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Upcoming events relevant to youth work

After being postponed from this month due to venue problems, the Bi-annual History of youth and Community Conference is now going ahead on the 14-16th October 2011 in Northern College near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. This is the 6th conference of its kind and is organised by the editorial board of Youth & Policy.

…it will include a mix of plenary sessions, workshops and ‘surprise’ events. Amongst the plenary speakers will be Gillian Darley, the historian and author of the standard biography of Octavia Hill and the recently re-published Villages of Vision, on historical attempts to develop planned community; and the historian, author and adult educator Nigel Todd on the first 100 years of the Workers’ Education Association. To mark the 100th Centenary of the National Association of Girls’ Clubs (now UKYouth) there will be a symposium on the history of youth work with girls and young women.

At the heart of each conference are the workshops. As before some of these will focus on the historical development of practice in countries outside the UK. A feature of this conference is that around a third of those attending volunteer to deliver a workshop. This will we hope be once again a relaxed gathering of enthusiasts keen to talk to and learn from each other. Amongst the topics for which workshops have already been offered are pioneering girls’ clubs; village colleges and community schooling; Scouting; community education; Sunday Schools; the education and training of youth workers; the origins of the current crisis in youth work; Amelia Earhart; the Cutteslowe Wall, Oxford; and the history of the National Association of Girls’ Clubs.

The cost of the event is £215 for residential or £150 non-residential. You can get a booking form and further details by emailing

Youthwork Summit

11 March 2011 — 4 Comments

The 2010 Youthwork Summit

The Youthwork Summit is back for its second year! The website just went live and is giving more details about the event which has been teased for a couple of months. But first of all the essential details.

Dates: Friday 21st AND Saturday 22nd October 2011
Venue: Audacious City Church, Manchester
Cost: £25 for just the Summit on Saturday, £50 for the Summit AND the Friday Retreat.

So last year around 600 people turned up for a one-day conference in London that was organised differently to other events. A wide variety of speakers got just a few minutes to pitch an idea, story, theology or experience to the crowd who then discussed it, tweeted it, and argued about it. It proved to be a popular and fresh format with those who attended.

This year the same thing is happening, but it’s moving to Manchester and has added an optional early retreat day into the programme. Rather excitingly, the early day will be an Ignatian Retreat, or if you prefer, a day of prayer and reflection with Mark Yaconelli. As a summary:

In the 16th century Ignatius of Loyola began a journey seeking a deeper experience of God. He collected insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book ‘the Spiritual Exercises’, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written… As a youth worker, Mark developed the use of Ignatian practices with young people, and his book ‘Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with Young People’ has become a much-loved youth work classic.

For the Friday evening, there’s a few things planned including delegate-organised meet-ups and  a private screening of a yet-to-be-announced movie with a Q&A from a surprise guest (I’ve got some insider info here but can’t say…)!

The Saturday Summit will be a similar format to last year. As the organisers state:

Our dream is that, in a single day, we go on a journey together that has a profound impact on all of us. When you come to the Summit, you aren’t just a spectator, you become part of what’s happening. The interaction between us all is just as important as the input from speakers and the 2011 programme will reflect our commitment to do just that.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to last year’s event, so am determined to get to this one. Even though I live on the south coast, I’ll be making the trek up to Manchester because it’s such a good opportunity to meet and network with other workers, and the format lends itself well to dialogue.

Battle of the conferences?
As an aside, I’ve heard mention that the Summit is competition for Youthwork The Conference the long-running event which for the last 2 years has been based only in Eastbourne (previously it had a second venue in Southport). I’m not sure setting them against each other is a fair assessment of the situation. Personally I think there’s room for both events as they have a very different style and approach (and are now also geographically spaced out). I’ve already booked some spaces for Youthwork The Conference in November and will be encouraging my teams to go too. There’s a great range of seminars across a variety of relevant topics, there’s bigger “main sessions” with worship and keynote speakers, it’s also really accessible for part-time and volunteer youth workers, and it’s only an hour down the road from us!

My only complaint is that the two conferences are scheduled around the same time of year. If one were in May/June time it might make it easier for people to justify going to both.

Will I see you there?

