Youth leadership

Nicola Harwood, Education Officer for The Youth of Today celebrates the Citizenship Foundation’s journey into new territory – youth leadership. Questioning how we can develop young people as leaders Nicola asks how we can engage the disengaged.

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

7 thoughts on “Youth leadership

  1. One of the first steps would be to not restrict the availability of funding to only ‘registered organisations’ – by doing so you limit the opportunities to be only available to those happy to work under the authority of others – hardly the characteristics of those who are “disengaged” with leadership potential!

    I’ll be extremely surprised if the opportunities thus far really are reaching beyond the ‘usual suspects’.

  2. Hi Mas, thanks for your comment. Completely understand about the challenge of reaching beyond the usual suspects. Though I do think one of the positives of The Youth of Today specifically is there is a strict eligibility check with all our opportunities to ensure we meet the right criteria in reaching the most disadvantaged. Most of the young people involved with the shadowing opps, or the Fellowship have come through youth services, connexions or through care – rather than being the usual member of the youth parliament.
    I do see your point with regards to the fund, and you will be pleased to hear it is more open now that they have to be either a registered charity or be a community organisation which hopefully ensure some of the smaller groups doing amazing things will be able to apply

  3. Hi Nicola – it is good to hear that efforts are being made and I understand well how difficult it is to make decisions as to whether and how to provide funding support to young people who are not involved with formal organisations.

    Perhaps it’s a little pedantic but I’d argue those involved with Connexions, Youth Services etc. are not necessarily disengaged in so far as they’re arguably more engaged with community and youth type activities than most other young people. That’s not to disregard the value of working with those easier to reach in order to access those who are less so but sometimes I think the terminologies in use are very loose.

  4. @Dheeraj Thanks glad to hear that you are so supportive of The Youth of Today’s work. Looking forward to discussing it further, and how you can link in with the Foundation with you in India – not long now!

    @Mas I do agree with you that reaching the ‘disengaged’ who feed into various services like Connexions are perhaps already ‘in the system’ and therefore not as necessarily the most disengaged.
    How we actually reach the young people who so far removed from the services that exist to support them is the real challenge. We are lucky within the consortium for The Youth of Today that The Princes Trust are helping us with this, as I do think they are really effective at reaching the truly disengaged. However any ways in which you think we could reach further are really appreciated – such a challenge for anyone working in the youth sector!

  5. @Nicola – I think by far the most effective approach is work through local adult volunteers, unfortunately it’s also the most involved and also increasingly difficult as issues of proffesionalisation, bureaucracy and checking put more & more people off working with young people voluntarily and independently.

    In terms of reaching out my view on doing so was something along the lines of:

    – using agencies to reach out to
    – practitioners to reach out to
    – adult volunteers to reach out to
    – young people to develop as leaders to reach out to
    – those young people not normally engaged in activities

    With of course the bulk of the work being done with those young people you work with to lead activities/projects that ultimately benefit those that are genuinely hard to reach (but not so hard for their mates)

    hope that makes some kind of sense!

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