Thirty years ago Youth Work aspired to a special relationship with young people. It wanted to meet young women and men on their terms. It claimed to be ‘on their side’. Three decades later Youth Work is close to abandoning this distinctive commitment. Today it accepts the State’s terms. It sides with the State’s agenda. – IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK
We see youth work as a distinctive educational practice founded on a voluntary relationship with young people and shaped by their agendas. That is why the way we work and our principles is important to us.
We work according to the principles of youth work and co-operation:
1. Young people choose whether and how to become involved with our groups and work.
2. Our work starts from the needs and wishes of young people in Hackney and all funding bids will reflect this.
3. We involve young people in taking action to improve their own lives and the lives of their communities;
4. We promote equality and challenge oppressive structures in society, institutions, groups and individuals, including in our own organisation.
5. We promote co-operative decision making in our own work, in our youth groups and in the communities where we work.
We have produced a booklet that tells you more about us and how we work. The booklet covers:
· What makes a good youth worker?
· Keeping young people safe from abuse
· What it means to be a co-op member or volunteer
· Volunteers’ agreement
· Co-op Members Agreement
· What it means to join VOY
· What equality and diversity means to us
· How we ensure everyone’s health and safety
Other organisations are welcome to borrow or adapt from this document, please just credit Voice of Youth, Hackney. The booklet can be downloaded from here.