A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
On Saturday 12 October, Convention 2 was hosted by Leeds Voice and Influence Team at the Civic Hall. Young representatives, youth councillors, MYPs and Children in Care Council or CICC reps from North Yorks, Doncaster, Hull and Calderdale came together for a packed agenda.
The ‘Make your Mark’ ballot, which has seen many MYPs and others working really hard to ensure that as many young people from the region as possible, got the chance to say what areas they would like to see debated and eventually have one chosen as the BYC national campaign for 2014.
YVYH were also aiming to smash the target of 50,000 ballots and were successful in doing so with over 58,000 ballots cast. And 13 individual reps succeeded in gaining over 1000 ballots. The region also has contenders for ‘Best LA’, ‘Best Youth Councillor’ and ‘Best Youth Council’, although it should be acknowledged that other regions have also smashed targets and achieved great results, too.
Elections were also held for the Procedures Group, Debate Lead at the House of Commons debate, and for the National Scrutiny Group.
There were ‘Curriculum for Life’ updates from York, Doncaster, Leeds and Barnsley, which included mental health and well being, anti-bullying, careers advice and PSHE teaching resources respectively. Nick Hudson, regional director of Ofsted spoke about PSHE in schools, and there was a large Question Time debate with Councillors from three local authorizes and a local MP, Nic Dakin.
It was evident that young people across the region are having a significant influence and are ensuring that young people’s voices are being heard on a range of issues.
On Monday the YVYH steering group, an elected group of 12 young people who lead and plan the work for YVYH, set off for the European Parliament; going first to London, then via Eurostar to Brussels for a three-day visit. They have been invited to make a presentation to MEPs, including Rebecca Taylor MEP, and will describe what they do and also highlight the significant achievements they have made over the last few years via their campaigning.
In 2010–11 they worked hard to raise awareness of the effectiveness of a Young Carer’s Card, a simple card which can nonetheless positively help young carers in schools. This has been adopted by eight of the regional local authorities and the Department of Health is considering how the scheme might be rolled out nationally.
In 2011-12 the campaign focused on bus transport and led to the introduction of various reduced fare schemes including Ride around for a Pound. It also saw the creation of a DVD to help bus drivers learn more about dealing with young passengers.
The current campaign has led to pilot activity surrounding the testing of mental health and anti-bullying awards, toolkits, and broader curriculum areas and YVYH has met with regional Ofsted, the PHSE association and regional Directors of Children’s Services as they have sought to make improvements.
The steering group members will no doubt have fun with tourist visits around Brussels, including being shown around the European parliament as well as a trip to a Belgian chocolate factory!
Closer to home
Back in the YWU, we have hosted a training session bringing together several of Y&H’s local authorities to look at the ‘This is Me’ toolkit developed as part of the Youth innovation funded work by Stockton Youth Service. The tool has proved useful in providing evidence of the effectiveness of youth work particularly open access, and measuring impact while also aiding the building of positive relationships between young people and workers.
I’ve also been able to use the session to encourage people to join the Institute of Youth Work following its recent launch. The Institute is a membership body and needs to quickly achieve a critical mass of both members and thereby funding to ensure its survival and I hope that all youth work personnel will join. Those local authorities who affiliate to the YWU’s work and those in membership will receive a discounted membership of the Institute. Given the lack of government support and funding for the youth work profession this is the best opportunity to champion, promote and protect youth work.
As I sign off this blog post – our refreshed website is now up and running, our new leaflet is at the printers and our report of activities is ready to send to YWU members as part of our annual reporting. We were very pleased to achieve a break-even financial position, to have achieved significant YV successes and to have maintained strategic support to regional youth work providers and I invite those wanting youth work and youth voice support in Y&H to get in touch!
Youth Work Unit – Yorkshire and the Humber
Autumn leaves photo credit: Kristian Kretschmann