Naomi Thompson – Woman of the Present and the Future

I’ve got many a reservation about the ‘Awards’ culture in today’s society – cue more cries about my continuing slide into miserabilism. However, I did manage a genuine smile at the news that this week Naomi Thompson was the recipient of the Woman of the Future Professions Award. I’m not sure about the notion of the future as in the here and now Naomi has contributed significantly to the world of youth work as a youth worker and lecturer, as a writer, her latest book being ‘Young People and Church since 1900: Engagement and Exclusion’ and, not least from our point of view, as a passionate and committed member of the IDYW steering group.

naomi

The Professions Award recognises women who are making a significant contribution in sectors such as legal, medicine, accounting and education, and who are tipped to reach the top of their field.

The judges described her as ‘an ambitious role model for students, especially with her mixed methods research experience and focus on youth work, religion and crime’.

Naomi Thompson said: “I was humbled and delighted to win the Women of the Future Award after being short-listed alongside some incredible women. The judges commended my research in many areas and my journey from becoming a young parent at aged 20.

“However, the award is a recognition not just of my journey but of the people who have supported me along the way, including the academics and students who supported my nomination – proving no woman is an island.”

 

Perhaps the tide is turning, but the struggle to stay afloat continues

I’ll resist sliding into what seems the standard ‘youth sector’ account of anything it does, namely somehow that it’s always overwhelmingly new, innovative and inspiring. My caution aside the reports from the medley of ‘Is the tide turning’ events and discussions held in the last week or so do give grounds for a measure of hope and optimism. Here are a few quotes and photos to back up a collective sense that the struggle to reclaim and reimagine a youth work freed from the shackles of neoliberal dogma is alive and even flourishing.

 

Chris Warren leading off the Derby debate

 

A great IDYW Turning the Tide Event hosted by the D2N2 Youth Work Alliance at the University of Derby today. Over 65 practitioners and youth work students in attendance. A constructive discussion took place about the political responsibility for valuing young people and professional youth work… ideas for what youth work needs to address and look like in the future.

 

Part of the audience in Derby

 

Is The Tide Turning? Event in Birmingham today. Should Youth Work be statutory is a question being asked a lot at the moment!

 

Much pondering in Birmingham

 

Thank you In Defence of Youth Work and to Bernard Davies who led our discussions on the future of youth work. Brilliant to get together and imagine what we want from the future. We’re inspired and motivated to make it happen. The young people enjoyed it and said they were proud to contribute to making change happen 😃

 

Bernard Davies still going strong

 

At this moment we are in the middle of receiving feedback from events/workshops in Brighton, Cardiff, Cumbria, Derby, Doncaster, London, Northampton and Manchester. The task now is to draft a discussion paper based on the rich range of material emerging from the gatherings. Given that the Christmas midwinter break is relatively close we’ll aim to circulate this early in the New Year. From there all being well we’d like to put what we might call a position paper to our national conference on March 9 in Birmingham.

In the meantime, we must pay tribute to everyone for their part in making happen the ‘Is the tide turning’ debate. Thanks collectively for raising all our spirits.

Renewing the independence of the voluntary youth sector : Reload CVYS, Friday, November 15

 

NCVYS

The former logo of the defunct NCVYS, once a proud, independent voice in the youth work arena

 

During our existence we have expressed on many occasions the concern that the voluntary youth sector is relinquishing its vital independence – see The NCVYS closure: Whither the voluntary youth sector’s independent voice? 

Thus it is fascinating to hear about the following initiative.

RELOAD NCVYS MEETING FOR LOCAL & REGIONAL CVYS’s

Charles W. Shaw informs that the further meeting of Councils for Voluntary Youth Services Network is to be held from 11am to 2pm Friday 17th November 2017 for the purposes of continuing the work started in Wolverhampton at the beginning of 2017.

Network CVYS will continue to examine how NCVYS lost its way, learn from this and plan a way to take positive steps forward and share with the sector.

Meeting will be held at The Royal Society of Arts, 8 John Adam Street,
London, WC2N 6EZ.
For further meeting details telephone 07818 434346 or email: england@cvys.org.uk

We hope to hear more about this promising development.

 

Reflection: Dialogue: Action: – “Expressions of faith in Youth Work”, November 18 in Derby

D2N2

Reflection: Dialogue: Action: – “Expressions of faith in Youth Work”

18 November from 9:30–14:30 in the Britannia Mill, DE22 3BL Derby

 

An opportunity and reflective space for youth work practitioners of all faiths and none, to gather in exploration, dialogue and recognition of the positive & diverse contribution that faith makes to working with young people in their communities of faith and place.

Through workshops, group discussion, reflective activities and keynote input we will explore key themes including:

The importance of interfaith dialogue with young people in their communities

The spiritual development of young people & practitioners

The tensions and opportunities faith values in professional practice

 

It is our hope that as delegates we will commit to learning from each other through sharing our journeys and narratives, recognising our blockages and thinking beyond our own known faith communities and reference points.