Choose Youth

21 January 2011 — 2 Comments

If you live in the UK then you can’t have escaped the fact that many public services are either being axed or under threat of severe funding cuts. Sadly in the youth sector nearly every single service is facing hugely disproportionate cuts, with many services simply shutting down (mainly because they are not seen as a priority against things like health care and formal education).

Choose Youth is a campaign organised by the workers union Unite, to demonstrate against these damaging cuts. From the website

Britain’s youth service is world class. It’s far too good to lose. But nearly every project working with 13-18 year olds is at risk. It’s not too late to tell the decision makers that they’ve got their priorities wrong. Send them a clear message: a message that Youth Services Change Lives.

A national rally will be taking place in on 12 February in the Midlands. The event will show why these cuts are deeply damaging and unnecessary. Celebrities, entertainers and most importantly young people and their youth workers’ and organisations will be there.

If you’re concerned about these cuts, personally affected, know others who are, or simply want to stand up for young people’s opportunities, please go and support this event. To book a place online, visit (Please note that spaces are limited.)

In a related article for Children & Young People Now Doug Nicholls, national officer for Unite, writes about the history of the Youth Service in the UK:

Fifty years on: Lessons from the Albemarle report

Fifty years ago the Albemarle Committee’s recommendations on the youth service started to be implemented in England, leading to the introduction of the modern service. It was the first in the world and became an international model that is still emulated by many countries today.

The basis of the youth service was that society recognised that young people needed places of free association and fun to call their own. A youth-centre building programme began. It was recognised that trusted adults working in an entirely voluntary relationship with young people required professional training and nationally bargained terms and conditions. The Joint Negotiating Committee was born and professional youth work qualifications were introduced.

Albemarle went on to recognise that public funding was required for this service. It could no longer be left to faith, hope and charity. At a time of much higher national debt than we have now a programme of investment began. The essence of this investment was support for a partnership between local authorities and voluntary-sector providers to work together in the interests of young people and for services to the young to be democratically accountable.

Above all, it was recognised that the voluntary relationship with young people and youth workers was educational. Personal and social education was the objective. Young people would benefit from youth work on their own terms for the purpose of enjoyment and, ultimately, ethical growth and communal learning.

You can read the rest of the article here.

'Faith Street' by David Gallagher on Flickr

On 27th – 28th June 2011, Youth and Policy is sponsoring the third ‘Thinking Seriously’ conference looking at the theme of Young People and Faith: implications for youth working. I’ve been invited to participate to the event, and am already quite nervous about it! Here’s some more information:

Youth and Policy’s third ‘thinking seriously’ conference will explore recent research relating to young people and faith and consider its implications for practice. The conference offers an opportunity for colleagues from academia and practice to engage in open dialogue about research and practice relevant to work with young people around faith and religion.

The event will be a small residential gathering comprising scholarly papers, workshops and space for informal discussion and debate between participants. To encourage an atmosphere of mutual commitment to learning we are restricting the numbers to around 60 and encouraging all participants to make a commitment to attend for the whole of both days.

There will be four key papers including:

  • Sughra Ahmed (Policy Research Centre) whose research includes ‘Seen and Not Heard: Voices of Young British Muslims’;
  • Dr Phil Henry (University of Derby) a sociologist of religion working in the area of identity and difference and Director of the Multi-Faith Centre at the university;
  • Jasjit Singh (University of Leeds) a doctoral student researching the transmission of religion among young British Sikhs;
  • Jon Jolly (Arun Community Church) a Christian youth worker, writer and key thinker in the field.

The speakers have been asked to stimulate reflection and discussion of practice relating to young people and faith by drawing on the insights of their work and research interests.

We are inviting participants to offer practical or academic workshops which will foster debate and new thinking about young people and faith.

I’m not sure about being described as “a key thinker in the field” (unless I’m looking for my keys in an actual field), but it will a challenging and useful conference to try and better understand the broad nature of faith and young people in the UK.

You can find full details and booking information on the Youth and Policy website here. It is £205 for a residential place, but if you work in a faith-related role, it will be a worthwhile investment.


11 January 2011 — Leave a comment

YCML (youth, culture and mission lectures) are again running two days of lectures for youth workers who are interested in taking their theology and practice that little bit deeper.

