Remembering Our Histories : Memories of an Inner City Project


Back in January we reported on the National Trust’s decision to close its Inner City Project in Newcastle. Sadly the moment is imminent. However Alyssa Cowell informs us.

The Inner City Project closes after 25 years on 14th May – I’ve started to pull together old photographs and testimonials from both the young and older people who accessed over the years. The site  shows (to me) how the lessons we learn as part of a youth group can last for years.


There is now an impressive site, Memories of the Inner City Project, where the history from 1987 – 2013 is being brought to life. One such offering is this moving poem in memory of Ian Johnson 1980 – 1998, written by the East end Trailblazers Youth Group.

We looked at you and saw a friend
Who’s golden world could never end
But don’t believe that’s all there was to prove
We’ll never know the real you.

You smiled through a thousand tears
And harboured adolescent fears
You dreamed of all that you could never be
And waded in insecurity.

We won’t say you took it all for granted
We were aware of all you had
We don’t think you were disenchanted
But we understand.

It seems as though we’ve always been
People on the outside looking in
Well here we are for all them to bleed
And no-one can bring us to our knees
And though we knew you through and through
We’ll never know the real you.

Spending time with this host of memories from the young and old involved with the project poses the question of how well in general we have preserved our histories. Sadly much valuable material will have been discarded and lost. It would be brilliant to hear from other clubs and projects, who have managed to preserve the past in the service of the present and future.

IDYW April Steering Group Notes, Membership and finances

Looking ahead we remain concerned that our activities are as transparent as possible. To this end find below the notes of the recent  IDYW Steering Group plus the names of the members as at present plus a financial statement. We are still intending to test out with supporters a simple constitution by the IDYW event in London on June 19.


Notes of the IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK steering group meeting, April 9

1.0 Feed back from the March national conference, Leeds

  • Agreed that it had been very positive.

  • Agreed that we should liaise with Youth and Policy regarding their plans for the future as there was a genuine synergy between our two conferences.

  • Agreed that Sue Atkins be encouraged to write up her excellent contribution at Youth and Policy to the trade union symposium.

2.0 Choose Youth, April 11 meeting.

  • Agreed that Sue Atkins and Pauline Grace, who are attending should question the notion that the Choose Youth AGM formally adopted the manifesto. In fact the manifesto was never put to a vote in order to maintain a working consensus within the alliance. From our point of view the manifesto was seen as a work in progress, which CYWUU/UNITE in particular want to use to influence Labour Party policy. In the aftermath we have circulated the manifesto at the Leeds conferences.

  • Agreed that we would pursue our belief that what is needed is an open and pluralist dialogue across the youth sector. Sue and Pauline to propose a working group meeting in the afternoon of April 24 in London.

3.0 The Newcastle situation.

Inevitably, the momentum has slowed following the major rally and at this point people are reflecting on the next step. We have no further news on the campaign to support Don McDonald following his arrest.

4.0 The Unison launch of its young people strategy, April 24.

Sue Atkins and Malcolm Ball will be attending on behalf of the campaign.

5.0 The Institute of Youth Work – the ethics meetings, April 11 and 25th.

  • Our cautious response to the NYA overture to back the Institute was approved.

  • Sue Atkins and Malcolm Ball will be attending the April 25 meeting on ethics. As things stand no preparatory papers have been received. If possible, Tony Taylor to produce a brief paper focused on social justice as fundamentally political rather than an ethical question.

  • It will be interesting to see how the union response unfolds. Whilst the JNC staff side seem opposed, an article in Rapport softens the line, arguing for the potential of the Institute as a regulatory body.

6.0 The make-up of our steering group, constitution and democracy.

Agreed that the names of the new steering group should be published on the site; that further work be done on a simple constitution, and that we continue the experiment of using surveys to gauge opinion. Noted and welcomed that Paula Connaughton has now joined the steering group.

7.0. The second wave of Stories Workshops.

  • The Plymouth workshop is organised for early May, whilst negotiations are continuing with possibilities in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Sheffield.

  • We are pursuing with Limerick via Tania and Youth Voice a bid for European money to fund training with young youth workers around storytelling as a method of evaluation.

  • An embryo idea re collecting young people’s stories is to be further explored.

8.0 European developments.

Pauline Grace will continue to monitor developments on our behalf. Sadly the POYWE project has been stalled by a tragic accident to one of its key figures. We will continue to do our best to support this initiative. Pauline has also contributed to a conference in Lithuania on youth work and participatory research.

9.0 Dana Fusco, London event, June 19th

We need to confirm the venue – possibly the UNISON centre for an afternoon event. In terms of attracting students might we use the TAG newsletter.

10.0 Manchester University youth and community celebration event.

Bernard and Tania are liaising re an IDYW contribution.

11.0 Demand the Impossible, Leeds

Agreed that Diane Law and Graham Tiffany be approached to liaise with Ben Fraser, who is involved in this grass-roots initiative.

12.0 Politics and Ethics Autumn event.

Agreed that we should look to organise this event for the week beginning November 4th in Birmingham. We should check with Howard Sercombe and Sarah Banks as to their availability.

13.0 The Illusion of Outcomes

Agreed that Tony Taylor should prioritise finishing his paper as a stimulus to debate. Suggested that we think of organising a road-show of events, starting in Manchester in mid-June. Tony and Bernard Davies to pursue.

14.0 Curating for

Reported that the London/South-East group is taking responsibility for curating a page on youth and community work for the web site. More details to follow.


Sue Atkins, Malcolm Ball, Andy Brown, Paula Connaughton, Tania de St Croix, Bernard Davies, Pauline Grace, Susanna Hunter-Darch, Diane Law, Don MacDonald, Ann Marron, Chris Ward with Tony Taylor as co-ordinator.

In defence income and expenditure account