10 ways to guarantee grant funding for youth work organisations 

Another year goes past, and I, not unlike a lot of other people and organisations are waiting for news back from funding applications made to charitable trusts to assure another year of existence. And i was wondering ‘is there any way to guarantee getting funding from grants?

Yes there are other creative ways of being funded as a charity, and having at least 4-6 funding streams is advisable. But I was wondering – what would be the sure fire ways of being a guarantee to get funding for faith based youthwork practice? Of course, there are some key things like being governed correctly, being transparent, having clear objectives, being original and sadly also being active in a certain area, and the correct research has been done, all of this surely is helpful.  But according to all the different applications for funding, and there are 1000’s, each has specific criteria – so what are some of the ways of being able to guarantee funding?

  1. Be the right kind of size. Some trusts want to give to a small charity, others a large one. So be just the ‘right’ size.
  2. Have the right kind of position in regard to faith. Not no position, or a proselytising position, but the ‘right’ position
  3. Be innovative neutral. Some funders want to fund the continuation of something, others want something new and innovative, so have the ‘right’ amount of innovation.
  4. Have a cupboard.  For all the equipment that you can easily get for funding. You can replace the staff you cant get funding for and their salaries, with the cupboard full of equipment that you can. Just put that cupboard in the middle of the youth centre.
  5. Be new and have experience at the same time. Trusts like that, yes new and experienced.
  6. Be in consultation with young people and allow them to direct the charity, but also have a 5 year plan and agreed outcomes.
  7. Have some reserves, but not too much that the trust doesnt think you dont need them, or too few that they think that you’re too desperate, but the right amount.
  8. Have the resources and skills to create your own policies and governance, but don’t be part of or branch of a larger organisation who can help to keep your costs down.
  9. Do the kind of work with young people from challenging backgrounds,  that is kind of unpredictable and chaotic, and do the work in a way that brings immediate results.
  10. Have an inclusively and openness and also is also targeted towards young people who have specific disadvantages or who can meet targets.

Once you’ve cracked all of this and written 1000’s of words in statements and forms, then and only then will you have funding guaranteed.  It’s best to avoid over ambition and dreaming from the outset of a project, but also to listening and building from and with local strengths and gifts. Trying to fit a project or methodology of practice to funding is the wrong way around. However it’s so tempting when other avenues are short, and the sums of money potentially large. I am sure there are other impossible contradictions and dichotomies in the world of grant applications. Feel free to add you own below…

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Federation of Detached youthwork conference 2016 (#fdyw16) A turn to community?

I could only make it to the second day of the Federation of Detached youthwork conference this year. And its three years since i went to the last one, my reflections of which are here: http://wp.me/p2Az40-3N. Then i wrote about the opportunity that was beginning to present itself for the non statutory organisations to fill the void that was about to emerge in the pending demise of youth services, and thus detached youthwork consequently.

What this made for, in 2013, was a conference that pooled together mainly statutory workers, who were fearing and facing the reality of a bleak future. Talks then, whilst helpful and practical, were often couched in a reality that there was only a bleak future ahead. Understandably, it felt like a community in a bit of crisis. One that didnt quite know what direction to turn in.

Fast forward, and still some of the issues remain that appeared at that conference three years ago, and these are worth reflecting on further, in terms of measurement, worth and value of detached youthwork – however the atmosphere was distinctly more optimistic.

It could be that only those who adapted and survived the cuts, and could afford to be at a scaled down conference were there- and so by nature were more positive. Alternatively it felt as though where a form of idealist protectionism had occupied detached (and probably) youthwork – that resources for its future have been accidently, or necessarily sought and are being found in order for the practice to be continued.

Either side of the workshop i led, there were three others, here is a quick summary of them.

