Sharing Youthwork Stories

Has a youthworker changed your life?  Whats your story and did a youthworker have an impact upon you, for a moment, for a long period of time or ongoing even now?

One of the projects that is ongoing right now by Bernard Davies and the IDYW campaign is to gather stories of change, of moments when lives have been changed because of youthwork, and gather stories, mostly in conjunction with current practitioners. Well, what about if you were a young person and benefitted from a youthworker?

Well, unfortunately, if you’re reading this as an adult, and once visited a youth club, chances are that youth club has now closed. Chances are that those youthworkers have been guided towards working with young people on specific programmes. The days of open youth clubs are almost over, unless that is if you encountered youthwork in the church or the voluntary sector. Some of these places for youthwork still remain, however, I wondered whether, if a youthworker had an impact on your life, helped to intervene, helped you to make decisions, gave you something positive, I wondered whether you would be prepared to share your story, share it so that in print, there are several moments recollected where the profession of youthwork has impacted positively on people growing up in the UK over the last 100 years.

So, if you’re now playing wembley stadium, because a youthworker believed in you to play or sing, or gave you space to practice, or if you’re following your dreams, or developed new gifts, or thought about something differently, met your life partner at a youth club, or changed your political view, or changed the world, whatever it was, believed in you, fought for you, heard your voice, would you be prepared to share your story of how this happened? and what the impact a youthworker had upon your life in that?  You can remain confidential if you want, or alternatively share your details so that you can encourage the youthworker that helped.

It would be fantastic to hear from people who attended youth clubs, met youthworkers on the streets, in drop-ins, or community centres, churches or somewhere else.

Over the course of the rest of the year from today, 1st March, would you be prepared to share your story here?  Theyll all be collated in the ‘Youthwork stories’ topic, and shared on this blog.

Contact me via email, or via the feedback form on this website. I promise to only share the story as you have written it, after all its your story.

Lets share the positive stories of youthwork in the UK and what it has done to change lives. If one day someone reads them they might retract all the policies that have decimated youthwork, and realise the good it did.

Who’s going first?


Author: James

Currently I work part time for both Frontier Youth Trust ( and Communities Together Durham ( and am also self employed and do various aspects of youthwork consultancy, including training, writing, lecturing, seminars and written pieces, including organisational consultancy, community profiling and detached/youthwork training. Please do get in touch if I can be of help to you in your church, project or organisation to develop your youth and community work. I have contributed to 'Here be Dragons (2013), and two recent articles in the youth and theology journal and 'ANVIL' the CMS online journal. My recent employment includes, working for FYT as a youthwork development adviser, being the centre director at Durham YFC, and before this I was known as 'Mr Sidewalk' as I was the project coordinator for the Sidewalk Project in Perth, where I facilitated the delivery of 5 years of detached youthwork on the streets, schools and communities to engage with young people , and support through alcohol misuse issues. In 2017 I completed an MA in Theology & Ministry at St John's College, Durham, and in 2008 graduated from ICC (now NTC Glasgow) with an honours degree in youth work with Applied theology.

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