Take a Break, then Start Blogging! Enjoy Easter!

We’ve more than a few questions and dilemmas to share, but we’ll go slow over the next few days, hoping you might be pinching a few days’ break. As you relax you might care to contemplate Matt Lent’s appeal.

Why Youth Workers Should Blog

For my part I suspect I’ve thought something similar for many a year, long before blogging entered the dictionary. Whether I’ve been the editor of the trade union  or Youth Service newsletter or indeed co-ordinator of this web site today, I’ve longed for, prayed for contributions to put me out of my isolated misery. It’s difficult to articulate the joy I feel when someone responds to a post or, marvel of marvels, sends in a link,  a video or, most precious of all, initiates a discussion. Of course, see Matt’s blog, the reasons for folk not contributing are varied and understandable. The one thing I would add is that if you do shake off the shackles and blog [or its equivalent] you will put a smile on the faces of people you don’t know, glad that you made them think.

As for now, seeing Greek Easter is five weeks away – the vagaries of differing Christian calendars – I’d almost overlooked today is Good Friday. Memories in the North of England, at least, that the chip shop was open serving the obligatory battered cod. Any road I hope you can spend the weekend as you think fit. To underline the contradictions of existence, as an irreconcilable atheist, I’ll turn to Johann Sebastian Bach for inspiration and consolation.

And in the words of Dave Allen, the sit-down comedian of yesteryear,

“Thank you, goodnight and may your God go with you”

Enjoy Easter!

Tony Taylor

[Apologies –  I should have posted this as Tony Taylor not indefenceyw, but pressed the wrong key – too much village red, methinks!]

Closing Youth Clubs : Suppressing a Tradition – the Sheffield Hub

Be young, be quiet!

Monday’s Guardian carried this revealing piece on the state of youth work in Sheffield.

Youth clubs shut down as councils slash spending on their future

Sheffield’s Hub was there for generations of children but it has become another casualty of cuts as councils slash funding.

There are some choice quotes, ending on this note.

A youth worker at Sheffield Futures, who said he could not be named after signing a gagging order, said his job had changed out of all recognition. “We used to work very informally, engaging with young people in a very relaxed way.

“Now they want us to wear a uniform, a hoodie with the police logo on the back – they don’t seem to understand that the sort of young people we used to engage with would run a mile from anyone wearing that.”

It’s a real pity that the journalist didn’t contact one of our leading lights, Sue Atkins, who continues through Youth Association South Yorkshire to defend youth work in the city. It would have been enlightening too as her own history goes back to the days of the Sheffield Hub and the worker, Leroy Wenham, highlighted in the story.

Now retired, Wenham worked in Sheffield’s youth service for 30 years, including a long spell at the Hub. Its closure was “a serious loss to the city”, he said. “The Hub provided a platform where black people could express their views and share their culture with the wider community.”

If you read this early Tuesday it might still be possible to contribute on the Guardian site itself before they close Comments.


The Institute of Youth Work [IYW] : NYA asks for our backing. What do you reckon?

Thanks to Aston Wood

We’ve received the following approach from NYA re the proposed IYW. Leave aside the fact that we’ve no financial resources, the Steering Group feels that this request for an ‘in principle’ commitment to the IYW runs ahead of where the discussion is up to. Our reading of the last Development day was that a majority agreed the need to keep as many organisations involved in an open and provisional debate for as long as possible.

Read the following NYA letter and complete our very first survey of opinion at:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Dear Tony Taylor

I am writing to update you on the development of the Institute for Youth Work and to ask for IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK CAMPAIGN’s involvement in taking the project further.

I would be very grateful for your response by 4th April 2013.

About the Institute for Youth Work

The Education and Training Standards Committee (ETS) of the National Youth Agency, as a cross sector body with wide representation from the whole youth work sector in England, is leading the development of the Institute for Youth Work.

The aim of the Institute for Youth Work is to improve and support quality in youth work. It will aim to engage all those in the youth sector who work to enable young people to develop holistically and to reach their full potential.

The IYW will be open to all those working with young people and youth workers from across the youth sector, employed and volunteering, who work to the key principles of Youth Work as outlined by the framework for ethical practice.

The aim of the Institute will be to support youth workers to ensure individuals, and the sector, reach the highest possible standards in youth work. This will be achieved by developing work across some key work areas:

·         Youth work practice – including developing and promoting a framework for ethical practice; this will be the bedrock of membership and will provide opportunities for sharing practice, supporting colleagues through peer support and mentoring opportunities.

·         Providing a strategic voice for members to influence policy and practice and promoting the recognition of the impact of youth work;

·         Providing guidance and information around continuing professional development;

·         Potentially developing a sector skills platform – providing the sector a clear qualification strategy and youth work qualification pathway recognising the diversity of roles Youth Workers are engaged with young people.

The ETS committee of the NYA will retain the responsibility for validating professional youth work qualification for England, but during the interim IYW structure this work is will sit as a strand area to illustrate the breadth of work undertaken by the ETS.


The National Youth Agency is backing this project on behalf of the sector, but the steering group recognise that it will be essential to have a range of partnerships in place to ensure the IYW’s sustainability. We also want to be sure we can reach youth workers from across the youth sector.

I am therefore writing to ask for IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK CAMPAIGN’s support to ensure the project is successful. We recognise that the web site and full IYW offer is not yet in place, but we are asking for an ‘in principle’ commitment to provide support in-kind to promote the Institute. 

Given the proviso above, which of the following would your organisation be able to support?

(Please indicate)

·         advertorial or editorial column space in your organisation’s magazine or newsletter (not news coverage);

·         a letter or email from a senior member of staff to your members recommending the IYW;

·         facility to provide staff payroll deduction for annual membership (similar to union payments etc) and to make staff aware of this facility;

·         additional IYW option on your membership’s annual subscription fees (group discount to be negotiated);

·         web banner/ console on your home page providing click through to IYW pages.

·         any other offers (please give details).

I would be grateful for your response by 4th April 2013. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Maralyn Smith

National Programme Manager – Workforce