Globally; where does detached youth work happen? (plot yourself on the map)

Who goes out in the coldest weather? Does detached youthwork happen in america? Is any one doing detached in the UK at all?

Have you ever wondered any of these things? or do you think that you’re the only detached youthworkers in your whole country or country for that matter?

Even though much of the field of youthwork has taken a knock in the last 10 years, one reason or another, well austerity policies or another. And usually detached youthwork, historically, has been the hardest to be hit. It fell away in the 80’s when buildings needed replacing, and has nearly always played second fiddle to centre based work. However, this does not mean that detached youthwork is not happening across the UK, or across the world.

I thought it might be a good exercise to see where detached youth work is still happening around the world, it might encourage those of us who feel like it is shrinking in the UK, and also help all of us realise quite how extensive the practice is still. We might find out the answer to all these questions, and a whole lot more.

So, if you meet the following criteria, plot yourself on the following map

  • Your intention is to deliberately meet and connect with young people (under the age of 25) – and not the ‘whole population’ where young people may be part (ie street pastors, street pastors/angels/lights – you do a great job, but please do not add yourself to this map- thank you)
  • You do not have the sole intention of selling to or persuading young people to go to an event
  • You do/could take resources and materials with you, even as large as a bus, or a mobile resource, tent, games, etc
  • It tries to meet young people where theyre at, whether individuals or groups and have conversation with them, that they and you can voluntarily end.
  • The project and delivery happens in public places – parks, streets, outside schools, beaches, under railway bridges, somewhere public and to stay in the public place, unless young people negotiate otherwise.
  • It can be voluntary or done by paid youthworkers
  • It happens at least on 2 sessions per month basis.
  • It can be linked to faith or ‘non’ faith organisations
  • It can be one aspect of your role, ie if you do detached youthwork on two evenings, but other occasions are in schools or a centre. This is just to plot the detached youthwork, not the youth worker, and where detached youthwork takes place.

So, if you can sign up to pretty much these , then plot yourself on the map – link after the instructions:

Heres the instructions – please read

  1. On the left of the map (link below) you will see the different layers depending on the continent that you are in. Click on the continent that applies to you. Ie Europe or Australasia
  2. Then click on the ‘pin’ symbol which is the middle button below the search field
  3. Then zoom into the area your detached youthwork happens, and drop the pin.
  4. You can say who you are and the name of the project if you want to, but that is completely optional.
  5. Click Save
  6. Hopefully your pin is now featured in the layer for the continent that it occurs.
  7. EXIT the MAP. I mean it, it will crash if people stay in for too long watching the pins be uploaded.

Link to Map is here

So if you are doing detached youthwork, for a council, organisation, church please do put yourself on the map, so that we can build up a picture of all the detached youth work still happening across the world.

NB You do not have to name your council, project or centre, just pin where detached youthwork happens.

Likewise, do not pin all the streets that you go to, just ONE pin on ONE town/city/village that the detached youthwork happens. If you go to many villages, or areas over a wide spread, then do add one pin per location if at least 2 sessions a month occur there.

The map is for public view, so if you do not want to locate where your work happens specifically, make a pin on the council building or centre building from where you start/finish from.

I know that Dynamo International, represent and produce resources for detached youthwork across the globe, and produce some excellent materials (link in the blog roll also) , and the federation of detached youthwork in the UK have a whole load of resources, please do check them out.

Image result for detached youth work

Towards the end of 2018, there will be the federation of detached youthwork gathering in the UK, and I am hoping that by then I might be able to share some of the data from this map for interest, conversation and reflection. To give us all as detached youthworkers a sense of where things do happen.

There is more on detached youthwork via the menus on this site. Please do share this post, and map, to try and get as many areas, countries and continents covered as possible.

The work of this site is done for free, if you would like to make a contribution, you can do so via the menu above. Thank you.

Author: James

Currently I work part time for both Frontier Youth Trust ( and Communities Together Durham ( , though this blog is my own personal views. I 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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