05 SES 08, Communities and Localities
This paper is part of a multi-area study of continuity and change across four urban areas in the UK. The study as a whole intends to contribute to the larger understanding of urban change and the relationships to community needs. The project aims to understand how have voluntary organisations adapted both to changing local needs and the changing policy environment in terms of their missions and activities.
One of the emergent themes from this research is how the youth work of voluntary sector organisations has shifted over time. In particular, this paper looks at changes in the post-war period in East London and work with young people in the urban environment: from 1940s youth clubs with an emphasis on play and holidays out of the city, to a focus from the 1970s on tackling the emotional and social issues faced by young people in the city. This paper explores the role of voluntary sector organisations in addressing the changing needs of young people in terms of providing leisure space, offering outreach on issues of concern and providing informal educational opportunities.
This paper explores informal education in the context of community education and youth and community work. Practitioners who reflect on informal education in youth work talk about the importance of developing relationships and enhancing understanding of the context of young people in order inform their practice. This is an important component of outreach work with at risk communities; the practitioners engage in informal learning to inform their practice. This can then be used to shape the service delivered by the organisation with educational opportunities tailored to the problems and needs of the young people in the community. This paper looks at this process and how strategies for supporting at risk youth in urban areas have changed in five case study organisations. Whilst the focus of the work is UK based, this research can contribute to a wider understanding of voluntary organisation contributions to urban education and youth work applicable to an international context. They key contribution of this work is understanding the role of voluntary sector organisations in working with young people and providing informal education.
The research questions were addressed across time and relied on historical methods to show continuity and change in the voluntary sector. This paper draws on archival and published documents as well as a select number of interviews. There were three major phases to this study: preliminary data collection (initial document analysis), main data collection (archival research), and supplementary data collection (oral histories). The preliminary data collection involved examination of secondary source material and other academic accounts of the voluntary sector’s history in the UK and in East London in particular to get a ‘feel’ for the area. This established the parameters research including using secondary sources to outline the existing themes and narratives about the changes in voluntary action in the area. This phase helped to determine which organisations to focus on as case studies in the research. Case study organisations were chosen that were long term survivors and/or represented the variety of voluntary sector initiatives present in the area. The main data collection involved acquiring all materials relating to the selected case study organisations from the area archive: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. The final phase involved collection involved oral histories with the case study organisations. Where possible these interviews were targeted at the organisation directors and long term members of staff who could provide an institutional history. These were semi-structured to allow greater flexibility in interviewee responses.
One area of continuity in voluntary sector work is the provision of spaces for young people to engage in leisure. A key change within this is the increased importance of these organisations providing a safe space for migrants and young women. These organisations also work to provide alternative spaces for young people directly within the community on estates and in local churches. An important area of change is the increase in outreach work in the local community including dealing with the issues of truancy, unemployment and drug use. Voluntary sector organisations go into the community to engage directly with young people but also provide programmes to give them tools to cope with these problems themselves. The outreach work in turn leads to an increase in proactive courses to enhance the skills of young people including tutoring, homework clubs and mother tongue classes. Programmes also seek to develop self-esteem and confidence to empower young people as well as providing them support to seek work. These preliminary findings indicate the important role voluntary sector organisations can play in the urban environment and the variety of ways they support the informal education of young people.
Batsleer, J. (2008) Informal Learning in Youth Work. London: Sage Publications. Davies, B. (1999) From Voluntaryism to Welfare State (History of the Youth Service in England). Leicester: National Youth Agency. Davies, B. (1999) From Thatcherism to New Labour (History of the Youth Service in England). Leicester: National Youth Agency. Milbourne, L. (2013) Voluntary Sector in Transition: Hard times or new opportunities? Bristol: Policy Press. Richardson, L. and Wolfe, M. (eds.) (2001) Principles and Practice of Informal Education: Learning through Life. London: Routledge/Falmer. Verschelden, G., Coussée, F., Van de Walle, T., and Williamson, H. (eds.) (2009) The history of youth work in Europe: Relevance for youth policy today. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Wood, J. and Hine, J. (eds.) (2009) Work with Young People. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.