Graeme Tiffany opened the day with a session on the space of the community as a source for learning. How individualised approaches, and targets have shifted not only the job role of the detached youthworker but also its identity. He argued that the where in the past detached youthworkers spent a while embedding themselves in the culture of a community – doing some kind of community profile, this data appears in the form of an externalised system – the system of data from police, schools – but not people, qualitative, opinions, attitudes. Learning from and about the community was what detached workers used to do. Graeme then helpful gave examples of community learning – how that when people ventured out and into proximity with others, and shared opinions, dreams and stories with others that this was a place where ideas and change occurred. Developing community learning created opportunities for community change.

Then there was my session, which looked at detached youthwork as a community endeavour, and asked questions of youth workers attitude towards the community , as the potential source of a young persons problems, o not just a resource, but also to identify its strengths. It i hope followed on from Graemes talk previously. If you would like a look at the powerpoint slides they are here: federation-of-detached-yw-talk  some fairly odd photos of me delivering it are here, as well as a quotation from Cormac Russell which silenced and moved the whole room:

 

After lunch a panel consisting of effectively 3 partnership/organisation managers convened. An insight that continues a theme is that approaches to developing partnerships in communities has become a theme, all of a sudden. When i say all of a sudden, it is that it appears that the statutory sector want to play in this game. Where if i was cruel to say it, the voluntary sectors had developed partnership working previously. Trust has been needed from community/voluntary workers to trust those in statutory positions now seeking to develop partnership. On reflection, the statutory sector, in a necessary way, has realized, not just theoretically, or when challenged in a conference by those from other sectors, that not only practice that is good is occuring and to be encouraged outside of the statutory sector, but that learning from it is also possible.

The final workshop i went to was from Tania de la Croix, who presented the findings from her Phd Research into youthwork – or at least managed to stimulate a few thoughtful conversations around the theme of how youthworkers are ‘Passionate’ about their practice – especially part time staff, yet that this passion leads to them taking paths of least resistance in their workplaces because they have the emotional passion and connection of the young people in mind when they make certain challenges, they may be open to emotional manipulation- in an emotional labour setting. Might youthworkers then opt into competing ideologies of practice – such as high outcome/measurement evaluations – in order that the practice can be maintained that they are emotionally invested in. This can then be manipulated by managers, should they be so coercive, or the ideology itself, she quoted from Stephen Ball who argues that The ideology of Neo-liberalism, ‘Neo-liberalises us’. Targets and forms are filled in, to keep roles and centres open, for people to build relationships with young people in a good way, yet the forms negatively affect the relationship. Funny that.

It felt as though the practice of detached youthwork had necessarily found sources of strength in practice, in itself, but also began to recognise the strengths in local communities, and develop community practice, partnerships and coalitions in order that the goodness that detached youthwork was said to be can be continued.

Good outcomes

Given the conversation that occurred during the panel session, and also afterward in a session run by Tania de la Croix on ‘Passion and resistance’ that centered around outcomes, commissioning and measurement (the theme i mentioned above), a few critical questions emerge, and are linked to the overall theme of the conference which was ‘ Is community back on the agenda for detached youthwork , or as i argued in my session How is detached youthwork a community practice endeavour?

Its a question of good outcomes. Or should i say, outcomes that supplement and complement practice that is for the common good. Yes it could be debated whether something good is something that can be measured, but if there is a desire for community education, community approaches for a young persons benefit – then might this at least be measured ?

So, Can the following be measured?

Learning – what have practitioners learned about the community they are in practice with?

What have detached youthworkers learned about the young people?

Strengths– What do we identify as the strengths of the young people whom we are working with, and how have i , as a worker, helped them to develop these and/or their weaknesses?

Collaboration and genuine capacity building: How are people in the community involved in the ongoing process of developing community practices?

Values and Virtues: Can virtues or values be measured, or can measurement be done in a way that reflects the intentions and values of youthwork practice?

I left the discussions with another thought; Maybe the only ‘good’ youthwork practice is now outside of the competitive funding market. And this includes even the charity sector which like DYFC (where i work) is reliant on charitable trust funding and thus playing measurement and outcome games with charity funders.  What if the best youthwork occurs when it is done by experienced people – but as they are all volunteers and not needing to comply with regaulations/funding or commissioning. Yes they may need other day jobs – but would it produce better, quality, relationship youthwork in local communities?  i wonder….

