IDYW February Mailing – Summary of What’s Bothering Us and What We’re Trying to Do!

Friends and supporters on the IDYW Mailing List will have seen this already, but it might be useful to other folk as a summary of  what’s bothering us and what we’re trying to do as we venture into 2015. If you want to be put on the Mailing List contact Tony at If I can get my act together I’m aiming at circulating this sort of summary every 6 – 8 weeks.

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We are experiencing a period of tumult and tension. On the European front, after decades of neo-liberal orthodoxy, the victory of Syriza in Greece poses whether a return to some form of left social democracy is possible? Not at all unrelated the pre-election debate in the UK poses whether the outcomes-led grip upon youth work is loosening and whether, as Doug Nicholls suggests, a renewed Youth Service can arise from the ruins? Or indeed whether, as Mark Smith and Tony Jeffs argue, the very idea of youth work needs to be thought through afresh.

In all of this IDYW aspires to play a part in catalysing both debate and action through the social media and through organising our own and  supporting a diversity of alternative events on the ground. Indeed it has been ventured that our site and Facebook page are the go-to places if you want to keep up on a daily and weekly basis with what’s happening in the ‘youth’ sector. In 2014 17,503 people from 144 countries visited the IDYW site and we have presently 1,745 followers on Facebook.



A Busy Week in early March

– Forgive us plugging first our own IDYW sixth national conference, Engaging with Difference, Finding Common Ground : Faith and Secular Youth Work to be held on Friday, March 13 in Leeds. Please circulate the info and book your places as soon as you can.

– It’s no accident that our conference is being held in tandem with Youth & Policy’s seventh History of Youth and Community conference, Friday evening, March 13 to Sunday, March 15 at Hinsley Hall, Leeds. Still a few places available.

– On Thursday, March 12 the Huddersfield University Youth and Community team is hosting one of our Story-Telling Workshops. Please contact Anne Poulain ( / 01484 478139) to book a place.

– On Tuesday, March 10 the Centre for Youth Impact in a welcome move is promoting in London an open debate on the outcomes-led approach and youth work, to which we have been invited to speak. Places are free, but probably limited.

– Last but not least the week sees two events celebrating Gus John’s challenging and critical contribution to education, youth work and the fight for social justice, Fifty Years of Struggle


In the pipeline

As part of our commitment to catalysing discussion we are hoping to be involved, funding allowing, in two other initiatives ahead of the General Election

– In partnership with the University of Birmingham two seminars exploring what we might mean by the demand for statutory service and tackling the question of ‘how might the money flow?’ – probably Birmingham and Manchester in early April. There is also the possibility of a research presentation in London.

– In late April we will be supporting Youth & Policy in the launch of a revised version of Bernard Davies’s much-used ‘Manifesto for Our Times’.



After months of hard work we are proud to announce the appearance of our web resource for workers, managers, tutors and students, Story-Telling in Youth Work. It will be formally launched at our national conference, but is available for your scrutiny and reflection now.

Whilst putting together this resource we have become aware of a wider community of researchers and workers committed to the significance of narrative in illuminating practice. For example, 

Anecdote and Story : Real and Pertinent Evidence and In Praise of Narrative.

And we continue to encourage you to Take Up the Offer of a Story-Telling Workshop in 2015



Look out for a thorough report on the differing strands of our involvement in Europe. For now just to say that through our partnership with the organisation, Professional Open Youth Work Europe [POYWE] we are contributing to a conference, Reflections on Expectations of Professional Open Youth Work, February 23 -25 in Rotterdam.


A SELECTION OF RECENT POSTS – apart from those linked to above

– In cooperation with Naomi Stanton and the YMCA College we are pleased to be serialising the new book, Innovation in Youth Work – see Innovation in Youth Work : Tony Jeffs asks ‘What sort of future for our work?’ and Innovation in Youth Work : Thinking Philosophically

– Amidst the tragic debacle in Rotherham a young person-centred, process-led youth work holds its head high

– NUS Day of Action on Youth Issues in Bolton : The Youth Service in danger of extinction

– Against or Beyond Male Role Models? Working with Boys and Young Men

 Charities told to keep quiet or lose government contracts 

– The Cuts : The Gravy Train – Cronyism and Incompetence in LA’s?

– A Muddy Mess : British Values, Extremism and Education

– LGBT School in Manchester? Setting the Record Straight

– Mind the Gap : Youth Work Combatting Gender-Related Violence

 Bernard Davies responds to the standardised Tory response on the Youth Service

– Preserving our Humanity as Youth Workers


Given everything that’s going on we hope we might meet in a critical exchange within the coming months. If not, we hope you will stay in touch with and indeed contribute to our activity via the web site, Facebook and even Twitter, where you can follow @indefenceyw. Your thoughts and criticisms welcomed.

If you don’t want to receive this mailing, simply let me know at and apologies for any irritation caused.


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