Creating safe community spaces in our youth clubs #YouthWorkMatters

Creating safe community spaces in our youth clubs #YouthWorkMatters

Tash Bright No Comment

Some of our weekly youth clubs have a reputation of being quite tricky places to work, with the attendees disliking new people in their space, including staff.

When a new worker entered the youth club, she found a tense atmosphere and the young attendees did not speak to her. The worker tried her best with the group, greeting them as they came in, which helped to break down the barrier. Gradually, the group started to banter with the youth worker, as she was terrible at remembering their names.

Over time, the group started to accept her and would talk to her about the issues that were important to them, including racial discrimination. Through friendly debates about culture, the group felt the benefits of having someone from a different background in their space at the youth club.

The group gave the worker a deeper understanding of what life was like for them, with one commenting: “If you are not well-connected then you are not safe walking down the street.” Others were dealing with the pressure of believing that they had a family reputation to uphold, despite being young men who enjoy playing computer and board games.

For the group, the youth club is a safe space where they can be themselves, they can ask difficult questions and engage in discussions that otherwise would not happen.

When the youth worker moved on from the youth club, the group – who would never normally write anything down – presented her with a handwritten card. They posed for a photograph with her, when they would have strived for anonymity in the past. The youth worker said: “I feel very privileged to be accepted from this community. Change is hard for everyone regardless of age but how we manage that change is key to its success.”

 

* Tree painting from Woodthorpe Youth Club, not the youth club from the case study.


The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is ‘SAFE SPACES’ something that Sheffield Futures knows all about. For thousands of young people, our youth clubs are a safe space to go, take part in recreational activities, meet and make new friends and learn the skills they need to succeed in life.

This month we are using our sessions in youth clubs to find out what makes a safe space, why young people feel that the youth clubs are a safe space and how they could be improved to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming.


Sheffield Futures new campaign ‘In Celebration of Youth Work’ celebrates and demonstrates the value of youth work within our communities.

Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people.

Our young people led campaign over the coming months is all about the celebration of youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. We invite you to show your support by….

  • Sharing the following message on social media: Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people. At @SheffFutures we want to celebrate youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. See: www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/in-celebration-of-youth-work
  • …Or write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters
  • Running a fundraiser to help Sheffield Futures to continue delivering quality youth work to young people in Sheffield city region. Every penny you raise will help Sheffield Futures to transform lives and create positive futures.
  • Pledging to be a Sheffield Futures Ambassador and raising awareness of their work by making key introductions, sharing their messages, attending events and more.

Contact us, email: marketing@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 8647

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.