Facilitated by Spark Somerset, the Somerset Youth Work Alliance aims to create a high quality, co-produced and inclusive youth offer in Somerset.
As an infrastructure charity, we enable strategic collaboration among organisations to set direction and make decisions, focusing on areas where there are gaps in provision or a need for more a more joined-up approach.
An example of this is our work with the Somerset Youth Work Alliance.
What is the Alliance?
The Somerset Youth Work Alliance is a collaboration of youth work organisations in the VCSFE sector based in Somerset. Our vision is to work collectively, ensuring a high-quality, co-produced, and inclusive youth offer in Somerset. We prioritise listening to the voices of young people and aim to be responsive to emerging needs whilst remaining accessible to all.
Our key successes to date include securing pathways for youth work training to enhance the development and quality of our provision, and in 2023 we secured funding from the National Community Lottery Fund, enabling us continue our work until 2026.
We are committed to:
- Ensuring consistently high-quality youth service provision across the county, developed, and co-produced with those who use it.
- Identifying and collaboratively filling gaps in service provision for young people, prioritising local needs, accessibility, and inclusivity.
- Building trusting and creative relationships between organisations, respecting diversity, recognising strengths, and exploring joint funding opportunities.
- Sharing ideas, learning, knowledge, and resources to achieve optimal outcomes for young people in the county.
- Utilising our combined voice to highlight the impact of youth work and influence the strategic landscape for youth services.
- Exploring a peer review approach to quality assurance as work progresses.
- Identifying gaps in training and development in Somerset, working with educational bodies to arrange programs for new youth workers and providing continuing professional development opportunities.
- Promoting training and career paths in youth work to attract new professionals.
The Alliance, supported by Spark Somerset, has achieved amazing things with their partnership, setting up the training program and focusing the minds of politicians on how we support their life-enhancing, life-changing, and sometimes life-saving work.
- Cllr Caroline Ellis
Who are we?
We have a Steering Committee and core members who bring years of youth work experience, forming a robust foundation for our collaborative efforts. Our current membership includes: Minehead Eye, YMCA Brunel Group, Youth Unlimited, Young Somerset, Reach, The Space, Community Youth Project (CYP), In The Mix Project, Active Learning and Skills (ALS), YMCA Taunton, YMCA Dulverton Group, Youth Connect South West, 2BU Somerset, Youth Matters: Mind in Somerset, and Spark Somerset.
We are developing a network membership to support smaller and establishing organisations, providing collaborative support to develop their youth work practice. An example is our commitment to securing funding for youth work training from introduction to Level 6 qualifications, enhancing the workforce and building the youth work leaders of the future.
How to get involved
To learn more about the Somerset Youth Work Alliance and the exciting opportunities it holds for youth work in Somerset, please contact Tash Scully, Director of the Somerset Youth Work Alliance, via email.