First Post-Conference Mailing


Dear All,

We are sending this note to all those who attended the successful IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK conference held on Thursday February 11th, plus those who registered but were unable to attend, plus those who came to an IN DEFENCE seminar held in Lancaster on Wednesday February 10th. Over the two days close to 200 people were involved in our activities.

There was an overwhelming desire to maintain and indeed increase the momentum of the Campaign. In order to do so the following Action Points were identified in the workshops and the afternoon plenary session.

1. It is important that each of us spreads the word about the Campaign. In the next week we will post on the website a summary of the main decisions of the conference, which could be circulated together with the WHAT WE STAND FOR leaflet.

2. Where possible supporters should seek to organise local meetings to overcome isolation and explore together what’s possible in their particular situation.

3. Out of the local, supporters should lend their weight to regional initiatives. At the conference groups came together on a regional basis and it is hoped that regional steering groups will continue to develop.

4.  More specifically, individuals and groups are asked to focus on the following proposals:

  • The real possibility in the pre-General Election period of organising IN DEFENCE meetings in parliamentary constituencies where all the candidates are invited to speak to young people, the community and youth workers on what they see as ‘The Future for Young People’ and ‘ The Future of Youth Work’.
  • As the NYA has abandoned Youth Work Week, the remarkable potential of reclaiming the idea for the IN DEFENCE campaign.  At a local, regional and national level a host of possibilities emerge. In my personal opinion what would be powerful would be to envisage events which go beyond the self-congratulatory ’spin’ of the NYA approach. Whatever, this needs your critical attention. Your thoughts much appreciated.
  • The need to begin creating our version of what happens within Youth Work by telling our stories of practice, our accounts of the contradictions of our work, which involves also drawing into the process young people themselves. Bernard Davies is coordinating a group focused on this vital and fascinating ‘Oral History’ project.
  • Linked, perhaps more immediately to the above, the necessity of gathering information about the surveillance and policing of young people, the revival of Stop & Search, and making sure that this is passed on. LIBERTY and the Federation for Detached Youth Work are already pursuing this.

5. Whilst there was a charged exchange at the conference about the relationship between the notion of a new professional Association and the Trade Unions, the majority underlined the importance of still joining the union. Doug Nicholls, the General Secretary of CYWU (UNITE) spoke persuasively about the vital role of the trade union in protecting jobs, services and practice. Whilst Tim Price from UNISON underlined our collective obligation to defend all jobs and services in the public sector. The Campaign will seek to publicise and support all workers’ struggles against cuts in provision, wages and conditions.

6.  Nineteen people volunteered to be members of the National Steering Group, which will seek to coordinate our activities in the coming period. More information to follow.

7. It was agreed that we should look to a recall conference in the late Autumn/early Winter to weigh up how things are going and to draw strength from one another.

In the hurly-burly I failed to raise the issue of the name of the Campaign. Various people felt that the name needed to be changed. We will circulate a separate note re this dilemma.

I’ve probably overlooked significant issues, but for now I’ll get this out to everyone, knowing you will sort out my errors.

As ever your responses very much welcomed.

Warts and all it was an uplifting conference. Let’s keep upsetting the status quo!

Thanks for your support.


One comment

  1. I would like to organise a Defence of Youth Work in South Wales but would need support. Any offers?

    Senior Youth Worker – Cardiff Deaf Club
    Cardiff County Council

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.