VYM believes that supporting and strengthening youth work practice is essential if it is to be recognised for the significant role it plays in young people’s development, especially excluded or marginalised young people who have less of a voice about matters that affect their lives. One way VYM has demonstrated this commitment is through its partnership work with Manchester Metropolitan University’s Youth & Community Faculty. This was evidenced in practice development workshops attracting youth workers from across the North West, and latterly in developing the Most Significant Change model of outcomes measurement, involving youth workers from Manchester’s voluntary sector.
VYM also supported the development of the Girlswork Network – a group of women youth workers from across the youth sector working with girls and young women, who develop awareness of this core strand of youth work practice, sharing resources and moving this agenda forward. Partly as a result of this VYM obtained some funding and support to redevelop a similar Boyswork Network and a programme of bursaries to promote and champion quality outcomes-focused grassroots boyswork activity across the city.
Like girlswork, a central tenet of youth work is youth participation. In keeping with our commitment to innovation and creativity, VYM attracted some funding from Awards for All and Lloyds Bank Foundation to establish a young people’s magazine project, which came to an end in February 2015, details of which can be found at Youth Participation Project – ‘The Big I Am’
Outcomes & Impact
VYM has been working closely with Manchester Metropolitan University and a team of dedicated youth workers from across the voluntary youth sector to trial the Most Significant Change technique – an impact demonstration tool based on case studies that reflect the voice of young people. There is extensive research on this technique online and it has been used by professionals in youth work and community development activity across the world. VYM believes that this tool has the best fit with youth work because of its potential to demonstrate qualitative outcomes. What’s more it is driven by the voice of young people and learning is derived from a reflective environment that ultimately informs future practice. A report on the recent trial will be published in Spring 2016.