Youth & Policy Manifesto for Youth Work Launch and In Defence of Youth Work Practitioner: Seminar, April 21

Bernard Davies and Tony Taylor peruse the Manifesto
Bernard Davies and Tony Taylor peruse the Manifesto

Youth & Policy Manifesto for Youth Work Launch and In Defence of Youth Work Practitioner Seminar

Tuesday 21st April 2015 at the School of Education, University of Birmingham

An event hosted by the University of Birmingham

This event brings together the two most prominent debates in the youth sector over the last decade regarding: • the defining features and processes of youth work practice; and • the need (or not) for statutory funding of youth services.

Ten years ago, Bernard Davies published Youth Work: A Manifesto for our times as an attempt to define and reaffirm commitment to voluntary, open access, and democratic youth work practice in the midst of increasingly individualised, authoritarian and targeted responses to young people. This text, among others, played an important role in stimulating and supporting efforts over the subsequent decade to sustain these approaches to practice despite hostile organisational and funding environments. This event sees the launch of a new manifesto, ten years on from the influential original piece to stimulate this debate anew. Since the financial crisis, and particularly following the Coalition Government’s first spending review, youth services have suffered rapid cuts to government spending. Throughout this period, there have been active campaigns including Choose Youth and those led by the NUS that have pointed out the damaging effects of cuts to services and to young people, and argued for a new, enforceable statutory duty to fund youth services.

The two goals of a restoration of statutory funding for youth services and of democratic forms of youth work are often assumed to be twin goals within the sector. Yet, there are good reasons to question whether these are mutually supportive aims. Historically, they have often diverged from one another. After all, it was in the financial context of annual above inflation increases in spending on youth work that the original Youth Work Manifesto was published, and in which the In Defence of Youth Work campaign was established.

This event creates a space for youth workers to explore this tension, and to debate the implications for future campaigning: • How should the core values and practices of youth work be promoted today? • What are the implications of a restoration of statutory funding for youth work? • Can statutory funding for youth services promote youth work? It will include the launch of Bernard Davies’ new manifesto for youth work, published by Youth & Policy. It will also include presentations from research evidence about statutory funding and its effects on practice, and provide space for discussion and debate.

Outline programme
10:00 – 10:30 am Registration
10:30 – 10:45 am Welcome and Introduction
10:45 – 1:00 pm
Launch of the manifesto including:
• Youth and Policy introductions
• Bernard Davies presents
• Small group discussion
• Refreshments (provided)
• Discussion / panel debate
1:00 – 2:00 pm Lunch (not provided)
2:00 – 3:30 pm
Statutory funding and youth work – practitioner seminar
• Introduction
• Presentation of evidence on effects of statutory funding in neoliberalism
• Discussion and feedback – the implications for campaigning
3:30 – 4:00 pm Refreshments (provided) and departure

Registration Information
Attendance is free. Please note, lunch is not provided as part of the event. To register your place,
email Naomi Stanton at:
The School of Education is in the main University of Birmingham Edgbaston Campus. Travel
information is available at:

PLEASE CIRCULATE THE FLYER – Manifesto for Youth Work Launch 


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