A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
There’s tinsel and baubles aplenty in the RYWU-NE office, tinged with a good dollop of festive cheer in the air, but as we look ahead to 2013, it’s obvious that the outlook won’t be such a jolly one for other colleagues in the sector.
Government cuts continue to bite, with Newcastle City Council recently announcing plans to axe its play and youth services; close numerous libraries and leisure facilities, and cut all arts funding to local organisations as it looks to trim £90m from its budget. It is the season of good will and generosity though, which makes it more important than ever for us to pull together and stay positive. As we whirl towards the New Year, here’s a round-up of how the RYWU-NE ended 2012 and what we’ve got in the pipeline come January.
Young people sparkle at PoSBO Awards
The RYWU-NE stepped into its own magical winter wonderland earlier this month, with our Truth About Youth North East programme hosting its annual PoSBO Awards.
The awards, now in their third year, celebrate and recognise the hard work undertaken by young people in their local communities.
The ceremony was organised by a team of young people and was attended by over 150 guests, and it featured a Narnia-inspired walk-in wardrobe entrance, street lamps and Christmas trees.
There were eight awards handed out on the night, including Best Youth Project – awarded to Autism4Heroes, a group which gives young people the opportunity to raise public awareness of the condition. The Young Volunteer Award was won by 21-year-old Kristi Wylam, who has dedicated over 140 hours to volunteering and supporting families in their own homes. For a list of all the winners, see the RYWU-NE website or check out the photos on our Facebook page.
A hearty project
We’re excited by our newest venture, working for the British Heart Foundation. We’re developing training materials aimed at young people, to accompany a series of videos created by the Foundation on topics such as alcohol, drugs and living with heart disease in the family.
We’ll be looking at activities that workers could use to help reinforce the videos’ key messages and to also engage young people, plus we’ll be preparing guidance notes to help professionals with their delivery of the sessions. Look out for updates on the project in a future blog post.
A creative approach
Anna Spencer, a member of our NE-Generation team, has been busy supporting young people from a local school in working towards their Arts Awards. A national qualification – Arts Award supports young people to develop as artists and arts leaders. The award is a personal learning programme, which develops and assesses both arts-related and transferable skills, such as creativity, communication, planning and teamwork, and is open to young people aged 11-25.
The pupils have been participating in work experience visits to a variety of local creative organisations and are also planning to deliver their own creative project. At the start of December, they gained hands on experience in helping to set up an event called Enchanted Parks – an innovative after-dark arts experience which transforms Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a magical night-time winter wonderland.
The project is due to wrap up in March, with more exciting activities in the pipeline.
Youth work in the spotlight
Our North East Youth Work Awards are back! The awards, now in their second year, celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and contribution that youth services and individuals across the North East region have made to the youth sector. This year there are 10 award categories, from Youth Worker of the Year and Outstanding Contribution through to Best Youth Work Partnership and the Youth Arts/Culture Award.
In light of the challenges facing our sector at the moment, discussed earlier in this post, we think that this awards evening will help to showcase all the fantastic youth work that’s going on across the North East region, and it will give some extraordinary workers a much needed pat on the back for their hard work over the past 12 months.
For more information about the Awards, check out the RYWU-NE website.
With lots lined up in the New Year, we need some time to recuperate! And with the holidays in mind, we’d like to wish all our blog readers and colleagues across the sector all the best for 2013.
Regional Youth Work Unit – North East