Youth Development


What is Youth Work? Why do we bother? Does it have any real ‘value’?

Youth Work is: “a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation, and which complements their formal, academic, or vocational education and training; and is provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.”

So, Youth Work educates young people. It helps them make sense of the world they live in. It gives them the opportunity to explore and choose their own Values and begin to build their life.

Todays society is a difficult place to be young. There are many ‘confusing messages’ and there are still the ‘old chestnuts’ all people face as they grow up…

  • Sex
  • Drugs
  • Sexuality
  • Politics
  • Faith
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Family life
  • Community
  • Choices/Lack of choices
  • Identity
  • Relationships
  • Crime
  • Suicide…
and hundreds more, each one with the ability to enhance their life or impact it with potentially devastating consequences.

Youth Workers help young people to find a way through to discover their feelings on issues and develop plans to move forward with their lives. To help them discover the potential that lies with them all. Currently unemployment among 16-25 year olds is at epidemic levels.

Up to 25% in some areas. And of course the increase in the cost of Higher Education is placing barriers in the way of young people even thinking about attending university. There are young people aged 13 and 14 who are worried and concerned about what life is going to offer them past the age of 16!!! It’s a tough time to be a teenager.

Click the links to see some cool visual infographics of unemployment and youth unemployment:

 Youth in Revolt   UK Unemployment

youth_visage_01_lrYouth work offers young people safe spaces to explore their identity, experience decision-making, increase their confidence, develop inter-personal skills and think through the consequences of their actions. This leads to better informed choices, changes in activity and improved outcomes for young people.

Youth work is underpinned by a clear set of values. These include young people choosing to take part; starting with young people’s view of the world; treating young people with respect; seeking to develop young people’s skills and attitudes rather than remedy ‘problem behaviours’; helping young people develop stronger relationships and collective identities; respecting and valuing differences; and promoting the voice of young people. Youth work contributes to the government’s vision for young people – that they should enjoy happy, healthy and safe teenage years that prepare them well for adult life and enable them to reach their full potential.

The value of Youth Work is often seen at the end of the process. Happy, Confident Kids that become Competent, productive adults…The cost of not having good youth provision is often seen at the end of a process too! – Is there a Value – Absolutely!!

North Down Community Network sees the value in all communities being serviced with quality youth provision, and will endeavour to ensure that each community, and each section of our communities have access to high quality youth provision.

A copy of NDCN’s comprehensive and robust Safeguarding Policy is available on request.