Feathers Blog: Reflecting on Youth Work Week
As Youth Work Week draws to a close, we reflect on what Youth Work means for The Feathers Association, as we approach our 89th year of continuous service as a Youth & Community charity.
There is no doubt that many aspects of youth work have dramatically changed since our inception in 1934. An ever-growing online world, shifting trends and the small matter of a pandemic have accelerated the need for change in almost every walk of life.
Young People; our audience and beneficiaries are more often than not ahead of the curve, a 2021 study found that 91% of 15 & 16-year-olds actively use social media, a number that will only continue to grow. It is fair to say that Tech and social media now have an ever-tightening grip on the lives of our young people. By this very nature, Youth Work will always find itself at the forefront of change – How we best respond to that is vital in ensuring that we continue to be there for young people as they face the complex issues of the day, under the spotlight and pressures of our digital world.
When responding to the National Youth Agency’s s campaign this week to make ‘a promise for youth work’ we pondered – What exactly is Youth Work and how does it fit in today? Now, such a broad and impactful sector could never be justified in just one short answer. But, for those who are not fortunate enough to have first-hand experience of Youth Work, it is a legitimate and common question, that is in our best interest to answer effectively.
Looking back on our near 90 years of our history, there are clear and common themes that have survived each and every change, shining through to shape our modern Youth Work offer. In a complex world, the simplest answers are often the most effective and a sense of community stands out as by far the most consistent theme.
That desire for community, one that can never be truly matched by AI, or social media groups is what keeps young people coming back to Youth Hubs such as ours in Marylebone, week in and week out. Yes, the hook of a state-of-the-art music studio or a 4G football pitch helps get young people through the door and off of the streets – these facilities are vital and should never be taken for granted. However, it is ultimately the people; our passionate Youth Workers and the new friends made that build our community and make Youth Work what it is.
That strong foundation, provided by the familiarity and security of a community allows us to dig deeper and have more impactful and ultimately life-changing interactions that so many young people not only desperately need, but deserve.
Seeing the incredible collaboration and passion shown during Youth Work Week, can leave us in no doubt that Youth Work, now more than ever has a growing and fundamental role to play in the lives of young people in 21st century Britain. As The Feathers Association embarks on our renewed mission to do good for others and change lives, we look forward to growing and becoming part of new communities, right across the United Kingdom.
Keep an eye on our website for regular blogs, written by various members of our team, offering you a deeper insight into the wide-ranging work of The Feathers Association.
This Blog was written by Carl Redgrave, Feathers Association Marketing & Digital Manager.
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