These may be community development questions, they may be Asset based questions, but if measurement within detached youthwork is here to stay, and often its practice and criteria emerges from centre based work, then as a practice that is intrinsically different, and seeking to have rootedness in local communities then as a Federation developing credible measurement tools & evaluation that can be adopted to reflect our own values and aims of community education and development approaches might be a next step. Otherwise detached youthwork continues to be adopting practices around ideologies, beliefs about young people and definitions of outcomes that are anthemic to its practice, ideals and values. Its easier to be passionate, moan and comply.

The Passion for detached work still remains and still shines bright, it is finding new avenues for collaborative working, and all in all its future is about asking how it is going to happen, not if.

 

13 details about a youthwork practice that are never requested in Funding Bids

I have been writing and sending off funding bids on a weekly basis for the last 4 months in my current role at Durham YFC, and before then was responsible for finding funding for the detached project i was working in in Perth, if memory serves me right i was applying for funding there for 2-3 years, so all in all, maybe i haven’t been involved in applying for funding that long in the grand scheme of things, but in a way it has been part of my role for about 60% of the time i have been involved in faith based youth work. Some of the recent grant holders make me laugh, or at least the expectations of what they require of a project or organisation to be able to provide.

There’s one particular funder whose maximum grant is £2,000 and it feels like they want the blood type of every young person reported in their forms, or at the very least, the blood type of the trustees, it is that demanding for a relatively small amount. There are funders who request that an outcome for young people is that they are in full time employment – Hello people? have they seen the unemployment figures for the North East – and how many people are queuing for jobs let alone young people. For others it is to justify a ‘faith’ position, or outcomes or targets, and we know that lots want innovation and experience – which is very difficult to navigate.

However, it got me thinking, having had to respond to 100’s of questions in funding forms and applications, what are the things that are never requested from the key funders to us as representatives of projects, organisations and youthworkers- and maybe we wish they would …., what if the funding forms had these questions instead ? :

  1. Please detail the experience and qualifications of the key workers. (it might be in some bids but ive rarely seen it)
  2. Tell us how you will enhance a young persons well being?
  3. Describe how young people will develop better relationships and values towards their local community?
  4. Tell us about the integrity and values that you try & adhere to?
  5. Describe how you might encourage the young people you work with to take political action seriously as part of their citizenship?
  6. Tell us how the time you spend in conversation and building supportive relationships with young people is worthwhile for them in and of itself?
  7. Describe how your work with only a small number of young people is valuable without finding the need to expand or increase its number, sell a franchise or disseminate this to other areas?
  8. Describe how you plan to increase and support the well being of the staff and volunteers as they deliver this emotionally challenging work with young people
  9. Describe how your project works and is good for the young people without it needing to identify increased school attendance, employment or even reduction in crime, smoking or drug use as part of this.
  10. Tell us about how your project helps young people discover a passion for music, philosophy, learning, sport, drama or history even though School has already expelled them.
  11. Please show us you have a track record in delivering work in this field without having to have large accounts, staffing or a £500,000 turnover.
  12. Tell us about the long term process and strategy of your work in the culture that you are in and we will fund it for 5 years. (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)
  13. Tell us about the young people you work with in a way that doesnt emphasise their needs, criminal behaviour, risk factors, postcode poverty and school attendance – what you as an organisation believe and think about young people is more important that the circumstance and life chances that their upbringing and societal barriers have given them. So – tell us about their gifts instead…

Im sure there are others, and it might be quite amusing to come up with a longer list of ‘things we’d like to have in funding bids, but there isnt a hope in hell right now’ list.  In the meantime, we have to fulfil rigid outcomes agendas, or targets, or comply with the ideology of government policy on young peoples destinations (if small organisations ever got anywhere close to government commissioned grants), and as funding from personal funding in some areas is on the wane, the funding bids just keep on coming.  We know what we dont like having to jump through hoops to get, but what would be the alternative questions of application?

