Is the tide turning? Policy proposals for youth work: A discussion paper

In Defence of Youth Work (a campaign network which supports open access, association-based youth work based in communities), is hosting a series of discussion meetings aiming to inform political discussion ahead of a future General Election, under the title; ‘is the Tide Turning?’ There will be one at Manchester Metropolitan University, Brooks Building, Rm 1.22, on 6 November, 11am-1pm and all interested practitioners are invited to come along and join the students for the discussion.

It is likely that local authority youth services will have disappeared by 2020. Yet in the aftermath of the 2017 general election, there are renewed possibilities for state-supported open youth work. This discussion paper will argue that progressive, political parties, focused on the common good rather than private interest, should make an explicit commitment to open, universal, all year round youth work.

In order to put this commitment into practice, the following questions need further discussion:
● Should local authority youth services be reopened, or are there different ways that state-supported youth work can be organised?
● What principles should underpin the revival of open youth work?
● How can these changes be made feasible in terms of funding, infrastructure and staffing?

In Defence of Youth Work encourages you to discuss these questions informally and in organised groups, with young people, colleagues, students, friends, policy makers, decision makers, campaigners and activists. In Defence of Youth Work are conscious that their thinking relates most directly to youth work in England and Wales, but hope that its argument will have resonance for practitioners in Scotland and Northern Ireland. All feedback will be greatly valued.

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