Solidarity with the launch of the Irish Youth Workers Association, March 14

We are pleased to publicise in solidarity the launch meeting of the Irish Youth Workers Association.

The Irish Youth Workers Association is proud to announce on Wednesday the 14th of March, IYWA will launch for membership.

📌 Get an overview and insight into IYWA
📌 Meet the committee
📌 Get involved with the discussion
📌 Network with other Youth Workers
📌 Sign up for more information on the day
📌 Q&A

Please spread the word to your youth work colleagues –  contact at


Greetings on International Workers Day

May Day greetings to all IDYW supporters and critics. In the words of the classic song, ‘Solidarity Forever.’

international workersday

Ta to

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one
For the Union makes us strong

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite 
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?  
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?  
For the union makes us strong

It is we who ploughed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘mid the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong 

All the world  that’s owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone 
We have laid the wide foundations, built it skyward stone by stone 
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own  
While the union makes us strong

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong

 In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousandfold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong.

Recreating a tradition of solidarity, assaulted by neoliberalism across the last four decades, is vital to the struggle for social justice and democracy, concepts supposedly at the heart of youth work.



New Year’s Resolutions and Greetings from Home and Abroad

Ahead of our own thoughts on the coming New Year it’s good to hear from James Ballantyne in Durham and Maureen Rodgers of the Australian-led Youth Work Network.

James offers for our perusal his top 15 resolutions for youth workers.

Into 2016: New Years resolutions for the Youthworker

I liked especially  numbers 4 and 14.

Restrict using theological or theoretical phrases as catch all terms that no one else knows, or dilute their meaning ( im thinking ‘Missio dei’. ‘Incarnational’, ‘person-centred’, Freirean’ ) even worse if you don’t know what they actually mean, or haven’t read up on them since college.

Treasure every moment and conversation you have with young people and find ways that make conversations happen, happen easily and happen on their terms.

Whilst Maureen speaking to the Network says,

Thanks for being part of this group and sharing your ideas, information and resources. I have found that many of us can work in isolation or can be so under pressure to meet targets that opportunities for networking don’t happen as often as they should.
We are stronger together!!!!

Australian 2016 Greetings

I’ll Ride With You : In Praise of Human Solidarity

In the wake of decades of ‘look after yourself’ individualism and the increasing fear of others, fuelled  by state and sectarian violence across the globe it is heartening to witness at the height of anxiety this Australian response to the Sydney cafe tragedy.

I'll ride with you


Sydney cafe: Australians say to Muslims “I’ll ride with you”

Solidarity on May First : We're All on This Together!

As I noted in the post Thatcherism and Youth Work key to the neo-liberal  political strategy is the assault on the very idea of collective solidarity. In the eyes of the ‘free marketeers’ we must become self-sufficient, ‘resilient’ individuals beholden to nobody but ourselves. Of course this is absurd. We are first and foremost social individuals dependent on each other in a myriad of ways. Thus on International Workers Day we need to remember that our social and political gains are a collective legacy and that without solidarity they can and indeed are being taken away from us. We need to renew that understanding of autonomy, which affirms, ‘ I can only be free if you are also free’. As youth workers we need to turn words into action. Our claim in the Framework of Ethics that we are committed to social justice means nothing unless our practice is rooted in a creative and collective struggle against injustice.

May Day Greetings – as the old slogan goes, ‘an injury to one is an injury to all!’ Never mind we’re all in this together………….


Following the Steering Group meeting on Monday, December 6 we are posting the following statement of support for the student and young people’s protests up and down the country. We are calling on youth and community workers to do everything they can to build a social movement, which seeks to defend and extend, amongst many other things, a democratic and emancipatory youth work practice.

Further signatures, comments and criticisms welcomed Please use the Comment facility at the top of the post.




We the undersigned support the young people and lecturers who have launched an inspiring opposition to this government’s assault on working and middle class futures, families and services. From our perspective and experience of youth and community work, we particularly oppose the attacks on young people, their families and on the public services we all need.

As well as the cuts in education, a serious and direct assault on the most vulnerable in Britain is now under way, accompanied by an attack on all critical thinking – whether in schools, colleges, higher education, youth, community or social services. The deep anger and hostility towards the cuts has centred on the massive tuition fee hikes in Higher Education and the lifelong debt these would impose on the next generation. However just as much attention needs to be paid to the scandalous withdrawal of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, which undermines ‘poorer’ working class students’ access to Further Education. These struggles are accompanied by a growing awareness of the Coalition’s philistine and market-driven understanding of what education means, symbolised by the end of funding to Social Science, Humanities and Arts subjects.

Alongside this, we should not underestimate the level of anger also felt in the communities we live and work in. Across the country anti-cuts groups are flourishing, coming together to establish links between local community campaigns and student activists and unions across the generations. This creative process is revealing a powerful appetite for critical conversations and protest planning.

We call on all who are involved in community and youth work to arrange gatherings in their unions, universities, workplaces, youth clubs or community groups to highlight the devastating impact the cuts will have in their own local areas. We must draw inspiration once again from young people organising resistance under their own steam, notably in Oxfordshire and Haringey and from youth organisations, such as Woodcraft Folk, whose commitment to the cause has been exemplary. Youth and community workers are well placed to provide the people they work with (students, young people, community groups) with the opportunity to learn more about how they will be affected and to express their concerns – enabling them to make their voices heard if they so choose and to organise themselves if they so wish.

We reject the idea promoted by government that the current crisis is caused by migrants, ‘work-shy’ people, young people harbouring unreasonable expectations of a university education and a job, benefit claimants, pensioners looking for a free bus-ride or trade unionists who want to defend their conditions. We see this crisis as the direct result of the greed and incompetence of bankers and others in the financial world, and of the collusion with them of the governments who left them virtually totally unregulated – and who are now asking these institutions to make minuscule contributions to rectifying the situation they created. Instead we are being offered the vacuous rhetoric of Cameron’s big society of compliant, wage-less volunteers and by-the-back-door privatisation of services crucial to people’s education, health and other areas of their lives.

Already, the police, politicians and some parts of the media are inventing new myths to alienate the public from the protestors by demonising young people, anyone who supports them or who rejects the government’s story that austerity measures are necessary and good. As many such demons are being constructed and many more will follow in an attempt to divide us, we want to draw attention to the brutal treatment of young people by the police at the student protests.

Just as critical thinking of the sort that is promoted through the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is under attack, so too is the sort of youth work that we strive to provide: a practice that is critical, democratic and emancipatory. This practice sees young people as citizens now, encouraging them to take their citizenship rights seriously and to imagine and organise collectively to help achieve the kind of world in which they wish to live.

Social movements of the past have shown that it is possible to defeat the attacks of a government upon its own people. Central to this is the need to win a war of ideas as a vital basis for developing collective resistance that goes beyond disconnected single-issue movements. The experience and expertise of youth and community workers, if we are bold enough, can make an important contribution to building the broad based social movement now required to defend the jobs and services that we all need and that this government, for ideological much more than economic reasons, is determined to destroy.

We are conscious that workers are feeling under threat at every turn, their options seeming limited. But all of us can do something, however small. The time has come for youth and community workers to stand up and be counted.

Susan Atkins, Malcolm Ball, Bernard Davies, Don Macdonald and Tony Taylor [ Steering Group of the In Defence of Youth Work Campaign]

Forgive the strange highlighting in the text – trying to sort this out!