Youth Work Cuts, Bits & Pieces and a touch of Christmas Cheer


Head done in, as usual, so simply sending seasonal greetings to all our readers and supporters- Ta to Justin Wyllie for photo

It’s always difficult to know what and how much to post across the holidays period, particularly the Christmas and New Year festive season. Thus this will be the last post of 2017 and inevitably a mix of gloom and hope, of contradiction and tension. It does contain links to articles/reports and blogs that you might read over a warming drink on a dark winter’s night in Macclesfield or indeed a cooling beverage on the beach in Mozambique.

CYPN reports that Youth service cuts ‘deeper than predicted’Spending on youth services by local authorities last year fell by £42m more than initially predicted, government figures have revealed. Statistics published by the Department for Education show that total expenditure by local authorities on youth services in 2016/17 came to £447.5m. This is £41.99m less than the £489.5m councils had told the DfE they were intending to spend and a 15.2 per cent cut on actual spending in 2015/16 of £527.9m.Separate figures published in September for predicted, as opposed to actual, spending show that funding is set to fall further, with councils saying they intend to spend £415.8m on youth services in 2017/18.

I think some IDYW followers were involved in CIRCUIT, a national programme for 15– 25 year-olds, led by Tate and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. From 2013-17, ten galleries worked in partnership with youth organisations, aiming to create opportunities for a more diverse range of young people to engage with art in galleries and to steer their own learning. Circuit highlighted the importance of the arts and youth sectors working as allies to champion positive change for young people. A number of reports are now available at

The latest Youth & Policy article sees Gus John composing ‘a searing critique of policy in relation to youth violence – Youth Work and Apprehending Youth Violence. Gus focuses in particular on black young people and calls for a renewed role for youth work and education’. As he notes in the piece Gus trained as a youth worker in the late 1960s and was a practitioner and youth service manager for twenty years before becoming a director of education and leisure services. Significantly, he was one of only two directors of education / chief education officers who had attained that position through a youth work / social education route. See also Fifty Years of Struggle: Gus John at 70 and Reflections on the 1981 Moss Side ‘Riots’ : Gus John.

Mention of the National Citizen Service raises the hackles amongst many of our readers. Nevertheless, Graeme Tiffany, philosophical as ever, attended a recent seminar, ‘Next steps for the National Citizen Service and priorities for Character Education in England’. His incisive reflection on the experience is contained in his thoughts on meaning and value and observations such as ‘I remember Sheffield University’s Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Education, Wilf Carr once asking me: “why do we always ask what education is for, and never what education is?” This is fertile territory, and I suspect Wilf would have acknowledged the progress we made in our attempts to answer his question. Indeed, given the testimony of many at the conference, it seems reasonable to argue that education is implicitly about drawing out character, and particularly that related to good (and democratic) citizenship, perhaps even that it is implicitly philosophical too’.

There’s a lot more going on, but coverage will wait until the New Year. What’s the rush, even if we’re always rushing.


To close I recommend for your enjoyment James Ballantyne’s ‘Albermarleys were dead to begin with…’ A Youthwork Christmas carol in which Justine ‘Scrooge’ Greening is visited by Lady Albemarle, the NCS, followed by Jeffs and Smith, the outcome being that to this reader’s delight Tiny Tony Taylor didn’t die and grew up to be a youth worker.




In the Aftermath : Thoughts and Initiatives – Institute for Youth Work speaks out

IYW new

IDYW was involved as a ‘critical friend’ in the early stages of the setting up of the Institute for Youth Work [IYW]. Since then it’s been quiet on the IYW front. We’ve no idea of how many people have signed up to the project. However the organisation is stirring as it journeys towards independence . Its Council has issued the following statement.

Statement from IYW Council on the General Election 

The Institute for Youth Work (IYW) recognises the deep concerns that much of its membership has for the profession of youth work following the general election results last week.  

It is expected that as outlined in Friday’s Children and Young People Now Article further cuts to unprotected departmental and local authority spending will follow.  The continuation of cuts to Local Authority spending will see our profession challenged such as never before.   The Institute for Youth Work is  fully committed to the protection and promotion of the values of youth work and that together we will  engage with decision makers to ensure our profession  and the impact it produces receives the recognition it deserves.

The IYW supports the efforts of the Choose Youth campaign to gain statutory funding for youth work and would like to see services across all sectors protected from any further cuts in funding. . 

We recognise that there are many disillusioned colleagues presently who are looking for strong leadership, a strong voice and a strong message in the public arena.   The IYW seeks to be the professional home for youth workers and as a membership organisation will speak up on behalf of our members; so it is at this point we ask you to join us and spread our membership offer so that we may be stronger in developing our strategic voice and speaking out on behalf of our profession, supporting individuals and organisations to continue to develop and deliver their crucial services to the young people who need them

The IYW has been parented by the National Youth Agency through its inception but is now taking its first steps as an independently constituted organisation.  You will see changes and more activity from us over the coming months as we grow in strength and numbers with the ultimate aim of improving and supporting quality in youth work.

Adam Muirhead, Vice-chair, Institute for Youth Work