So maybe if a few million pounds came my way and i could give it away to youthwork practice, these might be the kinds of questions, or non questions that id put on the application form.

 

I wish Jesus spent more time completing funding bids!

Image result for funding applications

 

Or for that matter other tasks that seem to pull on the day to day strings of the youth work organisation manager. Like trustee meetings. Or Payroll. Or Policies implementation. Or emails. Or publicity photos, Or liaising with churches and agencies. Or recruiting staff.

But Funding bids and finding funding in the youthwork organisation is what ive been doing for what seems ages now, in fact it has been all summer since June.

Finding funding is such a key aspect of youth work organisational life, of the management of youth work in organiations, as it affects staff security, performance, vision, and also the desire to want to invest in young people because without long term security it can make it humanly challenging to want to commit to a young person and invest in them in time, because its not great to feel that they might be let down.

But funding is only one aspect of Management in faith-based Youthwork, and is one of many aspects that it sometimes feels as though it is a role that is difficult to find direct correlation with the example and ministry of Jesus. Its not impossible. But it can at times seem that those involved in face to face practice have a wealth of Jesus orientated examples – given that Jesus was involved in many conversations with people in the gospels – and theres only scraps for the faith based youth work manager to theologically reflect, or reflect on. Ive written before about whether management is the appropriate term, and discipleship or supervision is better, and im not going to go over the same ground here.  (see other articles in the ‘youth work management’ category on this site, theres a link above)

The limited correlation is one reason for thinking about a discipline like Practical theology that can be helpful in adding another discipline into a theological reflection, when the Bible might not give an obvious answer to not just a complex situation, but also one that is befit of a contemporary issue.

When it comes to Money specifically Jesus has much to say, and the early church have much to learn and grasp – but what they have is a network channel of funding, so for example in Corinthians 16 v 1-4 there are pleas from Paul for the churches to provide to the ‘mother’ church in Jerusalem and obviously tithing, but in these cases the churches are supporting other churches. The aspect that changes this is that rarely does church see faith-based youthwork as another church – and merely a mission activity, and sometimes this means it can be well funded across a number of churches, on other occasions these organisations close because they get meagre rations even from large numbers of churches in an area.

It is difficult to read the Gospels and think at all that Jesus had issues with finances, with sustinence, with resources to enable his ministry to continue, and what he didnt seem to do was have the need to send off funding bids to charitable trusts.

In many ways there are clues to good management of the disciples by Jesus throughout the gospels – but maybe it just doesnt look like what we think management to be in the organisations, even churches, that exist in todays environment.

He did recruit those who fit the criteria he was looking for

He spent time educating them through conversation, and gave, no embodied examples

He listened to their gripes

He gave them opportunity to question (Peter usually)

He respected their weaknesses, but challenged them to be better

He was in contact with other groups – such as John the Baptists disciples

He knew of the ruling authority and how ministry was being thought of ( ie the beheading of John)

He knew of the resources available – peoples houses ( Peters mothers) – their ability to work and find food – ie Fish.

So maybe he didnt have to deal with a group of trustees – but im sure the suppers in the upper room might have got heated, and he didnt have to deal with policies – but the pharisees were trying to make him stick to the ‘Law’, and he knew there would be provision for the disciples, and it arrived from surprising sources, such as the boy with his lunch, from the crowds. But its not as if we hear that the disciples went without. Did he manage their resources, well it can be presumed. Maybe as they walked around Galilee they could pick off the fruit trees, and receive the hospitality of the stranger in the village, and they could gather the local produce from the market.

I find it far more difficult to reflect theologically on ‘faith-based youthwork management’ as it seems as though the pressures are from all sides, from local and national policies, from young people, parents and volunteers (or lack of) from staff, trustees and agencies- with varying degrees of expectation- not much of the tasks involved in management ever feel to me as if they are as theologically understood, or underpinned, and not that things have to be all the time.

