Youth workers don’t work alone: celebrating arts and partnership at the National Youth Worker of the Year Awards

An innovative project by Citadel Youth Centre and celebrity chef Tom Kitchin has been shortlisted for Scottish Youth Work Partnership of the Year at our National Youth Worker of the Year Awards. Supper at the Citadel is a partnership project between the youth centre and The Kitchin in Leith. Through a series of cooking classes at the restaurant youngsters learned culinary skills, as well as vital life skills such as planning and team-work.

tomkichenFor Tom Kitchin, the experience was rewarding and humbling:

“For me, it is really important that I support the local community. I am really passionate about kids and youth and trying to get people to do something with food and enjoy food. I am very blessed this restaurant has given us an incredible world that we are in now. But just across the road, there’s another world and it is important we don’t forget that.”

Glasgow Kelvin College has also been nominated for Partnership of the Year. The college is being celebrated for its unique approach, using an army of youth workers to deliver great results for young people.

glasgow-kelvin-collegeThey’ve long recognised the value of youth work in supporting young people, particularly vulnerable youngsters, to move into further study, employment or volunteering. They currently employ 30 full-time youth workers who support more than 1,300 young people aged 12 to 17 in community learning venues – the college works with dozens of community-based partners to enhance the wider educational opportunities available to young people in Glasgow

Alan Sherry, Glasgow Kelvin College’s Principal, said:

“The success of our programmes is based on a partnership approach in which college youth work staff work with other agencies to develop and deliver provision where learning is welcomed and enjoyed by our most important partners, the young people themselves. We are proud to work in partnership with others to transform lives and the communities which we serve.”

Our final nominee for Youth Work in Partnership is TD1 Youth Hub in Galashiels. Over the past two years, they’ve teamed up with Scottish Borders Council and Scottish Fire and Rescue Services to deliver a range of innovative projects together. Recently, young people attended a learning programme with local firefighters, teaching them about fire safety, water rescue and road accidents. They’re not only learning new skills, but discovering possible lifelong careers too – just like Ciaran:

“When I turned 16 I got made homeless, it was pretty horrible for me. Douglas and Mark from TD1 and the firefighters really made me feel part of something. I learnt so much about myself and about working with others. After the course, the local fire brigade asked me to come back, they seemed impressed with me. I am joining the retained firefighters team and training to gain new skills.”

Another Borders youth work project with employability at its heart is also leading the way in our Time to Shine Arts and Creativity Award. Tomorrow’s People/Gala Works (TP/GW) works with unemployed people aged between 16 and 24, who are defined as hard-to-reach and come from deprived backgrounds. TP/GW is run with National Galleries of Scotland, connecting the Galleries’ art collection to the Border’s regional heritage.

Mark from Tomorrow’s People believes the combination of great youth work and creativity means better outcomes for the youngsters involved:

“The young people not only developed artistic awareness from this project but also developed critical employability skills including confidence, team work, commitment which has led them into positive destinations of employment, education and training.”

fresh-creations-2They’re joined by Y sort it youth project in West Dunbartonshire. Their highly successful arts hub, #Freshcreations, is creating a new generation of artists and musicians.

It’s one of the nine Youth Arts Hubs in Scotland made possible through the Time to Shine, Scotland’s national youth arts strategy. The Hub launched in October 2014 for anyone aged 12 to 25 in West Dunbartonshire. Since its launch, 2,287 local young people have taken part in arts activities ranging from film through to music production, drama and creative writing.  Young people like Josh:

“Before I got involved with #Freshcreations I was told that a job in the music industry wasn’t possible but through the project  I have met people working in the industry and they told me anything is possible if you try.”

img_2111Last but not least in our celebration of creativity is CY Music Works Team, based in Canongate, Edinburgh. Our panel recognised how they’ve successfully engaged with more than 200 young people from a wide range of backgrounds in a short space of time. In 2016 alone, the Creative Scotland-funded project worked with 92 individual young people to increase musical ability and confidence, with a clear focus on working with looked-after young people and young carers. The team developed creative partnerships with Edinburgh Napier University, Music Mentors, Edinburgh College and Edinburgh University. Sandi took part in CY Music Works last year:

“For young people in care like myself, a regular routine like this is vital in helping to keep things going in a positive direction and avoiding the negative. Being able to attend twice a week throughout the year has added a lot of structure to my life.  One of the highlights of the year for me was meeting one of my musical heroes, Dave Hook of Stanley Odd, during a visit to the recording studio at Napier University.”

footea9Spartans Community Football Academy has been selected for our Youth Work in Different Settings Award, for their programmes combining youth work and sport. Spartans are the largest youth work provider in north Edinburgh, engaging with 1,500 young people every week. The Academy run a variety of programmes including an Alternative School with support for maths and English, in additional to physical activity, and FooTEA clubs, where youngsters are provided with a hot meal as well as sessions in arts and sport. Partnership working is a big part of their ethos, working in conjunction with the local police to provide activities that will reduce anti-social behaviour and a series of youth work and schools partnerships.

Conor is a young lad for whom the Academy turned his life around:

“I was about to get kicked out of school for fighting all the time and I was probably going to go to jail because of all the charges I had against me. The youth workers believed in me and let me volunteer. I got expelled from school but at least I had something to do each day. It helped me when the judge knew I was doing well volunteering, it helped keep me out of jail. A few years on I’ve ended up as Head Groundsman and a Duty Manager at Spartans. I’d never have thought I could do something like that a few years ago.”

We’ll be announcing the winners at our National Youth Worker of the Year Awards Dinner on 16 March 2017 at the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow. Keep your eyes on #YLSawards17 for updates, or better still book your place at this year’s Awards Dinner here. And of course, thank you to Creative Scotland, Time to Shine and Scottish Community Safety Network for sponsoring our Awards. We couldn’t celebrate these outstanding achievements without your continued support.



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