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Brighton and Hove celebrates Youth Work Week

Youth Space

Now in its 21st year, Youth Work Week provides an opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people to celebrate their achievements and the impact of their work.

For the third time and in association with the Commonwealth Secretariat Youth Work Week ( November 3rd to 9th) a truly international celebration is taking place. It brings together 54 countries across six continents. Last year saw more than a hundred events take place including youth forums, employment workshops, conferences, awards ceremonies and community events.

In Brighton, Youth Work Week was celebrated with a conference put together with the combined efforts of the Brighton and Hove Youth Collective, University of Brighton and Brighton and Hove City Councils Youth Services team.

This year, the aims were to highlight the role of youth work in supporting young people to develop but also to take the opportunity to bring staff together to review and assess Youth Services in Brighton and Hove today. There is a real need for shared learning about what is effecting the sector. The aims were to get everyone to think about how today’s world is impacting our young people emotionally and digitally and two workshops looked at this in depth.

Chris Parfitt Service Manager Youth & Communities at Brighton & Hove City Council said: “Youth Work isn’t teaching and it isn’t social work but it is very important that young people have a relationship with older people which is a non-power relationship but where they can receive guidance in a physical and emotional space to explore and work on what is going on in that young person’s life. Over the last 30 years Youth Work has changed a lot but its principals are the same, and as Youth Workers we need to make sure we are adapting too.”

The day’s workshops explored the use of Digital Media with young people and how it affected their day. Whilst wholly integral and important to embrace as a form of communication it was also recognised it can (also) be a cause of anxiety and stress in numerous ways, in particular bullying, permanent connection and fear of losing touch or being left out. With this in mind is was discussed & understood that emotional space needs to be used in Youth work to keep the balance, and that activities such as Mindfulness are of high value.

Ben Glazebrook – Lead Manager for Brighton and Hove Youth Collective said: “The two workshops on emotional space and digital space were very interesting because they came from completely different angles. We understand that both are important but it seems that having access to safe emotional space where young people can reflect and make new decisions is very important.

In conclusion Youth Work Week is a time to look at what is going on in the city. With limited resources, often the best results are being achieved through collaboration between all parties.

For more information about the work of youth workers in the city go to: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/children-and-education/youth-service