Often it boils down to ‘how’ something is done, in a situational ethics kind of way, rather that what it is that is done.  And yes, i am aware that 1,000’s of people in all walks of life are performing roles that might not be anything like the roles Jesus performed, even those in the Clergy – how would Jesus do PCC meetings? or deal with the administrator who makes spelling errors in the pew sheet?’  Not everything is a straight copy- and actually we’re probably not meant to copy anyway, we’re meant to imitate. What Jesus needed to do in 1st century Galilee was appropriate for his time, so must we as managers in faith based organisations also try to act as appropriately in the situations were in. We manage well, by discipling people well.

Actually im glad Jesus didnt spend all his time in ministry writing funding bids. It would have made for the dullest gospel narrative, one littered with ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ and endless searches on the charity commission website.

Do youthworkers make the best youthwork managers?

This is a question that is now a valid one in both the faith and non faith sector of youthwork in the UK. It used to be that it was more likely that a manager in the council youthwork was educated as a youthworker, or trained as one, whereas, due to the newness of the academic side of things, managers of faith based youthwork were less likely to have had experience, or training in youth work – before they became a manager of a project, a programme or an organisation. But this is no doubt shifting. Whilst youth work degrees have become more popular in the ‘faith’ based side of youth work, then it would be expected that some reflection on the role as manager is done, in readiness of for the potential face to face and managerial aspects of the role.

In a way the former criticism was obvious, the youth worker could rightly accuse their manager of ‘not knowing what it was like’ to be a youth worker in a face to face role – not that the youth worker would know at that point what it was like to have to be a manager of youth workers either. But the criticism could be made, and easy at that.

The challenge for the youth workers as managers, and I am one of them, is that i know what its like to be on the receiving end of bad management (a good thing to learn from) – but i am also acutely aware of being subject to changes in an organisation that have disrupted the professionalism of the work and its integrity – because of decisions made about funding, funding streams that then affect the youthworker. When i say integrity, i mean in terms of the cornerstone values of youthwork for the youthworker in their interaction with young people.

Right now, for example, at Durham YFC, and almost every year, there is a challenge to find funding for the great projects that we do, such as mentoring work, detached and open access clubs. Now it might be a personality thing, or a believer in youthwork thing, that i find it difficult or have no desire at all, to affect one of the projects and thus one of our workers roles, just to be able to write or obtain funding. For me, as a former youthworker, am i more concerned that a piece of work is done well, and done in conversation and dialogue with the youthworker (as their manager) than just trying to fit their work into any impact shaped opportunity that a funder might provide. As a former youth worker i would hope that this adherence to values and its professionalism would make for a good reason that a former youth worker could be a manager of youth workers.

On the other hand, when funding might be more of a challenge- does this desire to do something in accordance with principles and values of youth work become a hindrance in the sustainability of a youth work organisation?  should i just play the funding game- be ruthless and keep the organisation going by applying here , there and everywhere – is the respect i would have for my staff that i manage, and the community/youth work values that they have (and i understand) just a hindrance.  Maybe understanding youth work, and its profession, causes me to be hesitant about playing such a funding game, Alternatively making a decision to value the integrity of the practice of good youthwork, done by youth workers in a particular situation is ruthless a decision enough.

It might be that as an organisation where good youth work exists it flaunts with survival in this current time, maybe it will keep its integrity and purpose intact to a point, without baying to funding that shifts its focus, this might be the consequence of a youth worker managing youth workers and the factors that affect their decision making. The first thing they might not think about is funding their own role, management roles, or organisational survival, but taking professional and practice integrity first, something that they know their workers also value too. Managing youthwork with community & youth work values might currently mean alot of tightrope walking…

 

Managing in Faith based Youthwork – Funding stress

I suffer from early onset funding stress. I confess. Its in the to do list in January 2016, find funding for January 2017, its in the to do list for June- start worrying.

