Why we need Youth Social Action projects this summer

In the next week or so and probably beyond we will be posting a range of blogs/articles tangling with the implications for young people and youth work of the COVID-19 crisis.

Abi Angus, Research Associate with the Centre for Education and Youth argues for the potential significance of Youth Social Action programmes in the coming period.

She begins:

Last week, we launched a report on summer schools, summarising the evidence base and highlighting some school leaders’ views on whether summer schools could support students after lockdown. Recently, I’ve been drawing from my experiences both as a youth worker and a researcher to consider whether Youth Social Action (YSA) programmes could be a useful format for summer learning.

I believe that YSA programmes run this summer could allow young people find solutions to community issues, as we deal with the impact of covid-19. In this blog, I set out what the evidence tells us about how to deliver a programme so that it creates meaningful change.

READ IN FULL AT Why we need Youth Social Action projects this summer

YSA Projects should be designed to bring young people together to create change while learning more about how to tackle systemic injustice

She concludes under PARTNERSHIPS

In order to deliver YSA projects across the whole country, partnerships will be key:

  • Youth services and teams already recruited to run NCS programmes this year should facilitate the bulk of delivery. Organisations with a track record of effective youth led YSA or engagement with so called ‘hard to reach’ groups should be prioritised to access funding and run programmes in their areas.
  • Youth workers who are furloughed and any teachers who wish to apply will be vital in providing skilled additional capacity – whether that’s through the leadership of groups, or by sharing their expertise in training for project staff.
  • As the NCS Trust are a national, centrally funded youth service provider, they have a responsibility for ensuring young people are supported post lockdown, especially over the summer holidays. Any central funding that may be unspent after cancellation of the NCS summer programme should be reallocated to organisations delivering YSA projects.
  • Young people access the programme through their schools, colleges and youth services. Teaching staff and youth workers know the young people they work with, and so can make sure that pupils’ support or safeguarding needs are flagged and identified to make this experience safe for everyone.
  • Local organisations can help young people access community members who might benefit from support. They can also provide insight that helps young people plan projects.
  • While staffing costs and resourcing should be covered by central funding, large funders and grants foundations could consider establishing pots of money with accessible application processes, that young people and their partner organisations can use to implement their projects in the community.

At the heart of my proposal is this: young people forming links with local organisations to create change that meets the needs of them and their communities.

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