December 2021: Teenage Voice

December 23 2021

Youth workers reunited

I was given the opportunity last month of attending the annual South Gloucestershire Youth Work Conference.

The event was led by the South Gloucestershire Youth Partnership, a collaboration of local groups, including organisations such as the Creative Youth Network, Southern Brooks and the YOU Foundation,
who all had a well-received presence.

The conference took place during the national Youth Work Week, allowing us in South Gloucestershire to be a part of something bigger, in celebrating our work, along with thousands of other youth organisations across the UK.

Of course the Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact and this was made clear within the conference. However, despite the immense difficulties faced, the sector took this in its stride, and was able to adapt. Momentous change was made to many young people’s lives, through new projects, developments, and programmes for young people, staff, and members of the local community. With the event also not taking place since 2019 due to restrictions, and measures in place to protect those attending, this year was particularly special for all involved.

There was so much on offer to attendees, with workshops on a range of topics, such as LGBTQ+ wellbeing, special educational needs, and knife-crime. Participants had the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, for the benefit of all of the young people that they work with. As well as this, a range of guests made appearances at the conference, such as the CEO of the Creative Youth Network (and 2021 Bristol mayoral candidate) Sandy Hore-Ruthven, as well as representatives from UK Youth, and our very own South Gloucestershire Youth Board. There were also some incredible performances from young people, most notably the wonderfully talented Chloe Russ, spoken word artist and finalist in the South Gloucestershire Has Got Talent contest.

 The partnership was nominated as a Youth Work Champion, along with nationwide organisations such as British Red Cross, and The Mix, with the efforts of the partnership also being recognised and endorsed by the National Youth Agency. 

From these learning opportunities, to enjoying such brilliant performances from our own young people, I think that it is fair to say that we truly were, and always will be, celebrating the Champions of Youth Work in South Gloucestershire. 

by George Townsend