Youth Select Committee 2019 begin investigation into UK’s rising knife crime

The Youth Select Committee today formally begins a new inquiry into the scourge of knife crime in the UK. The pioneering Committee is calling for evidence from a wide range of contributors, including young people, charities, and businesses.

Youth Select Committee Members meet ahead of their investigation into the rise in knife crime in the UK

Enhancing young people’s employability via youth work

Commissioned by the European Youth Forum, and conducted by the University of Bath and GHK Consulting, the study on “the impact of non-formal education in youth organisations on young people’s employability” confirms the importance of the COMANITY project.

Non-formal education can be understood as “an organised educational process that takes place outside the mainstream systems of education and training, and does not typically lead to certification. Individuals participate on a voluntary basis and the individual is usually aware that (s)he is learning”.

Among the findings are:

  • Young people who report higher levels of involvement in the youth organisations’ activities (in terms of frequency and duration) also report higher levels of skills development;
  • Employers consider involvement with youth organisations as a positive experience, as they have implicit theories that associate certain experiences with certain skills sets;
  • Beyond Skills Development: involvement in youth organisations creates networks and connections for young people

The study also include a set of recommendations, notably to foster young people’s participation in youth organisations and better recognition of any learning that happens there.

The Future of Work and Youth – Publication

The European Youth Forum published in April 2019 a report on The Future of Work and Youth. This is an interesting publication addressing youth work and social inclusion. It looks into the impact of four megatrends on youth and the world of work: globalisation, climate change, demographic changes, and technological advancements.

Among other things, it recommends to invest in young people’s skills! Just like COMANITY 😉

Access the publication here.

Social Innovation – empowerment, youth activism and engagement: examples from South London

Two, of many, very different examples of youth engagement and empowerment organisations in South London.

Ebony Horse Club: On the notorious Brixton Angell Town estate an inner city horse club is making inroads and engaging with some of the local young people at risk of being drawn into gang culture.


The Advocacy Academy:

What is it? The Advocacy Academy is a transformational Social Justice Fellowship for young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. Across six intense months, we support young leaders from marginalised communities to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.




Realising Ambition

Realising Ambition

A UK-wide programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund investing in outstanding projects that have a strong track record of helping young people to fulfil their potential and avoid pathways into offending.

Realising Ambition is a UK-wide £25m Big Lottery Fund programme replicating 25 services aimed at preventing children and young people from entering the criminal justice system. Launched in 2012, the five year programme is providing grant funding and specialist support to 22 organisations to refine and build the evidence base of their services.

Realising Ambition aims to:

  • improve the evidence base of what works, for whom and why in avoiding pathways into offending
  • promote learning about what it takes to replicate evidence-based interventions
  • help commissioners to ask the right questions about evidence, practice and impact.

The programme is being led by Catch22 with the Dartington Social Research UnitSubstance and the Young Foundation as consortium partners.

Rather than writing a long evaluation report at the end of the five-year programme – which would likely be read by very few people – the Realising Ambition consortium are instead producing a series of 10 Programme Insights.Each of these Programme Insights is designed to share reflections, learning and practical implications from Realising Ambition. There are three themes to these Insights:

  • Focus Pieces that describe concepts and share some of our reflections and opinions
  • Findings Pieces that report empirical data emerging from the programme and associated evaluation activities
  • Field Guides that are practical ‘how to’ guides for a variety of audiences.

By sharing ideas, successes, challenges and even some mistakes, we hope to support and inspire others considering, undertaking or commissioning their own replication journey.

These insight publications may be accessed here:



Peer Education

The following extract is from ‘The Substance Use Peer Education Responses Manual’, compiled by Bernie Roe, linked here:

Youth Peer Education is based on the belief that young people are the ones best equipped to inform, challenge and relate to other young people.

This type of Youth Peer Training has a valuable role to play in the health education of young people. It is not an alternative. It is an enhancement, so therefore it can work alongside and compliment other forms of youth work and health education.

The peer group is an important source of support and a place where standards begin to develop so working with Peer Educators means using the positive aspects of this process.

The Youth Peer Education concept makes positive use of potential peer influence, it is an approach which empowers young people to work with other young people and which draws on the positive strength of the peer group. This form of education encourages young people to place more emphasis on their own thoughts and decisions.

Youth Peer Education promotes personal growth and new skills for many young people that will assist them in all areas of their lives.

Peer Education can be an innovative way of breaking down barriers between adults and young people because in the process adults must be prepared to acknowledge the power and skills of young people and allow them to take control and make decisions.


  • promote self-confidence,
  • identify limits and rituals,
  • recognise young people as a valuable resource,
  • promote democratic development,
  • help the competence of young people
  • be voluntary and respect personal responsibility,
  • involve all participants in planning and facilitate joint ownership of project,
  • show clear roles and goals,
  • be supported and evaluated.

Peer Education in Mental Health – When the Students become the Teachers

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This video and the following text are from the Peer Education Project (PEP), linked here:

The Peer Education Project is a school-based programme that aims to give young people the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health, and that of their peers.

The project was born out of the idea that a key source of support to young people experiencing mental health distress is their peer group within the school environment. We developed this idea into a solution appropriate for schools.

By training older pupils to deliver mental health lessons to younger student, the project aims to bypass the walls many young people put up when being taught such nuanced, personal topics by adults whom they feel are detached from their personal experiences.

Mental Health and Youth Activism

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‘How a conversation changed my life’, YoungMinds Activist Alex

In this video Alex tells us why he decided to become a YoungMinds Activist, and how talking about his mental health helped him overcome his struggles. If you’d like to learn more about becoming an Activist with us, or want tips on looking after your mental health visit

More on building rapport, empathy and relationships with young people


A number of core skills and abilities are called for when working with young people especially those from vunerable and marginalised groups. These vary according to context , the issues and dynamics that prevail within any particular situation, and the power dynamics that inevitably play a part.

Key factors that are widely referenced include aspects of building rapport and trust, empathy and an ability to not only empathise, but indicate that, to those that we are working with – this may be no more than ‘active listening’, but may require considerably more. It needs to be remembered that empathy is not sympathy and that empathy is a choice.

Inevitably, this comes down to an understanding of relationships and the context in which these relationships occur. The quality of these relationships is a key concern.

Below are some links to material that may be helpful or thought provoking.



The DS4Y – Digital skills for You(th) project

The European project “Digital Skills for You(th)” aims at developing and piloting a blended learning offer for professionals working with disadvantaged young people. The offer focuses on a strength-oriented approach for their young target group concerning digital opportunities and challenges regarding their personal and professional development and active participation in society.

The project partners have published a Report on the framework conditions for training offers in digital youth work (only in English).

The project is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission and is coordinated by the German Digital Opportunities Foundation with partners from the Czech Republic (NCBI) and Spain (Fundación ESPLAI). The duration of the project is from January 2017 till December 2018.