programme, and had for the previous hour been working with colleagues to decide on a training package for young people. The young man – let’s call him Joe, although it’s not his real name – is a member of the Talent Match London Youth Board and had arrived halfway through the discussion, just as another colleague had been summarising the training plan: “Public speaking skills, media training, peer mentoring, resilience training…”

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