About YCML

The youth, culture and mission lectures is a collaboration of three groups who all have a passion for young people and mission. The Sophia Network exists to connect women in youth work and ministry, to access training, develop skills and share wisdom. East to West is a charity of Compassion, Mercy and Justice reaching out to vulnerable and ‘at risk’ young people. The Diocese of Winchester covers the majority of Hampshire, an area of eastern Dorset and the Channel Islands, ministering to a population of 1.2 million. It has a significant rural ministry, with more than half of its parishes in rural areas. It also includes the urban areas of Andover, Basingstoke, Bournemouth and Southampton.

The Youth Culture and Mission Lectures are a response to the increasing numbers of youth workers studying youth ministry and theology at undergraduate or postgraduate level and the desire by so many to keep their heads in that field once they have graduated. The lectures provide an opportunity for people to pursue a deeper, theological and grounded understanding of youth, culture and mission, accessible to those who have already begun to explore the academic bedrocks of youth ministry as well as those who haven’t had the time to study and who are eager to take their thinking deeper.

About the 2011 Lectures

From the website:

We have chosen image to be the theme for this year’s lectures. We believe that young people are made in the image of God, but that we live in a culture whose influence readily distorts that image in them. We have three excellent lecturers who will each bring their perspective on this critical subject. Dr Crispin Fletcher-Louis is a lecturer at the Westminster Theological Centre and will be starting the day reflecting theologically on what it means for a young person to be created in the Image of God. Nigel Pimlott works for Frontier Youth Trust and is studying for a PhD; he will be exploring the subject of societal sin, asking why society has such a negative view of young people and exploring how that outworks in young people’s view of themselves. Rachel Gardner will complete our team of lecturers; she is the director of Romance Academy and will be exploring the very contemporary issue of the sexualisation of young people.

We are once again pleased to be offering two venues for this day of lectures, we are being hosted by King’s College, London on Tuesday 15 March and by the Leed’s Christian Institute on Wednesday 16 March. Tickets are £30, including lunch and refreshments and we are happy to offer a concessionary ticket for just £20.

Booking is available online at where you will find further details about the day as well as our blog.

I wasn’t able to attend last years lecture (much to my disappointment) so I’m keen to jump in on this one. See you in London?

In addition to the Youthwork Summit and Youthwork The Conference I mentioned previously, a few more youth ministry conferences have made their way onto my radar!

The Now and the Not Yet of Youth Ministry

What: First up is ‘The Now and the Not Yet of Youth Ministry’ training day run by New Wine. According to the website:

This is an interactive day looking at where youth ministry is going in our churches.

Dates and venue: The conference will be run in 2 locations simultaneously on the 16th October 2010.

  • St Paul’s Ealing, London. Hosted by Paul Unsworth (New Wine LSE Youth Co-ordinator)
  • All Saints’ Marple, Stockport. Hosted by Gavin Calver (YFC National Director) & Kizzy Darashah (Youth Worker, All Saints’ Marple)

Cost: £5
You can find out more about the event and book online here.

Bible Centred Youth Ministry Conference

What: Next up is the Bible Centred Youth Ministry Conference run by The Good Book Company. The conference theme is ‘Start to Finish’:

Join us for this action-packed, practical, hands-on conference that will connect you with the advice and principles you need to be a leader from start to finish. As we open up the Bible together, we’ll see what the Lord of youth and children’s work reveals about Himself, the future we look forward to, and the message we teach.

Dates and venue: Monday 24th – Thursday 27th January 2011 in High Leigh, Hertfordshire
Cost: £239 (on suite), £210 (standard accommodation)
You can download the flyer with loads more info here.

SoulNet Retreat

What: Finally, there is Soul Survivor‘s youth leader network annual retreat.

This will be one weekend where you hard working youth leaders can relax, worship God, hear teaching aimed at where you’re at and receive prayer and ministry. The programme is flexible so you can do as much or as little as you like. You can come with your family, colleagues or on your own and any which way there will be lots of chances to hang out and get to know new people.

Dates and venue: Friday 4th – Monday 7th February 2011 in Sherwood Forest Center Parcs
Cost: £125 (£110 if paid in full before 30/10/2010)
There’s lots more info here.

I hope these are all useful! Has anyone been to any of these events before? High points? Low points? let us know in the comments.

