Against all the odds … youth work!

A number of new words have entered our Lexicon this year- ‘Covid-19’, ‘pivoting’, ‘furloughing’, ‘flattening the curve’, ‘hybrid working’, the list could go on and on and of course we have the name of a new variant to consider – last year’s DELTA is this year’s OMICRON – as we head into the festive season.

All of us have to some extent or another been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and changed and adapted how we live our lives because of it. The year has required considerable patience, resilience and fortitude from everyone.

As we approach the end of the year I just wanted to say a big massive thank you to all youth workers across Scotland for everything you do to provide high quality youth work experiences for young people.

If we were to reflect back on the calendar year it feels like every season required a different response. Throughout the year the sector has successfully pivoted and reoriented much of youth work’s ‘normal’ activity to meet the demands facing the country and its’ young people whether it be the summer of fun, digital and detached youth work, or returning to face-to-face delivery with public health guidelines in place.

None of this can be done without the willingness, energy and talent of the youth work sector who come together to make youth work ‘work’ for young people often in spite of the many barriers and obstacles in the way. Youth work - against all the odds!

I’m confident that we will continue to be resilient and resourceful as we meet the many challenges emerging for young people and the sector. Poverty, inequality, climate justice, racism, digital exclusion, learning loss, health and wellbeing and limited employment prospects, are just some of many challenges facing young people.

But there are opportunities also, as the world grapples with what a good and just recovery will look like and how we formally realise the rights and expectations of young people. Young people have clearly articulated the value they place on youth work and deserve a fully resourced and equipped youth work sector. I do hope that by 2022 we have co-produced a fit for purpose National Youth Work Strategy that will enable us to match those expectations. 

Tim Frew, CEO – YouthLink Scotland

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