How we help
We pride ourselves on the wide range of youth work services we provide to neighbourhoods and communities across West and South Yorkshire. For many years now, we have made it our policy to keep our services as flexible, mobile and accessible as we possibly can. That has enabled us to direct our work to where it is needed most.
Although we do work with young people in our offices in Wakefield, Leeds and Manvers, the vast majority of our work is delivered on the streets, from our mobile units, in schools or in building-based projects run by partner organisations. In this sense, our work is best understood as being ‘nomadic’; we do not have a big youth project building of our own to support and we are always happy to work with groups of young people where they choose to meet and gather. This has helped to keep down the delivery cost of our work and to maximise the numbers of young people we can work with.
Download the PDF version of our latest Annual Report. (872kb)
Who we help
The record shows that last year we worked with close to 15,000 different young people, many of whom live in some of the most deprived areas of Britain. In total, we recorded 50,806 contacts with young people, and that means that we worked with each individual an average of 3.5 times.
The intensity of that work varied widely, from one-off contacts to pass on information or to survey young people’s opinions, to training and development programmes that involved many hours of highly structured group work lasting months. As a direct result of our more intensive programmes, 201 young people achieved Open College accreditation through TYA. For the majority of those young people, their accreditation with us was the first and only qualification they have achieved.
Areas of work
Our mobile information, advice and guidance service has been in operation since 2003 and has continued to cover stretches of West Yorkshire, reaching young people who would otherwise have little or no access to the support services they need. Well over 2,000 individual young people have been supported by our mobile service last year and 301 of them have been helped to find work, training or further education.
The Youth Association deliver a targeted programme of street-based or ‘detached’ youth work, throughout Wakefield and Barnsley. Last year we registered over 16,000 contacts with 4,642 different young people on the streets of West and South Yorkshire. All of our detached work aims to draw groups that choose to be on the streets in their leisure time into challenging and developmental programmes of group work and activities. More than 40 such activity programmes were developed from detached work, including ten residentials. In the areas where we work, the police report that instances of crime and anti-social behaviour drop by almost 80% making our detached work the most cost-effective proactive intervention with street gangs in many neighbourhoods.
Over the last ten years, we have developed a reputation as an innovator in the field of participative youth work. Much of that experimentation has happened in Leeds, where we support the Council by running all the operations of its Participation Unit. Given the size of Leeds and its population of young people, it is no surprise that TYA has been able to work with large numbers of children and young people in helping them to have a voice in the running of the city.
Some 6,875 individuals were involved in our participation work last year. The scale, range and depth of that work was no less impressive than the quantity. We helped young people to be involved in the interview and selection process of some of the most senior executives of both Leeds City Council and the Children’s Workforce Development Council.
When 20 young people organised a ‘speed dating’ event with their local councillors, to grill them on their politics and opinions on youth services, the story made it into the national media. Continuing a long tradition, The Youth Association worked with young people to design, create and distribute over 4,000 magazines to young people across Leeds.
This snapshot overview cannot fully convey the true scale and impact of the thousands of sessions of high quality youth work that TYA has been able to deliver last year, but we hope it gives you a little insight into what we do and how we do it.