A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
Children and Young People Now’s online article under the headline ‘Decline of RYWUs….’ naturally put my fellow Regional Youth Work Units into a bit of a spin last week, implying that the diverse work they were delivering was dying away.
Indeed, all RYWUs are facing changing times, similar to that experienced by young people’s bodies generally.
However, Units continue to develop and deliver a broad range of work funded by an increasing variety of different funders including Legacy Trust, somewhereto_, public health and Big Lottery, to name just a few.
In Yorkshire and Humber the key change has been a reduction in our strategic support to all of the region’s 15 local authorities, and I can sadly no longer give a comprehensive overview of the region’s statutory provision as in the past.
In contrast, there has been an increase in support requests from the voluntary sector and from individual centres and projects.
Youth voice has been our key growth area and this saw the recent launch of Youth Voice Yorkshire & Humber (YVYH) as the region’s primary youth voice vehicle. YVYH is led by an elected steering group who drive and lead all of the work, and both the profile and reach is growing rapidly.
For example, just this week I heard that Yorkshire and Humber Directors of Children & Young People’s Services Group have invited the YVYH steering group to meet with them. The YVYH wrote to the DCSs after their successful regional Curriculum for Life (C4L) event in late June and asked for their support and for them to sign pledges of support for the C4Lcampaign. I am glad to see that regional DCSs are eager to meet and hear from young people on how they can help.
Regional campaigning for a Curriculum for Life has built up a real head of steam here in Yorkshire and Humber, and many pledges of support and petition signatures have been obtained, not to mention letters written to MPs.
There is also a wide range of development work taking place, from the piloting of a ‘Minding Minds’ quality award in York, to toolkits in Barnsley and Wakefield, and anti-bullying work in Doncaster.
A visit to the European Parliament in Brussels is also being planned for mid October with the YVYH steering group meeting with Rebecca Taylor MEP.
And we remain hopeful that an approach by the Department of Health may lead to the roll out of the region’s Young Carer’s Card scheme already running in eight of the region’s council areas.
Apart from youth voice we have just launched our autumn training programme which includes workshops on leadership, various new toolkits and Ambition Quality (AQ).
Our new website is in its final stages as is our leaflet and annual review, and developmental work is due to start on both the AQ and the Young Foundation’s outcomes.
So news of our decline is greatly exaggerated and I know this is certainly true of other Regional Youth Work Units, too.
Youth Work Unit – Yorkshire and the Humber