The Impact of Community-based Universal Youth Work in Scotland

YouthLink Scotland along with our partners, University of Edinburgh and Plymouth MARJON University have published a research report exploring The Impact of Community-based Universal Youth Work in Scotland. The study was commissioned by the Scottish Youth Work Research Steering Group, which YouthLink facilitates and which supports the implementation of the National Youth Work Strategy 2014-18. 

Work on the research study began in March 2017, after three youth work organisations were selected to become participants in the study.  Youth workers were trained in the Transformative Evaluation methodology and became Participant Researchers gathering the stories of 129 young people. The stories were contextualised by the Participant Researchers who added a youth worker commentary to each story. Between March 2017 and January 2018 the data was gathered, before being analysed by the Youth Work Managers from the three participating organisations alongside members of the research team from the University of Edinburgh and YouthLink Scotland. 

The research sought to answer two question:

1) What is the impact of community-based universal youth work in Scotland?

2) How has that impact been achieved?

The research report includes illustrative quotes from young people and youth workers which support the findings that youth work:

  • Positively impacts on young people’s confidence and friendship.
  • It provides opportunities to develop skills for life.
  • Develops the ability to get on well with others, to take the lead and to have an increased sense of responsibility. 

This is achieved by:

  • Youth workers being recognised by young people as trusted adults, who are invested in long term relationships with young people. 
  • Youth work taking place in safe, fun and inclusive environments.
  • Providing young people with access to new experiences and opportunities to participate in educational and leisure activities. 

The research has been published online, and a research seminar will take place in mid December for invited guests including research funders and partners. YouthLink Scotland would welcome opportunities to disseminate the research more widely and should you have any opportunities for this or have any question or comments about the research please contact Susan Hunter

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