Peter Crory, YMCA Scotland responds to the debate and asks 'are we up for it'?

Peter Crory, National General Secretary, YMCA Scotland, wonders whether we have got our feet on the ground.

Lovely to meet old friends here…Hi Bernard!

Fascinating discussion and yes Tony you are providing a rare space for us to shape our thinking where our hearts are not ruled by the end of year budgets.

My work is national in Scotland where we have had huge changes to the youth work scene since the SNP came into power and turned the treatment of young people as problems into an early intervention evidence based nurture-fest….much of which is just great!

Yet at the same time we have the demise of youth work as a recognised profession, the closure of some of our University youth work courses and the onward march of youth justice re-defining our work with young people.

This is of course a tough environment but it is one ripe to hear our voice and one where in my view we have an opportunity to raise the quality of youth work that has too often been unaccountable and misunderstood by others.

Those of us who sit back and claim the right not to engage in new ways and those of us who simply defend ‘pure’ youth work ….will struggle to survive.

We have an opportunity to show that the quality of the youth work relationship with a young person can produce a more sustainable and successful future for that individual than other approaches.

We have an opportunity to learn loads for our work about evaluation and measuring our impact…something we have been really poor at to date. (This is not the same thing as signing my soul away to outcomes)

I find myself in an interesting place deep in relationship with organisations like the Young Foundation and Catch 22 where I am learning loads. Yet my youth workers heart remains strong and optimistic that we can produce a more robust and clearly understood youth work as we emerge from the clouds.

To do this we need to engage more in the public conversation.

To do this we need to allow some youth and community work to die and to recognise what is good and what is bad about commissioning, about new partner approaches and about outcomes.

There is a huge opportunity here for voluntary sector youth work to shape and drive this new thinking as statutory youth work struggles to survive within the government machine.

If anything we have a particular responsibility to enable this. Im up for it …are you?

Thanks IDYW for the platform….its just a case of where do we go from here.


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