This year’s theme

Youth services are vital to young people. At their most basic they provide a place for young people to go and something for them to do. But with the involvement of skilled youth workers they can be much more; contributing to young people’s social and emotional development, helping them feel more confident, understand themselves and other people, and become resilient, responsible citizens.

Over the past ten years youth services have undergone massive change. Swingeing cuts have reduced the local authority youth offer or in some cases destroyed it completely. An estimated £387m has been cut from youth service spending by local authorities in the last six years according to Unison, and cuts are still being announced.

Yet whilst youth services are taking a battering, the need for good youth work has not gone away. And despite huge uncertainty, dedicated, committed youth workers continue to deliver creative provision that has positive outcomes for young people.

Recent events have also focused politicians and policy makers on young people’s vulnerability to grooming and radicalisation, and the role of youth work in supporting vulnerable young people and reporting safeguarding concerns at an early stage is once again being discussed.

The theme of Youth Work Week 2017 is Youth Services – youth work for today and tomorrow.

NYA believes there is a clear role for youth work in local services that support young people.

We want to shine a light on the resilient youth work projects that have endured and celebrate the great work that continues. We want to showcase what best practice looks like and look at how youth work can shape future support services. We want to celebrate the structures and models that are working well to support young people today.