More than 140 youth workers gathered at Heartlands in Redruth last week for Cornwall’s second annual Youth Work Conference.
It was organised to coincide with Youth Work Week from November 6-12 and shone a light on the range of work taking place across our communities to help young people aged eight to 25.
It was also an opportunity to officially launch the Cornwall Youth Work Collective (CYWC), which jointly organised the event with Cornwall Council.
CYWC is a membership organisation that brings together all youth work providers in Cornwall offering benefits and rewards such as Cornwall Gold Standard for training.
Its goal is to achieve “effective collaboration across all sectors to ensure that children and young people in Cornwall are safe, happy, supported and have access to opportunities”.
Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Cornwall Council, said:
“I’m delighted that the second annual Youth Work Conference proved such a success and that youth work continues to move from strength to strength here in Cornwall.
“This work has a life-changing impact on our children and young people and I’m immensely proud of the collaborative effort, dedication and hard work of all of our youth workers who make this happen.”
Helena Webb, one of the event organisers and Early Help Service Manager at Cornwall Council, said:
“This year Youth Work Week focused on the breadth of youth work taking place across our communities, for example in youth centres, hospitals, outdoor activity centres, cultural spaces and so much more.
“It is so important that youth work continues to flourish in Cornwall as it makes such a difference to young people, providing them with somewhere to go, something fun to do, the chance to make new friends, learn new skills and receive the support of a trusted adult.
“In the wake of the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, it also offers much-needed emotional help to young people with more than eight out of 10 youth work organisations providing mental health support.”
At the Cornwall Youth Work Conference delegates listened to case studies and took part in workshops on topics such as safeguarding, trauma-informed working, and helping young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The conference also heard from Justin Watson, chief executive officer of the Young People’s Foundation (YPF) Trust, who has supported the development of a Cornwall Youth Work Collective.
During the week, CYWC announced that funding has been secured from The National Lottery through the National Youth Agency as part of the national Routes to Community Success programme.
The programme covers four areas of England and aims to:
- Employ Young Ambassadors to identify existing youth work provision in their local area
- Train Young Ambassadors to understand the principles of good youth work
- Support Young Ambassadors to consult with young people accessing youth provision to identify their needs and gaps in youth work provision
- Use this information to create a plan for the development of more provision
The CYWC has employed a part-time worker to lead on this work in Cornwall.
Cllr Ellenbroek, who represents Redruth South, added:
“It is fantastic news that the Cornwall Youth Work Collective has secured this funding to help provide even more top quality provision and opportunities for our children and young people.
“It is one of the council’s priorities to make Cornwall a brilliant place to be a child and grow up and CYWC, and all of its members, play a vital role in making this happen.”