Is the tide turning in Northampton?

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In Defence of Youth Work presents:

Is the
tide
turning?

Reimagining the future possibilities for youth work

A series of discussions based on IDYW’s paper on the
future of youth work in the light of the 2017 election
result.

  • Should local authority youth services be reopened, or are there different ways that state-supported youth work can be organised?
  • What principles should underpin the revival of open youth work?
  • How can these changes be made feasible in terms of funding, infrastructure and staffing?

Latest event in Northampton

Thursday 9th November, 6.30-8pm at Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA.

For more info/book a place, contact jodie.low@free2talkcic.org

The full discussion paper can be found here – Is the tide turning?

Beyond Brexit: The Impact of Leaving the EU on the Youth Work Sector

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A challenging piece from Annette and Sinéad on at least two levels.

  1. Our own ‘is the tide turning?’ discussion paper ignores Brexit. Why?
  2. They continue to suggest that many of us, despite our claim to be reimagining the future, are hampered by a fear of the unknown.

We should seek to address these criticisms in next month’s debates.

The UK having voted to leave the EU, Annette Coburn and Sinéad Gormally consider potential problems and possibilities for youth work within post-Brexit Britain, with a focus on Scotland in particular. They outline how youth work has reached a ‘tipping point’ in its evolution, where austerity measures have consistently undermined it. They examine the potential impact of the further loss of EU funding. Recognising that it is entirely uncharted territory, they assert that despite the inherent concerns, Brexit could also be a catalyst for re-imagining youth work as a creative and resistant practice within social and informal education.

Beyond Brexit: The Impact of Leaving the EU on the Youth Work Sector

IS THE TIDE TURNING? NEWS of REGIONAL EVENTS

Tide FlyerPlease circulate the above as a pdf  – Tide Flyer

We are pleased to say that there has been a positive response to the call for a range of events to debate our ‘is the tide turning?’ paper.

Specific contacts for more info re the above events are:

Brighton: adam@iyw.org.uk

Manchester: j.batsleer@mmu.ac.uk

Birmingham: j.grace@youthworkeurope.com

London: tan_dsc@yahoo.co.uk

Derby: n.down@derby.ac.uk

Some of these events have created their own flyers and I’ll post these during the week. In addition, more gatherings look likely in other parts of the country plus a number of institutions are building into their courses discussion on the paper. More news as soon as it is available.

It does look promising and we hope very much you will be able to participate in the debate.

 

 

Unite calls for youth affairs minister to coordinate policies for young people

Video of the presentation plus Q&A from yesterday’s fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference. Thanks to Nick Robinson

A call has been made for a youth affairs minister to coordinate services for young people across government by Unite, the country’s largest union. 

The demand for a minister with a seat in the cabinet will come in a new research report to be launched by the union at the Labour party conference on Sunday (24 September).

The need for a senior minister to knock heads together across Whitehall comes after a period which has seen youth and community services in England seriously eroded by the Tories’ austerity policies since 2010.

In the foreword to the report, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Alongside these devastating cuts, youth workers have simultaneously faced attacks on their very profession itself.

“The research findings confirm our fears that the imposition of austerity
measures have devastated the sector. Employers are engaged in a divide-and-rule exercise which feeds ‘a race to the bottom’ and increasingly imposed a ‘one size fits all’ culture on the sector.”

The key demand in the report is for a specific minister for youth affairs to be an advocate for young people in government. The role would straddle Whitehall departments and assess government policy on the aspirations and lives of young people.

This ministerial appointment should be accompanied by a statutory youth services bill that places new legal duties on local authorities to provide a professional youth service and consult young people on changes, such as cuts, closures and removal of services.

Unite national officer for community and youth workers Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “What this research identifies is the systematic erosion of youth services in England since 2010. This report is a blueprint for action and a key recommendation is the appointment of a cabinet-level youth affairs minister.

“He/she would have the ministerial clout to cut through across departments to ensure coherent and joined-up policies that benefit young people, often with serious personal problems, and the staff that provide those services.

“We strongly support the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers as the quality benchmark to maintain the pay and employment conditions, status and professionalism of youth workers in these challenging times.”

The report also contains the results of a snapshot survey which revealed that 55 per cent of youth workers had experienced change to the services that they deliver; with 73 per cent of those replying that these changes had a negative impact on the provision of services for young people.

The report Youth Work: Professionals Valued was launched at a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference entitled: Moving forward: Rebuilding Youth Services under a Labour Government in hall 4, Hilton Brighton Metropole on Sunday (24 September) at 16.00.

The Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and the Humber was commissioned in April 2017 by Unite to conduct this research. It was a direct response to an attempt by the Local Government Association (LGA) to remove the national collective bargaining agreement called the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers (JNC) in 2015-2016. 

Is the tide turning? A workshop template to help you be involved

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Suggested session format for discussion workshops based on the paper:
Is the tide turning? Policy proposals for youth work: A discussion paper.
In Defence of Youth Work, Summer 2017

In Defence of Youth Work created the ‘Is the Tide Turning?’ discussion paper in summer 2017 in order to encourage discussion around the potential revival of open youth work, particularly in the aftermath of the 2017 General Election.

We would like to encourage individuals and groups who read the paper to organise discussion workshops based on the paper to discuss its key tenets. We hope to gather feedback from these events to feed into our analysis of the responses to the paper and the way forward for open youth work. We will collate and analyse this feedback and share it widely including at our 2018 annual conference.

The session format suggestions below are intended as a template for those who want some guidance on how they might run such a workshop. Please don’t see them as a rigid formula but do organise your workshops and gather evidence in any form to send back to us.

