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September Reading List


This paper describes the process of co-designing and implementing a Youth Leadership Framework at Canteen, the Australian national organisation for young people living with cancer. The project brings together leadership, youth participation and positive youth development and consumer engagement theory into a practical project, where young people and staff co-designed and implemented a Youth Leadership Framework within a national not-for-profit youth cancer organisation.  

Staff and young people worked together to develop a framework, which includes a model of youth leadership, defined roles, a toolkit, and a suite of age-appropriate leadership development programmes. The framework expresses a clear vision for youth leadership and may be of use to organisations considering their own approach to youth voice, and further, the process undertaken by Canteen may inspire you to develop your approach through youth voice too – achieving a ‘double win’ of youth voice through youth voice! – Kaz, Director of Strategy and Learning 


Social Finance shares its ‘Routes to Scale Framework’, designed to support practitioners and leaders on how to understand, target, and plan towards impact at scale, and identify set goals to help measure progress. The Framework also offers clear building blocks to adopt when seeking to create widespread change, such as widespread delivery of new services and existing sectors adopting new ways of working. Social Finance contributes to the impact measurement sphere through sharing insights from their extensive experience spanning a decade, and the feedback of their diverse network, with contextual and real-life examples on creating lasting change that has positively impacted both people and society as a whole. – Soizic, Enterprise Development Manager 


This new piece, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, caught my eye. Written by Natasha Joshi, it reminds us that: "societal problems exist within systems, which are not static but inherently reflexive: the very act of intervention changes the system, which, in turn, requires interventions to change". But too often, the design and implementation of evaluation simply doesn't reflect this. Joshi advocates for framing evaluators as 'co-learners', who walk alongside the learning 'loops' of the intervention, and can therefore understand impact as both tangible and intangible, and both fast-emerging and slow. Further, all these elements are interconnected - they only exist because of each other. Joshi ends by suggesting some distinct 'forms' of impact, and some ways in which we might understand the wider impact of our work - including how funders might better support and recognise these distinct forms. – Bethia, CEO 


In this interesting blog for Fair Share of Women Leaders, Nafisa Ferdous and Jean Manney from the global agency for youth-led development Restless Development exchange thoughts on parallels between the feminist and youth-led movements, and what they can learn from each other. Nafisa and Jean discuss the contextual characteristics and experiences both movements share in their efforts to confront and disrupt power, whilst also acknowledging silos between young people and adults – no matter how intersectional some organisations may appear – that need breaking down further. They ruminate on the qualities of each, for example mentorship and collective power within feminist movements and building equitable structures and power-sharing in youth-led movements, and how these principles can be co-opted and work in tandem to ensure organisations build strong decision-making processes that ensures everyone gets a seat at the table.  – Hannah, Communications Manager 


I’m a big fan of Adrienne Maree Brown and, after listening to this recent podcast, this quote made me think about justice and how I can support people who stand outside of our systems: “where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with reclaiming our dignity, joy and liberation”. There are many parallels with the work we do at the College through sharing and applying tools for impact measurement where the end goal is to improve the quality of youth provision so young people can thrive and experience joy, be it at home, at school or in their wider communities. People are complex, systems are inherently complex and both require us to work collaboratively and build connections through partnership work to affect positive change. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! Partnership work is challenging and often messy but it’s essential. So, I’m always happy to discover there are ways we can share our experiences, learn from one another and embed the principles of human-centred design into our systems thinking. Take a look at this resource and upcoming events in October and sign up to join in the conversation. – Anna, Head of Engagement 


Youth Employment UK (YEUK) has just published the results of its 2022 Youth Voice Census, which, now in its fifth year, has broadened the age range from 14-24 to 11-30, to acknowledge the challenges young people are facing across ages and stages. This is YEUK’s annual temperature check; 4,083 young people responded, providing insight into the experiences young people are having in the systems around them, how they are doing right now, and how they are feeling about their future. The report has wonderful breadth and depth, and, for the first time, the quantitative census data has been supplemented by qualitative interviews from six locations across England. Whilst there is a lot to digest, there are some clear (and perhaps not unexpected) headlines around a deepening mental health emergency, the disadvantage of ‘difference’, and a lack of support for young people to prepare for their future. I’ll be delving deeply into this report over the next few days to as a resource to help me really understand what young people in the UK in 2022 are saying about life, study, work and their future more broadly. – Jo, Project Manager 


This article from Research in Practice has some great reflections on embedding evidence-informed working in social care and beyond, and is a great opportunity to learn from peers in the social care sector. In the blog, Sophie Christian (currently Organisational Development Consultant for Diversity and Inclusion at Wiltshire Council) provides some helpful and practical examples of how she has supported colleagues to use and apply resources and develop their evidence-informed practice over time. Christian shares a range of important considerations – from different methods of learning and disseminating resources, and tailoring content for different teams, to the importance of invested senior sponsorship, and monitoring engagement with resources, for example through online site visits. Simple but effective channels for sharing content, such as regular newsletter features and proactively bringing resources to forums and meetings, have also enabled Christian and her colleagues to support staff beyond social care teams; presenting a ‘one team’ organisation perspective, she reflects that "at the end of the day, we all work to support our community though our interaction with children and families. We found these evidence-based resources can be useful for customer services staff, librarians, refugee support teams, and so many more”. – Catherine, Organisational Learning Lead 


Abi Angus, from The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY), reflects on youth policy and practice, based on insights from CfEY projects, including their latest evaluation of a Trust for Developing Communities (TDC) project focusing on the impact of a new hospital youth work service. Abi shares five emerging ideas for youth work policy:  

  1. Improving the evidence base for programmes that authentically centre youth voice. Having a better understanding of how youth work ‘works’ from the perspectives of practitioners and young people is essential. This means embedding youth voice across all stages of the evaluation from the design of tools to disseminating findings.  

  1. Increasing the duration of youth work projects, as short timelines make developing voluntary trusting relationships challenging. Funding projects that ensure consistency of staff and available support is vital to effective youth work. 

  1. Increased flexibility in age ranges that can access support, having the potential and availability to build in a variety of support for young people to access adult-centric spaces.  

  1. Adopting a place and asset-based approach. The CfEY evaluation of the TDC project finds that ‘detached youth work can support young people to feel more part of their community’.  

  1. Funding open access youth work creates opportunities and space for young people to encounter different people, whilst enabling marginalised young people to be signposted to support they may not otherwise access. - Zunaira, Research and Projects Assistant