Just One Question - What kind of champions does youth work most need right now?
In celebration of Youth Work Week 2021, on 1 November we asked practitioners ‘what kind of champion does youth work need most right now?’ We heard from 72 respondents who could select as many options as they liked. The three most popular choices were central and local government, and young people. The most frequent open text response was youth workers, collective youth voice, and celebrities and others with influence.
The survey told us that 40% of respondents feel that the central or local government is the champion youth work needs most right now. Many respondents voiced their reasoning behind this feeling, for example:
‘“Though young people are one of the most important champions, government and local government tends to ignore their voice. We need champions at the top.”
In the ‘someone else’ comments, practitioners also noted the need for a cross-sector and inter-departmental approach to championing youth work.
A respondent commented on the need for collaboration: “All of the above, but adopting a collaborative and inclusive approach focused on the needs of young people”
Two respondents elaborated on the need for champions across different areas of government and across other sectors, to ensure the future sustainability of youth work in light of limited government funding:
“All of the above but in particular we need champions within the higher echelons of Government who can influence spending, strategic direction, etc. In addition to the list, I think we need educational champions to highlight the connections between formal and informal education, Police and Crime Commissioners, Commissioners in health to see the benefits of youth work on young people's mental and physical well being, etc.”
“NHS, Education/ schools/ Universities, opposition government - large trust funders etc
Without a full understanding of the impact of not funding youth work in the long term we will lose the pipeline of future youth and community workers and if central government is not investing in revenue funding streams for youth work then we will need a mixed economy from a wide range of supporters to champion the difference that youth work makes.”
Many respondents also spoke of the need for those with influence to champion youth work, with “celebrities and others with influence” specifically noted by several respondents in the open-text comments.
The least selected option was parents/carers, with only 9% of respondents choosing this option, with those selecting ‘parents/carers’ opting for youth workers as their second champion.
Thanks to all who took part in this survey! If you’ve got more thoughts, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the usual place (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the meantime, let us know your views on the latest #justonequestion.