In defence of youth work the view from the grass roots



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IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK
THE VIEW FROM THE GRASS ROOTS

Stories of youth work and its impact: in search of the evidence


  1. Why?

  • To gather evidence of youth work’s impact on young people’s lives and their communities.




  • To gather evidence of the impact of current policies, funding and styles of management on this practice.



  1. How?

By collecting and disseminating three kinds of ‘stories’:


  1. Young people’s accounts of the positive difference youth work can make to them, their lives and their communities.




  1. Youth workers’ and managers’ accounts of the positive difference youth work can make to young people, their lives and their communities.




  1. Youth workers’ and managers’ accounts of how current policy priorities and the way they are being implemented, monitored and evaluated are affecting youth work practice.

Gathering the stories: methods could include:




    1. Through the IDYW website and the Facebook site, putting out a call for:

  • young people’s own stories;

  • contributions from workers and managers, where appropriate using the attached prompts sheets.




    1. At regional meetings and via regional steering groups, making direct approaches for contributions from workers and managers, and via them from young people.


    1. To get more ‘longitudinal’ evidence, suggesting to workers and managers that through social networking sites they seek contact with young people they have worked with in the past to get retrospective ‘stories’ of youth work’s impact.





    1. Over the next year, asking the Training Agencies Group to run a workshop to encourage course tutors to support contributions from MA and other students.




    1. Asking researchers to offer relevant examples from their past research.

Contributors are encouraged to get their stories on paper in whatever form allows them to get started - ie in note or ‘bullet’ form as well as fuller narratives.



3. Getting the stories ready for dissemination
Young people’s stories

Other than to ensure anonymity and confidentiality, these would be disseminated unedited.


Workers’ and managers’ stories

Where appropriate these would be edited – for example to:




      1. ensure the material is accessible to a range of audiences;



      1. clarify the impact of the youth work practice on young people and the dilemmas and struggles involved in the practice;




      1. make the impact on youth work practice of current policies and styles of management as explicit as possible;



      1. ensure anonymity and confidentiality – for young people, workers, managers, organisations – while still giving writers credit where they would find this helpful.





  1. Getting the stories out

The provisional aim is to have a first collection of ‘stories’ ready for dissemination by (at the latest) the autumn of 2010 - in time for a recall national conference and a revived Youth Work Week. However, depending on what is sent in and how quickly, individual ‘stories’ could be disseminated once they have been agreed – for example:




  • because it is current - for example demonstrating how policy is squeezing the kinds of practice we are defending; or

  • because it presents a particularly powerful story of ‘impact’; or

  • because it may encourage others to contribute.

Dissemination of individual and/or collected stories could be through, for example:



      1. the IDYW website

      2. the IDYW facebook site

      3. links to and on other websites

      4. printed publication(s)

      5. talks and other kinds of presentations

      6. circulation of summaries to local and national policy-makers


5. The overall process

      1. Contributions to be sent in via:

  • the IDYW ‘Stories’ Forum;

  • the Facebook discussion page;

  • if there are issues of confidentiality and/or anonymity, to Bernard Davies directly (davies@vip.solis.co.uk) or via email to Tony Taylor



      1. Each contribution will be looked at by at least two members of the virtual ‘Stories’ group - to check them against the criteria outlined in 4. above and suggest changes where necessary to prepare it for dissemination.





      1. Contributions will then be returned to BD for any final editing etc and sent to the author for checking and approval - particularly for:

- anonymity/confidentiality;

- whether/how to credit the writer;

- where it can be published (on website, in print etc);

- other possible future or repeated uses.




      1. As appropriate, the ‘Stories’ group will consider for example:

  • whether and where to put out an individual story;

  • how to group stories into a collection;

  • the timing and best way(s) of disseminating this material.


IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK
YOUTH WORK’S IMPACT
Prompts for workers and managers for writing up stories– in all their complexity
[NB: not all the prompts will be relevant to every story]
Guideline number of words, to be applied flexibly: 500 – 1500,


  • In the context of a ‘Defence of Youth Work’ campaign, what was/is specially important for you about this ‘story’?

  • Who were the main actors, what were the key relationships in the story – including the significant positives and negatives of where these started from? Were members of the local community involved?

  • What were the story’s main events, stages, interactions etc? When did they happen, over what time frame?
  • What were the values underpinning this piece of work; its aims; its assumptions about how it should be done, etc?


  • What were the dilemmas and challenges posed by the work, including any ups and downs, its ‘one step-back-two-steps-forward’, etc?

  • What have the young people said/might they have said at the time about any of this, especially (in their own terms) about ‘impacts’?

  • What (if any) retrospective feedback on impact have young people given?

  • Including elements that were/are two-edged, ambiguous, etc - what were the impacts of the work on the young people and/or their communities as seen by:

  • the youth worker(s)?

  • manager(s)?

  • members of the community?

  • other agencies/organisations?

    • Did these various versions of ‘impact’ co-incided – and if not, how did they differ/conflict?

BDD


March 2010
IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK
HOW CURRENT POLICIES, FUNDING AND STYLES OF MANAGEMENT ARE CONSTRAINING YOUTH WORK PRACTICE
Prompts for workers and managers for writing up stories

[NB: not all the prompts will be relevant to every story]


Guideline number of words, to be applied flexibly: 500 – 1500,


  • In the context of a ‘Defence of Youth Work’ campaign, what was/is specially important for you about this ‘story’?

  • Who were the main actors, what were the key relationships in the story – including the significant positives and negatives of where these started from?

  • What were the story’s main events, stages, interactions etc? When did they happen, over what time frame?
  • What were the values underpinning the piece of work being described; its aims; its assumptions about how it would be done, etc?


  • What were the key features of the policies and funding regimes within which this piece of work of being carried out?

  • How did these support, how did they inhibit, the youth work practice – with what consequences for the outcomes as defined by:

    • young people?

    • youth worker(s)?

    • manager(s)?

    • members of the local community?

    • other agencies/organisations?

  • What were the key features of the way this work was managed?

  • How did these support, how did they inhibit the youth work practice - – with what consequences for the outcomes as defined by:

    • young people?

    • youth worker(s)?

    • manager(s)?

    • members of the local community?

    • other agencies/organisations?

BDD

March 2010







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