Re-thinking universal youth work

Last week saw the launch of a literature review on the impact of universal youth work, timely as it’s comes at a time of genuine concern about the future of youth work in Scotland.

The review coincides with the new National Youth Work Strategy (2014 – 19) which focuses the attention of young people, practitioners, and policy makers on the importance of youth work and an unprecedented engagement amongst young people post referendum with the political process and the reality of democratic participation.

Youth work has always dreamt of this.

The findings from the review also present a number of challenges. How do we continue to celebrate the best of youth work practice in an environment where public services are subject to radical surgery? How can we draw on real evidence about the way we work, rather than what we would like to hear? How can we invest time, energy, and resources to help us better understand the long term impact of youth work? Where does universal youth work sit within the National Youth Work Strategy?

The evidence highlights the positive contribution universal youth work does make to health and wellbeing outcomes, improving formal educational and impact on employability whilst providing a safe yet challenging spaces for personal and social development learning.

The review is a small (but beautifully shaped) pebble in a large pool. It is hoped the ripples will be felt by many and it can create a wave that will shape youth work in the years to come.

The next stage is to engage the wider youth work sector, including young people themselves, to collectively gathering the evidence base for universal youth work.

Thanks are due to: The Robertson Trust, YouthLink Scotland, and Youth Scotland for funding; The University of Edinburgh for hosting and managing the research; The Edinburgh Youth Work Consortium for initiating and guiding the work; LAYC for back room support; NHS Lothian and NHS Health Scotland for providing in-kind support and Dr Callum McGregor for doing the research.

New training programme for 2015!

The new training for Spring 2015 has just been sent out so to see what training goodies we have available you can view or download using the above link.

More details are available on the training page or contact LAYC.

Members said…….LAYC will……..Our Future Plans

After a raft of consultations with member groups and discussions within the LAYC trustees, our plan for the next 3 years was been approved by the Board in December and is available for all to see and comment on.

The strategic plan sets out LAYC’s work in the current context of various policy strands and details the 5 areas of work we wish to pursue over the next few years. These were drawn from what you as members were saying in terms of the kind of support you’re seeking and our aspirations for the development of the children and young peoples work sector in this part of Scotland.

Staff are now developing work plans that support the work being taken forward and enabling trustees to monitor how that’s progressing.

We are grateful for all the comments from the members survey and feedback from the AGM that helped shape the strategy and ensures meeting members needs remains a key priority of the organisation.

ASC Co-Operative Charter makes it’s Mark!

At LAYC we’re great fans of working both collaboratively, co-operatively and of the fantastic work undertaken by parent led after school clubs. So we’re doubly delighted to have taken both these things and combined them into an After School Club Charter Mark which is awarded to those after school clubs who can demonstrate that’s how they seek to work!

The idea of the ASC Co-operative Charter was born from discussions with after school clubs and how to work more co -operatively in line with Edinburgh Council’s electoral pledge on developing a Co-operative agenda. This work with after school clubs, aided by Martin Metyard from the Co-operative movement, began to recognise that parent led and community based after school clubs were in fact operating using co-operative principles. Those principles of fairness, community ownership, not for profit, co-operation and underlying it all, child centred, are the backbone of the After School Clubs Co-operative Charter.

So what do after school clubs gain from being a member of the Charter and gaining the Charter Mark? LAYC has pulled together a raft of tailored services that seek to acknowledge the commitment to co-operative working and to directly assist them to develop a more co-operative approach. They include:

  • Grants to support collaborative work including with another Chartered ASC and other partners
  • Paid mentoring time from a pool of experienced ASC Managers to provide tailored support
  • On site training for staff teams on key topics
  • Access to study space and course materials for those undertaking training
  • Copy of the LAYC Charter Quality Assurance Guide
  • Exclusive access to some development projects

So how can you join and become an ASC Charter Mark? A short application form with information about the Scheme will be sent out to all Edinburgh based After School Clubs. This helps us to check that groups meet the co-operative criteria and qualify for the Charter Mark. The Charter Mark is only open to members of LAYC. It will run concurrently with the Membership year and be available to be renewed annually.

The Charter represents a major recognition by the City of Edinburgh Council placing real value on the work done by parent led after school clubs. We know it requires the right support to be provided to help sustain and develop community based provision. LAYC is very grateful for some funding and the support of the Early Years team in being able to launch this innovative Charter.

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