Voice of Youth co-op looking for volunteers

Message from Tania de St Croix

Hello friends,
We need some new volunteers for our fantastic youth workers’ co-op in Hackney, London. We are writing to you because we think you might be interested yourself or know somebody who might be interested – if so, please see below, forward this email to anyone who might be interested, and put up the attached PDF or Word poster version if you have anywhere to put it. Ideally we would love to hear back before mid-August as we would like to organise a volunteer induction session before the autumn.
Thanks so much!


S.O.S. Voice of Youth!!!
Volunteers needed for youth work co-op in Hackney

Be part of something amazing!
No bosses, great mutually supportive team including local young people – experience genuine co-operative working!
We are looking for experienced youth workers who want to support our way of working…
… and for people who want to gain experience in open-access youth work!

Voice of Youth is a special organisation. We do things differently: we work cooperatively, our work is rooted in young people’s needs and wishes, and we avoid funding that involves meeting targets or defining young people as problems. We were set up in 2011 by local young people and youth workers. We are a committed group of volunteers, we have around 30 fantastic young people aged 8-18 taking part each week, and funding for a project using creative activities to get young people talking about social issues. But we need more volunteers to help us stay open!

Interested? You would need to be available all or most Wednesday evenings, 5:30-9:30 pm, term-time from Autumn 2017. Our work relies on trusting relationships with young people and within the staff team, so we ask you to commit to 6 to 12 months if at all possible. Have a look at our website to find out more about us: http://www.voice-of-youth.org

Still interested? Send us an email and we’ll have an informal chat and tell you more! Please contact tania1.voy@gmail.com or any VOY volunteers or youth workers you know, preferably by mid-August ‘17.

Who can be a VOY volunteer? Anyone aged 16+. We aim to reflect the community we work in, and we particularly welcome Black and Minority Ethnic applicants, local young people, and EVERYONE of ANY background who is keen to work with young people on their terms, valuing their views and perspectives. All volunteers need a DBS (criminal record) check – an unrelated criminal record is no problem, but please discuss this with us in advance. Travel expenses available, please ask for details.

Dissenting Thoughts on Youth Clubs, Volunteers and Professionalisation


ta to the jack petchey foundation

ta to the jack petchey foundation

Adding fuel to the burning embers of our pre-Xmas exchanges about the relationship between the voluntary and so-called statutory sectors, between volunteers and paid professionals here are two challenging blogs.

The first, courtesy of John, the opinionatednurse, asks ‘What’s a Youth Club?’.

It begins:

Some people are of the opinion that what happens in youth clubs isn’t “real” youth work. In fact it has been suggested to me (by someone hugely respected in the youth and community field) that youth clubs are “disgraceful representations of the archaic class structures of rural Ireland”. My very understanding of the purpose of youth work, and my own experience was questioned. Said person went on to insist that no volunteer has the right to say they do youth work

The notion that the dedicated and passionate volunteers who facilitate youth clubs have no “right” to say that what they do is youth work, or furthermore call themselves youth workers puzzles me. Many contest that the “right” to the title of youth worker is reserved for those who work in the field full time, others suggest that a degree in youth work is necessary to use the title. If we cannot decide on what exactly a youth worker is then how can some quite emphatically deny the title for those who volunteer in clubs?


The second, courtesy of Aaron Garth at Ultimate Youth Worker, muses ‘Is the professionalisation of our sector destroying the very foundation of youth work?’

Calling on the opinions of Dana Fusco and Gerry Fewster, Aaron concludes:

Neither of these professionals believe that youth workers should be less than highly professional. What they do argue is that by limiting the scope and practice of youth workers through managerialism and metrics whilst seeking to gain a better reputation is ludicrous.

Lets be more professional every day, but let us never give up that which makes us unique.
For my part I don’t buy into youth work’s uniqueness, I’ll settle for distinctiveness. However I agree that a serious debate about the consequences of the professionalisation imperative, the desire for a licence to practice, ought to be out in the open and not brushed aside as ‘reactionary’.