Its probably from being involved and employed in the type of youthwork projects over the last five years that all require charitable giving, or grant funding to keep them, and thus my own employment going.

But i start to worry too early. Actually I probably get consumed by it. too consumed.

What i also do is try, probably legitimately, to reshape organisations and activities for an organisation as a response to the responses to the funding.

However, this doesn’t tend to work.  Because, generally the prevailing culture eats small youthwork organisation strategy for breakfast. Whether thats bigger organisation that holds power, cultures of generosity in churches, cultures of employment or education bodies, cultures of funding bodies and the restrictions on them. Change can be required, but not all change is necessary.

Adapting an organisation to these requires a small shift – educating or challenging the barriers in these cultures is huge.

The early onset funding stress can be an adrenalising factor, focusses the find, for example I sent off 4 funding bids three weeks ago. A real sense of purpose and sense of achievement to send them. And newsletters to churches, and new campaigns to give people ‘opportunities to give’, hey at least the work we do at DYFC should be inspiring enough shouldnt it… – well I guess no not always- depends on the prevailing culture yet again.

However, back to the point, worrying about funding is constant, and yes I know while i have a job i am in a privileged position and all that.

When is it too soon to worry? Maybe it’s never too soon when as a manager there are other peoples employments, livelihoods and welfare at stake also – this time, for example, its not just me, or not just me and my family that have this uncertainty to deal with.

For me, worrying about funding is worse when I don’t know the situation, having up to date figures, and access to the accounts, all helps to be able to make interpretations of the funding situation, i would hate it if i had no idea of the financial situation before it was too late, and if you’re in an organisation where the accounts, budgets and funding isnt made aware to you as a worker, then i would be questioning why and getting hold of it, especially if you also have managerial or funding responsibilities. Even if someone else does the fundraising, decision making and responsibillity lies with the managers. But even not as a manager id worry as the worker- because id want to know what the situation was – and start worrying too soon.

The problem with early onset funding stress, is that there is no immediate predictable cure.

Fundraising currently in the youthwork world for the small organisation is almost as unpredictable as last seasons premier league champions. Its an unpredictable art, for essentially art is what the youth worker perfoms, and it only when that art is appreciated, valued and sought after that people then pay for it. And, unless serious charging occurs, charities require those who value the art to contribute, rather than those who directly benefit- though in truth all do benefit in society.

Yet i know i have been guilty of not paying donations at ‘free’ museums.  Not appreciating the effort that goes into the performance of art.

Being real about the current situations, if the politics of situations is the prime reasons why youth workers leave posts ( especially in the faith sector) – then restrictions of funding contracts has got to be up there as a close second. Its part of the profession, part of maybe its character as it meanders under the radar, helping young people between the structures. And in that territory, funding doesn’t come easy, even for the well set up organised charity.

What does faith look like when funding stress starts to take hold? Faith

Faith that people who havent given will do so? faith that churches or charitable trusts will give , who might not have done in the past? faith that other employment opportunities will arise for employees who have been asked to leave? or yourself?

or is it faith to cope in and amongst it all and retain some kind of dignity and integrity?

Faith that God will provide over and above – which is a tough one to be at peace in at times.

 

Youthworker as sales rep?

Following the theme of Mark Smiths classic book “Youth work”, whereby he describes the aspects, and approaches of the roles that youth workers take; such as ‘redcoat’ (to entertain) or Educator (err to Educate). It has become apparent that being a sales person is now one of the key components, or if i’m more blunt, the essential criteria of being able to survive, and sustain in youthwork.

When i worked at EDF Energy in their call centre in Sunderland 15 years ago, the beast of door to door Gas & Electricity doorstep selling had started to wind down, given the huge numbers of issues caused by the sales, contracts and customers, yet even though i was on the customer incoming calls, or managing a team who were dealing with incoming calls, there was still an emphasis on encouraging customers to add extra products to their account, whether Gas, or Electricity ( in those days selling broadband or mobile phones was unheard of). The motivation to sell, increase customer base and products was very clear in the cut throat competitive world of post-nationalised Utility Company. And though i was glad of the bonus as the manager of a team who could improve their sales targets month by month ( it helped that theyd set their bar very low for the first year), selling wasnt something natural to me, and still isnt.

