Sustenance for the Senses 1 – Loss, Loneliness, Narrative and Youth Policy

This is the first of the single regular weekly posting ‘Sustenance for the Senses’ promised in yesterday’s news that I’ll only be working one day a week for IDYW – Tony Taylor denies doing an MA in Entrepreneurial Philanthropy and being headhunted for a CEO Third Sector job. 

As of now, the posting will appear on Tuesday as the site statistics indicate that the highest number of visits occur on this day. Why? I haven’t a clue.


Lost Ys London

An impressive, thoughtful and thorough briefing London’s Lost Youth Services 2018 [pdf] produced by Sian Berry, Green Party member of the London Assembly.

Since 2011, the cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in
London is now more than £145 million.




ta to


Opening Words by 42nd Street’s youth co-researchers [on what I think is an exceptional piece of work TT]
We became involved in the research to learn more about youth loneliness because we are passionate about giving young people a voice – as experts in our own lives. We knew intuitively from our own experiences and those of our friends and family that youth loneliness is a really important but far from understood issue; we knew that it was a complex issue, with a whole host of causes and even wider implications on young people’s lives.

Janet Batsleer (MMU), James Duggan (MMU), Sarah McNicol (MMU), Simone Spray (42nd Street)


  • Develop new ways of thinking and talking about youth loneliness, beyond medicalised discourses of epidemics and towards more expansive understandings of youth and more inclusive ways of belonging.
  • Arts-based and creative methods create spaces and relationships where young people can find connection and navigate painful forms of loneliness.
  • Restore threatened youth work provision and fund a plurality of options so that all young people have someone who knows and accepts them for who they are.
  • Re-imagine interventions beyond individual funded projects and towards commons spaces and social movements to bring into being more co-operative and convivial communities.
  • Youth-led social action is necessary to develop the practical and political change, benefiting youth participants and their peers.


Spring Policy and Practice Seminar Programme – FREE Registration Via this Link

The Association’s FREE national, collaborative ‘Policy and Practice’ seminar programme continues to expand, and we have been delighted with the response. Registrations have topped 200 delegates (52 academics; 107 practitioners; 57 students) across the seminar programme. The aim of these seminars is to foster greater levels of collaboration between higher education institutions and practice agencies in the profiling of challenges and opportunities facing youth and community work policy and practice across the UK. Follow the link above for a full listing, or the unique links for each event found below (please note the ‘post-strike’ revised dates for Glasgow and Dumfries):

  1. Friday 20th April (Worcester) ‘Youth and Community Work in Transition’

  1. Friday 4th May (Carmarthen) ‘Young People, Resilience and Wellbeing’

  1. Tuesday 15th May (Newport) ‘Young People, Resilience and Wellbeing’

  1. Wednesday 16th May (Glasgow) ‘Developing a Charter for Post-Brexit Youth and Community Work’

  1. Thursday 17th May (Belfast) ‘Revisiting the Value of Faith-based Youth Work’

  1. Tuesday 22nd May (London) ‘The Changing Context for Youth Work Practice’

  1. Thursday 24th May (Dumfries) ‘Developing a Charter for Post-Brexit Youth and Community Work’

  1. Friday 25th May (Derby) ‘Youth Work and Inter-Professional Practice’

Given IDYW’s emphasis on both narrative and critical practice we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy. We quite fancy making the launch, but you can’t have everything………



Story-Telling in Youth Work : Web Resource now on-line

Ta to Christianity Today

Ta to Christianity Today

Youth work story-telling: A resource for workers, managers, tutors and students

logo-idywThis resource brings together some of the learning from In Defence of Youth Work’s (IDYW) approach to youth work story-telling as this has evolved over the past three-years. From both the participant’s and the facilitator’s points of view, it considers how examples of practice have been narrated and analysed in workshops specifically designed for workers (including young volunteers), managers, students and their tutors.

It also focuses on the use of story-telling in a range of work settings: in face-to-face work with young people; as an aid to organisational change through staff training, supervision and monitoring; in the teaching and assessment of youth and community work students; and for project evaluation. Also included are some of the support materials developed by IDYW.

Far from this being offered as a finished ‘product’, the intention is to add to it as new learning emerges from IDYW’s and others’ story-telling activities. It is assumed anyway that practitioners will want to adapt the material to their own work situations. In doing so we hope it will help them clarify for themselves and their immediate colleagues what is distinctive about their practice as youth workers and how this has value for young people. We hope too that, at a moment when the very survival of youth work seems to be at risk, it will help them communicate these messages more effectively to policy-makers, funders and other key decision-makers.

Comments and suggestions for the inclusion of additional material should be sent to Bernard Davies ( or Colin Brent (

Story-Telling in Youth work flyer – Please circulate this one side flyer for our web resource to your contacts, pin on appropriate notice boards etc. Thanks in anticipation.

The Story-Telling web site can be accessed either by using the drop-down menu under  This is Youth Work : The Book or clicking on the link in the sidebar.


In Praise of Narrative across the wider world of research and practice

story telling 2

During the four plus years of our developing commitment to story-telling within youth work we have done so in splendid isolation. None of us close to our grass-roots project has been conscious of a wider world of research and practice, within which narrative is highly treasured. As I noted in the post, Anecdote and Story : Real and Pertinent Evidence, it is our discovery of Cath Sharp’s thoughts that has opened the sash on a diversity of story-based initiatives. Below you will find a couple of links that we would encourage you to explore. More to follow.


Produced by the Space Unlimited  group this pack of 10 stories, illuminated by an outline of the process via which the material has been collected, is striking in its similarity to our approach.

Space Unlimited has pioneered youth-led
enquiry as a catalyst to generate fresh
insights and trigger new action. Young
people see things differently, explore
problems imaginatively and aren’t afraid
to say what they think. Over the years, we
have supported groups of young people
to collaborate directly with statutory
and voluntary organisations and to share
responsibility for improving the places
in which they live and work. Stories have
become an integral part of our work.
Participants in our projects often use
stories to illustrate the way that better
relationships and different roles make
a real difference in our capacity to
transform our places. Stories are also a
key part of our approach to evaluation,
helping us to check whether and how we
are meeting our outcomes.


We’ve only just begun to explore ourselves the range of material to be found on this Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services site [IRISS]. And we are certainly getting in touch with these folk.

Welcome to Storybank from IRISS. We’ve developed this resource to support people involved in all aspects of health and social care to understand the potential benefits of storytelling, and to understand, gather and use stories where appropriate. Throughout, we are using the term ‘stories’ to refer to true, autobiographical descriptions of experiences and perceptions.

Storybank includes a range of resources, including:

  • An IRISS Insight which assesses the evidence around storytelling in health and social care
  • Links to a number of guides to storytelling to assist people who wish to gather or use stories
  • Links to existing single and collected stories, which have been categorised to help people to explore those most relevant to their field

Storybank is intended as a living resource, so please get in touch if you would like us to add any guides or stories.