Youth Work Week 2010

20 September 2010 — Leave a comment

Other bloggers have already mentioned this, but the 1st-7th November is this year’s Youth Work Week organised by the NYA.

There’s a load of resources up on their website around the theme of “celebrating great youth work” with factsheets on various topics. Click here to go and have a read.

You can also join Youth Work Week on Facebook.

Upcoming Events

28 June 2010 — 1 Comment

A number of interesting events have hit the radar recently for Christian youth and schools workers in the UK. Click the links for more info on each one and maybe I’ll see you at one of them? Imagine Event

For Christians who visit and work in schools, this will be a unique opportunity to meet with others involved in schools work around the UK, resourced with new ideas and commissioned to go out and make a difference in the lives of thousands of children and young people throughout 2010 – 2011

When: Friday 10th September 2010, 10am-4pm
Where: Oasis Academy, Enfield
Click here for more info and to book.

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Youth Work Summit

A new 1-day event for this year hosted by Youthwork Magazine. Not many other details available yet.

When: Saturday 23rd October 2010
Where: St Mary’s, Bryanston Square, London
Click here to sign up for more info.

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Youthwork The Conference

The annual 3-day Youthwork conference, now run by Spring Harvest

When: Friday 19th – Sunday 21st November 2010
Where: Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
Click here for more info.

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SWAP Conference

SWAP is the annual National Schools Work Conference hosted by the Pais Project.

When: Tuesday 22nd – Thursday 24th February 2011.
Where: Life Church, Burnley
Click here for more info.

A live webcast featuring UK celebrities will be aired later this afternoon (Thursday 18 March) at 4pm GMT as part of a youth-led campaign to dispel negative perceptions of young people, while highlighting examples of youth leadership.

This epic online broadcast is the first of its kind, created by young people for young people. The teens behind the scenes will be interviewing stars from Lord Sugar to Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

There will also be appearances by A-listers such as Sir Michael Caine… star of hit TV series The Wire, Idris Elba… teen rap artist “Fugative”… and England footballer Gareth Barry, among others…

The Youth of Today Show aims to explore the lives of young people, dispelling negative stereotypes and showcasing the best of youth leadership.

You can watch the webcast live by heading over to at 4pm today.

If you’ve not yet heard about The Youth of Today campaign, you get lots of information from their website and can follow their progress on both Facebook and Twitter. The project aims to help young people make a positive difference to society. They offer:

  • Leadership roles – Giving young people power to act on the issues they care about.
  • Training – Providing young people with the skills they need to lead the way.
  • Networking – Allowing young people to collaborate with peers and those in power.

The project is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and managed by a range of organisations including The National Youth Agency (NYA), Changemakers, The Young Foundation, UK Youth Parliament, British Youth Council, the Prince’s Trust and the Citizenship Foundation.

For more information, visit The Youth of Today website.

After flicking through Google Reader earlier, I realised that I never posted about the upcoming Youth Work Online Unconference on 11th July. It’s called Connected Generation 2009 and will be held in the same Central London location as last years event. Best of all, it’s still FREE to attend!

UPDATE: After posting this, I realised that the event is now fully booked! Sorry to get your hopes up like that. Maybe try and get in earlier next year or host your own local event!

If your work involves young people, then understanding and engaging with social media and online technologies is a must. This event is an opportunity to explore big ideas, and practical realities of weaving the web into work with young people.
As an unConference, the exact programme is created on the day by the participants, who will convene conversations, provide demonstrates and share their insights. However, themes that are likely to be explored include:

  • Communicating with young people online – from promoting youth services and positive activities, through to hosting two-way dialogues with young people in online spaces.
  • Social networks & youth participation – how can Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and Ning be part of the participation workers toolbox? And how does social networking have the power to change the face of participation?
  • Digital inclusion for young people – making sure that all young people have the access to technology and the skills they need to get on in the digital age;
  • Practical action – how to make sure online engagement is based on safe-and-sound foundations; getting policies in place; and making sure the technology and staff skills are available to make the most of online engagement;
  • Hands-on learning – exploring different social media tools that you can use in your work, and sharing tips with other participants about the best way to use them;

More details are available over on Tim’s Blog, or you can register here.

Unfortunately, I can’t make it this year as we’re running Safeguarding Training for our summer volunteers that morning. I will be keeping a close eye on twitter though to see what the day brings!