Nevertheless, one of the challenges that both Youthwork and Youth Ministry (to use the distinction) now face is the need to be able to compete in the new world of increased competition for funding, competition to be noticed as a brand, competition to impact-ful, competition for personal donations (amongst other charities), and so there is now the need more than ever for youthwork to be about selling; selling organisations, selling products & resources, selling events that raise money for brands/organisations, selling a programme (to young people), selling ourselves (as credible) or selling our time and skills to others, as individual consultants.

There may be many reasons for this, given now that lack of statutory funding for youthwork, and thus competition for funding, or more Part time/self employed/freelance roles in the profession.

Maybe convincing is a better word than selling, however there’s not a great deal of difference; because we should ask ourselves critical questions of the work/calling/ministry that we’re in,  if convincing or selling are part of the sustainability package. Especially if that involves convincing young  people to participate in expensive camps, not for their benefit/needs but so that it might break even. Or if we have to sell the state of poverty that young people are in so that it convinced funders to donate, or round up figures for attendance so that churches give, or encourage young people by paying them to participate in programmes. Should this trouble us as youthworkers, who are acting within a values base? It probably does, and so this is preaching to the converted, yet I’m personally troubled that this is a type of person or personality that youthworkers might have to take on to survive in this seeming competitive world. Its a place i feel uncomfortable, and that’s more than just a personal thing, its a values thing.

So, is Youthworker as Sales rep – something that we know is what youthworkers need to become, or have been for a while- and what are the ethical, philosophical challenges this might bring, given the pragmatic need for funding, or the organisational size to cope with the need for sales people to sell organisations, and people people to do the actual youthwork.

One day institutions will invest in youthworkers because they are good for the institution, and the person of the youthworker need to sell no more. Schools, other than the few in Scotland, will employ youthworkers, to do youthwork, as will churches, and hospitals are starting to. The philosophy and outworking of youthwork is good for people, good for communities and good for society. There, sales pitch over.

 

 

County Wide Ecumenicalism in Youth work

Given the assertion by Martin Saunders in this piece regarding the collapse of Kids Company, and the need for the church to occupy the spaces. (you can read it here)

And the oft said, and reasoned argument that working with young people does not necessarily mean that they come to a church, but at the same time resources in the local church seem to be very stretched, especially in rural areas.

This pioneers the way to think about financing the gap in working with young people from an ecumenical perspective, and i wonder – are there examples in the UK of the following?

a) a county wide partnership between 3 or more denominations which all actively fund, manage and resource youthwork?

b) Areas that have a collaborative intention for area workers ( ie DYO/ Methodist/ Baptist youth specialist etc)

c) A deliberate pooling of regional / interdenominational resource to enable town specific community youthwork to happen in the UK?

im not just talking about 4-5 churches in one town forming a partnership for a local worker, or a centre like a YFC/SU type centre, but where its a national/regional denominational resource thats in partnership across a county to fund/resource quality community/youthwork?

Where local churches are funding local centres this might only last a short while – unless workers are expected to generate their own funds/work voluntarily or seek grant funding. So if a solution is in unity/partnership/ecumenicalism, cant this start with regional youthwork focus?

What walls would need to be thinned to enable this to happen, for the sake of young people in communities, for community flourishing for faith to be explored in more areas?

Maybe its not pioneering for local projects to start, be developed so small that they start with church money, then need grant money- then both run out – but would it be pioneering for wall breaking, shared ecumenical resources to be put into and maintained for a region, so that good youthwork, emerging community, and faith is embedded across areas, and across denominations.

However, in my limited knowledge, or ignornace of this already happening, Please send me some good examples below.. thank you

would better ecumenical thinking and collegiate resourcing enable better youthwork on the ground?

 

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