Meet the finalists: Community-Based Youth Work

More often than not, youth workers are embedded in the community they work with, with an unmatched understanding of the needs, hopes and dreams of the young people they support as a result. No young person is an island, and our three finalists for this year's Community-Based Youth Work category are shining examples of what's possible when you truly understand not only the people you work with, but how they interact and fit in with their surroundings.


St Paul’s Youth Forum Staff Team

Stepping in to visit St Paul’s Youth Forum, you might hear the clanking of spanners on bike chains, the buzz of a live radio broadcast, the cheers from a goal being slotted home or the clucking of chickens – so diverse is the youth work offer in north east Glasgow!

Put simply, SPYF is an outstanding example of community-based youth work, youth-led at every turn, with community at its core. Young people make up 40% of the board, while SPYF’s remarkable staff retention rate means youth workers are embedded into the community and in tune to the needs of the young people they work with.

Blackhill’s status in the top 2% of the SIMD makes SPYF’s work all the more crucial, helping young people overcome the challenges of multiple deprivations, chaotic family lives and serious health issues. We hope SPYF stays at the beating heart of its community for years to come!

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Girvan Youth Trust Youth Work Team

As the only youth work provider in the Carrick area, Girvan Youth Trust is truly at the heart of its local community – never was this more readily apparent than during Covid-19, when youth workers spent Christmas Eve delivering festive goodie bags to over 250 local young people and their families.

Young people are front and centre of GYT’s services, playing a key role in evaluation to ensure services meet the needs and requirements of the community, not only providing positive role models for young people, but placing an emphasis on involving families as an extension of their youth work offer.

As one young person put it: “Girvan Youth Trust provide us with a safe space to get off the streets and engage in fun, worthwhile activities with supportive adult role models. It has made me feel more comfortable around groups of my peers and other young people.”

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North United Communities

With its multi-layered youth work services designed in partnership with young people and the wider community, North United Communities is as much a part of North Glasgow as tales of John Lambie’s touchline theatrics.

Having worked in Ruchill for over 20 years, in Wyndford for over 12 years and in Milton for 7 years, longevity and continuity of service are cornerstones of NUC’s success. Programmes vary widely, from educational workshops, drama, gardening and volunteering, right through to paddle boarding and rock climbing.

Partnerships with National Theatre of Scotland, Pinkston Paddle Centre and the Street Interactive Programme ensure young people have further opportunities to explore their development and gather new skills.

Participant Ryan James commented: “If it wasn’t for NUC I would never have done the drama group and realised acting’s what I want to do. NUC has been the best thing to ever happen to me.”

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