Journeying together
Growing youth work and youth workers in local communities
Edited by Alan Rogers & Mark K Smith

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This accessible text explores a way of working - pioneered and developed over 22 years in a UK-wide initiative - to grow youth work by supporting individuals to train professionally, while working in community-based organizations... and, through this investment in people, to create a lasting impact within communities.

Grounded in workers' personal experiences, as well as in relevant theory, it will encourage anyone who is working - directly or in partnership - with young people to look at, and develop, their own ways of working in communities. The ten chapters:
  • include personal stories and examples
  • explore the experiences of community-based organizations, volunteers, part-time and full-time workers
  • provide questions for both non-specialists and experts to consider.

  • Journeying Together shows how demonstrating trust in young people, valuing them, and acknowledging their rights and responsibilities enable us to involve them in community concerns. It is founded on the belief that there is good in us all. This is the starting point that makes change possible, and is backed up by the view that:
  • young people are members of communities - now, not at some point in the future
  • their voices must be heard, for the benefit of all
  • there are leaders in the making amongst them.

  • Journeying Together is based on what has been learned from the 'Youth or Adult?' initiative, begun 21 years ago by The Rank Foundation with YMCA George Williams College. By supporting agencies and the professional development of workers (up to degree standard) and with additional funding streams that have grown organically around it, it has developed a network of projects that includes churches, youth cafés, creative arts projects, street work, volunteering initiatives, outdoor education, building projects and a farm... and a consistent relationship-based style of youth work that involves 'journeying together' along a path of learning. It is difficult; it is challenging. But it works. The evidence is in the impact on the individuals and agencies who are supported - and in their influence on the young people and communities with whom they engage.

    Journeying Together encourages readers to consider what they can learn from the approach, and how they can apply it in their own youth and community work. Journeying Together is for: youth workers and youth work managers in local authorities and the voluntary sector; youth and community work students, lecturers and researchers; anyone involved in working in partnership with youth workers and young people in communities; and policy makers concerned about young people and communities. Journeying Together is about taking a step towards young people, so as to engage with them as valuable contributors to their communities, and to offer them an opportunity - and a challenge.

    Paperback. 176 pages. 978-1-905541-54-6. Published 2010. £13.95.


    Youth workers and youth work managers in local authorities and the voluntary sector. Youth and community work students, lecturers and researchers. Anyone involved in working in partnership with youth workers and young people in communities. Policy makers concerned about young people and communities.


    Foreword Charlie Harris
    Introduction Charlie Harris, Alan Rogers & Mark K Smith
    Growing youth work in local communities
    Local youth work Jon Jolly
    The experience of growing work Sarah Lloyd-Jones
    Developing local groups and organisations Alistair Hunter
    Growing youth workers in local communities
    Finding and recognising youth workers Judith Skinner
    Developing committed and informed workersJeff Salter
    Strength through struggle Gemma McDonald
    Implications for, and impacts on, the organisation Kai Wooder
    Journeying together
    Creating and sustaining a philosophy for development Simon Hill
    Growing a network Zareena Abidi-Sheldon
    Supporting and facilitating long-term change Chris Dunning
    Conclusion Alan Rogers & Mark K Smith


    Alan Rogers
    is a freelance writer and editor in the field of youth and community work; he is editor of the Source online youth work magazine.

    Mark K. Smith is Rank Research Fellow and Tutor YMCA George Williams College, London, and the author of The Art of Helping Others (with Heather Smith) and Informal Education (with Tony Jeffs).


    "Imagine a world where a whole community takes responsibility for raising its young people; where people invest in raising up youth workers and supporting them through professional training and where organisations, training agencies and funding bodies collaborate to pioneer new youth work approaches within multiple communities and an ever-changing culture. In Journeying Together different authors focus on the nature of grass roots youth work, the organisational impact of the grow-your-own-youth-worker strategy, and the implications for high-level collaboration between funders, trainers and practitioners. Each chapter is rich with theory and real life testimony shared in stories straight from the frontlines of youth work embedded in local communities. Refreshing, inspiring and utterly convincing, Rogers and Smith are calling us to return to long-term investment in local communities where collaboration between funders, trainers and youth work projects enables sustainable, and ultimately, truly transformational youth and community work." Youthwork.

    "Addresses the myriad issues facing youth workers, managers and funding bodies, and brings it all together in plain, easy-to-read language. Quite a feat when addressing complex subject matter from such diverse points of view.

    "The authors have tackled some of the history of youth work and the policies that have affected it, such as the rise of bureaucracy and red tape; the way the global economic crisis has affected young people; the greater cultural and ethnic diversity; and the focus on the individual rather than the community or group.

    "The book is a comprehensive overview of what it is currently like to work in youth work, where the sector seems to be going and where it needs to go. The authors argue that youth work needs to become more relational and less transactional, and that the issues to be addressed and the targets youth workers should aim for should be decided by the communities in which they work.

    "Advice is given on how to grow self-belief and self-development within a workforce. The authors argue that what is needed is a principle-driven, not target-driven leadership style, which fosters trust and honesty so issues can be raised and risks taken that benefit youth work and make a bigger impact in the community.

    "More than anything, the book aims to inspire youth workers and others in the sector to take the talent, ability, excitement and "spark" and use it to innovate further." Children & Young People Now.