We imagine that the workshops will be centred around the three questions that are contained within the summary (and perhaps also any sub-questions that emerge in initial discussions):

  • Should local authority youth services be reopened, or are there different ways that state-supported youth work can be organised?
  • What principles should underpin the revival of open youth work?
  • How can these changes be made feasible in terms of funding, infrastructure and staffing?

 

IDYW – Tide Turning workshop template– please visit and share the full proposal

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To repeat as per Monday’s post

A Provisional Timetable of Activity

We are looking to use the National Youth Work Week, November 6 – 12, as a point of reference, especially as its theme is:

Youth Services: youth work for today and tomorrow

Our hope is that a diversity of local and regional meetings will take place in and around this week, although not necessarily so. For the moment we are not envisaging an explicitly national event. Thus, from now, we are taking a two-pronged approach.

We are approaching specific people to act as organisers of regional gatherings.
We are hoping very much that this initiative will resonate with our readers/supporters and that you will feel moved to organise meetings at a local level, however small or large. To repeat, please feel free to get your act together as you think fit.

In some ways, our ‘Is the tide turning?’ initiative is a test of our collective energy and sense of purpose. We believe together we can rise to the challenge. We hope you agree.

The idea of an educated public’: ‘One can only think for oneself if one does not think by oneself’ [Alasdair McIntyre (1987)]

For more information and to let us know you are throwing your questioning hat into the ring of critical debate, contact isthetideturning@gmail.com

Standing up for being counted: The Centre For Youth Impact responds to Tony Taylor’s critique

 

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Photo from the March 16 conference pinched unashamedly from the CYI web site

 

A few weeks ago I linked to a piece I’d scribbled for the new look Youth & Policy – Treasuring, but not measuring: Personal and social development. I must confess to being pleased that the Centre for Youth Impact has felt moved to respond in a generous, yet inevitably critical way in a blog, jointly written by Bethia McNeil, Pippa Knott and Matt Hill, the Centre’s core team – Standing up for being counted: When treasuring is measuring, and why we might need a rethink. Within it, they seek to address the challenges found in the current dominant measurement framework and propose a rethink of the value of measurement in youth work.

The blog opens as follows:

Back in March this year, we hosted an event focused on measurement in personal and social development. We were really pleased to see Tony Taylor’s recent article in Youth and Policy, following up on the discussion, and agree that it would have been most beneficial had there been more time and space to explore the themes. Indeed, these themes are so vital that we felt moved to add our voice to Tony’s in this blog. Overall, we were struck at the many points where we agree with Tony’s forthright critique of the dominant paradigm in impact measurement, but there also remain some areas of fundamental disagreement – perhaps as might be expected in such a complex and contested area.

and comment:

We agree that it might be harder to ‘measure’ the impact of youth work than other more targeted or narrowly defined forms of work with young people – but, for us, this demands that we develop how we measure and understand what really counts about youth work, and via a process that enriches rather than undermines practice.

I hope very much you will find time to absorb their argument in full and, as they propose, join a crucial and continuing discussion.

For my part, I’d like to respond afresh, but for the moment I’m struck by the significance of the position they articulate part way through the blog.

Our stance is that measurement is a fundamentally human activity that is woven into every aspect of our lives, and which helps us make sense of the world around us.

Changing just one word in this sentence captures, at least for me, perhaps the essence of our differing perspectives.

‘Our stance is that judgement is a fundamentally human activity that is woven into every aspect of our lives, and which helps us make sense of the world around us.’

To put it another way, we make judgements all of the time in our daily lives, whilst we take measurements only when appropriate.

And the debate will certainly continue in a week’s time at The Centre for Youth Impact Gathering 2017: Shaping the future of impact measurement

taking place on 11 September 2017, 10:00 – 16:30 at Platform Islington, Hornsey Road Baths, 2 Tiltman Place, London N7 7EE.

I’m not sure if there are still places available, but visit the above link to find out. I’d love to be there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering the Battle of Lewisham and the involvement of youth and community workers

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It’s perhaps revealing that in the preparations for the demonstration and on the day itself local authority and voluntary sector youth and community workers, alongside young people, were to the fore. With all its tensions and contradictions, being involved was seen as the ABC of political education.  Forty years later, in working environments where talk of politics is seen at best as a distraction, at worst as a disciplinary issue, how many practitioners would see matters in the same way? Whilst circumstances have changed, racism remains at the heart of our present political turmoil and remains a burning issue in our work with young people.

 

Remembering the Battle of Lewisham 40 years on: Weekend of events 12-13 August

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This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham, when the Nazi National Front were blocked from marching between New Cross and Lewisham town centre. The first time a national NF march had been stopped from reaching its destination.

It is one of the most significant historical events in Lewisham’s history and for race relations in Britain. There is a weekend of events planned to commemorate this event.

Unite Against Fascism have organised a Commemorative March through Lewisham, Assemble 1pm, Clifton Rise, London, SE14 6JW. Event page: http://bit.ly/2hIWFHY
This will be followed by a Love Music Hate Racism event at New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Rd SE14 6AS. Hip hop artist Logic will be performing at the event. Event page: http://bit.ly/2sGWs90
Remembering the “Battle of Lewisham” community festival: Sunday 13th August

On Sunday 13th August Love Music Hate Racism, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Council and the Albany Theatre are running a community festival commemorating the “Battle of Lewisham”. The free event will include live music, screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, stalls, food and an evening gig.

The event will begin with the unveiling of a plaque 12.15pm Clifton Rise, London SE14 6JW followed by a festival at The Albany from 1 pm full details here.