A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
This week, Sharon Long from Partnership for Young London discusses the growing importance of collaborative working.
At a meeting recently, there was the ongoing debate around what is happening to voice and campaigning about young people’s issues.
The challenge to all of the people in the room was that voluntary sector organisations were so caught up in chasing and delivering contracts, that voice and influence were collectively being reduced on a day-to-day basis.
It’s a debate that we are all having in various forums and there are no simple off the shelf solution but the dialogue and challenge is vital.
From our perspective at Partnership for Young London, in times of ever diminishing resources, alliance building and working collaboratively is more vital than ever.
Our budgets are limited and funding infrastructure is not high on the agenda. In order to achieve anything – we need to create networks, alliances or partnerships where we can develop voice, and profile the issues affecting young people. This is even more pertinent with resources for campaigning on policy continually sliding down the agenda.
A cross sector approach
An effort to try and address this has been gathering momentum in London and it’s a cross sector approach in development.
Critically we want to ensure that funders, policy leads, statutory sector and voluntary sector partners to come together to look at the issues facing young people across the region.
Additionally, through bringing this group together we can develop regional intelligence that is informed, creative, collaborative and forward thinking.
To support this work, at Partnership for Young London, we are also looking at the various campaigns focusing on young people to see what is happening where.. There are no resources for duplication but what we do need is to target our efforts at mutual benefit with young people’s needs at the core
Leading the way…
The conversations, so far, are wide ranging and many areas are well known subjects to all of us, such as the economic case for early intervention. But a consistent issue for all of us relates to the need for regional leadership around services and support for young people and what this looks like for London in the 21st Century. We don’t claim to have all angles covered but we have to keep the conversation going and sustain it.
The environment for young people’s lives is fast moving and constantly changing, and we have to reflect this in how we shape services for the future.
Young people’s voices will be critical in this process and there are many ways through this network we can have this as our core focus, with links to funded groups, uniformed groups, youth services, among many others.
Sharon Long – Partnership for Young London