Posted on: Friday 17 September 2021
A report published this week by The Interim Youth Work Board for Wales sets out recommendations identifying practical and achievable ways of creating a sustainable model for both the governance and delivery of youth work services in Wales - improving and maximising opportunities for all young people to access youth workservices and support.
The report shows that Youth work services clearly demonstrate their value, highlighting the significant difference that they make to the lives of young people every single day.
It also sets out the steps that need to be taken to ensure that effective youth work services are available to young people today and for future generations.
The Interim Youth Work Board for Wales was established and tasked by The Welsh Government to develop a sustainable delivery model for youth work services in Wales.
For the last three years it has worked with young people and the youth work sector to develop a set of recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider.
The 14 recommendations include: securing a future for youth work services in Wales by creating a clear and strong legislative basis; carrying out an independent review into the sufficiency, transparency, accountability and effectiveness of funding and expenditure on youth work services across Welsh Government, local authorities and voluntary organisations, in order to assess the delivery of outcomes and impact for young people; increasing the availability of youth work services through the medium of Welsh ; and the launch of a young person’s entitlement scheme. Full details provided here.
The report highlights the importance of youth work services as providers of critical support, safeguarding and help for young people when they need it the most.
This is in addition to offering young people opportunities, supporting them through significant developments in their lives, assisting them to understand their rights and encouraging them to develop as individuals.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Keith Towler, the Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board, said:
"We have seen during the pandemic just how vital youth work services in Wales are for the young people of Wales. Unfortunately, the legislative and funding base for youth work is weak and problematic. As a result, we have seen a steady decline in the availability of youth work services. Just imagine what youth work could achieve for young people in Wales if its foundational base was strong.
Our hope is that these recommendations will be implemented and that an action plan will be put in place to progress them.
It really is now all about change and delivery. That is going to require new ways of working. Change can be challenging but if we keep our focus on meeting the needs of young people in Wales the youth work sector will thrive.
The recommendations we outline here are achievable. We have established some real momentum for change and the young people of Wales deserve a youth work offer that meets their needs.”
It is clear that youth work services have much to offer the young people of Wales, the communities in which they live, as well as Welsh society more broadly.
To protect and develop them effectively for the young people of Wales it is essential to act now and secure the future of the sector by creating a sustainable model for its governance and delivery. In short, it is ‘time to deliver for young people in Wales’.
David Williams, Torfaen Youth Service Manager said, "This is a really significant moment for youth work and youth support services within Wales.
This report brings a sense of impetus and focus that will undoubtedly shape the delivery of youth work for years to come."