Principles worth standing by

Our mission is to champion good youth work; by delivering it, experimenting with it, promoting it and supporting others who share our beliefs about it.

We think that good youth work is a way of understanding young people and the world they live in and approaching things from their point of view. We also think that good youth work is built on a wide set of skills and tools; we see these as the ‘craft’ of being a good youth worker.

We believe that the combined approach and craft of good youth work is something to be defended, supported and developed. A positive future for good youth work is something to campaign for.

“Good youth work is every young person’s right. We’ve been protecting that right for over a century and so long as young people want and need good youth work, we won’t stop delivering it”
Andy Clow, Chief Executive

  • Good youth work creates positive changes in the lives of all young people. It is a constructive process that aims to give young people chances to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. It can be of benefit to all and should not be confined solely to tackling disadvantage; although it will always recognise the disadvantaged starting points society imposes on some young people.
  • Good youth work will speak up for young people and always remind adult society that they are most often the victims of society’s problems and not the cause of them.
  • Good youth work challenges discrimination and promotes inclusion because it values and celebrates the uniqueness of individuals, championing both cohesion and difference.
  • Good youth work is always relevant because it is centred on the needs of young people and encourages them to express those needs. Young people set the agenda for good youth workers.
  • Good youth work must be voluntary and its power to grow mutual respect between young people and adults comes from the right to walk away from the youth work process. It must be a positive choice.
  • Good youth work enables young people to understand and own their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and how to form and maintain good relationships that are built on self-respect and respect for the rights and responsibilities of others.
  • Good youth work is primarily a group process of social education, enjoyed in the most informal and accessible ways. It can help support families and young people’s growth and transition to independent adulthood.
  • Good youth work is a powerful force for positive social change and good youth workers, alongside the young people they support, are its best and most credible advocates.