Detached Youthwork - Learning from the Street

Reflections on Youth work, Mission & Church by James Ballantyne

Offering professional Supervision for youthworkers

Many Youthworkers complain that they are not sufficiently supervised by people who understand the complexity of the nature of youthwork, especially in the diverse situations that youthworkers find themselves, in schools, on the streets, in clubs and churches – dealing with ranges of issues such as mental health, sexual identity, power and injustice amongst young people. Sometimes they need someone who knows the profession to listen to them, ask questions and give them space to reflect and consider potential solutions, often over a coffee, but it neednt, the place can be somewhere comfortable to the youthworker.  Supervision is different to Line management. Its one thing that’s been decimated in importance in the cuts in youthwork, and only given a token gesture to ‘church’ based youthwork staff once they have completed any university course.

If you’re struggling to perform this role in your situation, or you are a youthworker that is need to have someone supervise them, from outside the church, agency or even denomination, then James could fulfil this role for you, to help the practice in your agency, and also the young people flourish.

After the experience of Supervising a number of youthwork students ( in Scotland) and also staff and students at Durham YFC, James, (who is JNC level 2 accredited) has also completed two youthwork supervision courses ( at Strathclyde and Durham Uni).

If you, as an organisation, church or agency would like to employ James as a consultant to provide external supervision to your Youth workers, contact James via email jamesballantyne1978@yahoo.co.uk, to have a conversation about this and arrange a schedule for the supervision.

Supervision can include one-to- one supervision with a worker, or group supervision with a team of staff/volunteers. It will include a written record of the sessions, and with the intention of enabling your youthwork staff to reflect, grow and seek solutions to the concerns about their practice that they may have.

Typically It will cost £30 per hour for one to one supervision with a voluntary sector agency, (£40/hr for statutory authority), and travel from Hartlepool at 45p per mile (or public transport if this is cheaper). Whole morning/afternoon sessions can be arranged at a negotiated price as can the cost of regular sessions over a period of time.

If this is something you might be interested in, please contact James at Jamesballantyne1978@yahoo.co.uk.

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