The day will be facilitated by members of the D2N2 Youth Work Alliance Core Group, including Ian Tannahill, ‘Director of Young People’s Services’ at Blend Youth Project and Angela Brymer, ‘Youth Ministry Adviser’ for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.

Workshop Facilitators

We are pleased to welcome the following workshop facilitators, whose knowledge and experience will help to root our reflections and discussion firmly in models of practice:

Jill Appleton: – ‘Development Worker, Birmingham & Schools Consultant’ for ‘The Feast’.

The Feast is a Christian charity based in Birmingham, working to promote community cohesion between young people of different faiths and cultures. http://www.thefeast.org.uk

 

Ruth Richardson: – ‘Director’ at the Multi-Faith Centre in Derby.

The Multi-Faith Centre exists to promote mutual understanding between people of different faiths/beliefs and none and to build respect between people as fellow human beings across cultures. http://www.multifaithcentre.org

 

Additional useful Information

On-site parking is available.

The event will be held in Rooms: BM 115/116

Lunch will be provided

 

A short D2N2 Youth Work Alliance AGM will be held during the lunch break.

Book your free place at https://www.facebook.com/events/119896412033269/

 

Tim Caley reviews ‘Grassroots Youth Work – policy, passion and resistance in practice’

The latest Youth & Policy features Tim Caley’s generous review of Tania de St Croix’s book, ‘Grassroots Youth Work – policy, passion and resistance in practice’ 

grassroots

Invoking from the 1960’s the literary critic, Richard Hoggart and the ‘on the side of the underdog’ youth worker, Ray Gosling he argues that ‘the critical achievement of her writing is that it gets to the heart of good youth work practice, it digs deep into how practitioners – especially the part-timers – feel about teenagers, how strongly they love their work and how resilient they are proving in the face of political and financial adversity. Based on three years of research and two years of writing, she weaves together the voices of part-time youth workers and young people with a concise (yet coruscating) analysis of the corrosive impact of government policies on youth work and youth services in the last ten years. What’s more, she does it with an eloquent passion and resistance of her own, reflecting the book’s primary themes’.

Nevertheless, he chides Tania for sometimes being overzealously simplistic in her critique. Somewhat defensively he points out that even in the midst of neoliberal constraint there are empathetic managers.  I suppose I’d like to think so too, given I was once mistakenly a Chief Youth Officer. More problematically, in my opinion, he suggests that OFSTED inspections were an accurate arbiter of what constitute the highest standards of youth work practice. He suggests rightly that we should treat seriously the efforts of some charities to chart a positive course through the troubled waters of a shifting economy of youth work. Less persuasively he repeats the tired charge that youth workers fail to provide evidence to funders. From my conversations with workers, they feel they do little else nowadays except furnish data upon data to their bosses. And as for Tania, having devoured its contents, my sense is that her coverage of these issues is nuanced rather than naive.

No matter, books and book reviews, such as Tim’s, ought to stimulate argument and debate. As it is I find myself close to agreeing with the fulsome praise, with which he concludes.

Tania de St Croix has written the best book on youth work since Mark K. Smith’s seminal Creators not Consumers, published in 1980′.

Read Tim’s review in full and, do yourself a favour, beg, steal, borrow, even buy the book itself.  There are few books in the youth work canon that can be said to be a bloody good read. Tania’s is the exception.

 

Kicking off National Youth Work Week without a selfie, but with a Corbyn eulogy

There I was wondering whether I’d get stick for political bias if I posted this paean of praise to youth work by Jeremy Coburn, when along comes a National Youth Agency newsletter recommending its message. So without further ado.

 

Certainly, his avowed stance lends weight to the argument that we should be focusing our attention on winning the support of the anti-austerity parties, led by Labour, for a reimagined Youth Service as an integral part of a National Education Service. It will be fascinating to see the feedback from our ‘Is the tide turning?’ events being held this week.

 

 

However, I’ve failed miserably to respond to the NYA’s request to be part of the Support youth services with a selfie in #YWW17 – details on the link. I could summon up neither the courage nor conceit to comply. I know I’m a curmudgeon. In an attempt to save face, as I reckoned they owed me a favour or two, I tried the idea out on Glyka, our rescue dog and Leonidas, our rescue racehorse.  My line was that Glyka would look cute and Leo aristocratic with the bonus I could post the pics on Facebook and generate huge numbers of ‘likes’ and giddily appreciative comments. Both of them were scathing in the face of my embarrassing ignorance. Me taking a picture of them did not count as a ‘selfie. With a bark and a neigh I was dismissed from their presence. Anyway if you feel so inclined, you can make up for my abashed surliness. Cheers.

 

SUPPORTING VOTES AT 16 – back the bill

Banner-Votes-at-16

Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2017-19

This Bill is to have its second reading debate today, Friday 3 November 2017.

 

VA16-Main-Image

Ta to the British Youth Council

 

Blogs on BYC page

 

The best way for young people to learn about politics is to get involved

 

 

“What we need is a country that wholeheartedly supports and listens to young people”

 

 

“There’s a clear appetite in young people to be involved in the democratic process”