The Network of Regional Youth Work Units: England brings together independent organisations working across the youth work sector at regional level in six English regions.
Regional Youth Work Units (RYWUs) act as hubs for developing and supporting youth work in their regions, working with commissioners, providers and young people themselves to ensure the sector is well-informed, skilled and responsive to changes in government policies and young people’s needs.
The Network supports and strengthens the capacity of RYWUs, sharing and promoting best practice. We work with a range of national and regional organisations to develop new initiatives and joint partnerships for the benefit of youth work and young people.
In addition, the Network provides a bridge between national policy and initiatives, and local policy and delivery – enabling communication and supporting new developments.
Principles of the network
Our principles and values for collaboration and alliances
Financial support vs independence
Our approach to collaboration and alliances with other organisations – June 2020
The Network of Regional Youth Work Units: England brings together independent organisations working to support the youth sector at regional level in the English regions. At present our members cover 6 of the 9 regions and we aim to recruit relevant organisations to join the network and support youth work in the other 3 regions over the next 1-2 years.
Regional Youth Work Units act as hubs for developing and supporting youth work in their regions, working with commissioners, providers and young people themselves to ensure the sector is well-informed, skilled and responsive to changes in government policies and young people’s needs.
The Network regularly works with organisations with a national (and sometimes international) footprint and role in supporting aspects of the work of the youth sector, in order to inform policy developments, engage parts of the youth sector who may otherwise not be able to access national initiatives and knowledge, and provide regional intelligence to national organisations while informing organisations in the region of national developments that could affect their practice and environment. This role is recognised and valued by national organisations and government bodies, and has resulted in positive outcomes for youth work, youth workers and young people.
As a Network we want to continue to develop collaboration and alliances with organisations that support youth work nationally and internationally, and we will be pro-active in seeking, building and maintaining these, where they are underpinned by principles and values which include:
Taking an ‘asset-based’ approach to collaboration, that values the contribution of all partners in an alliance and recognises that young people and youth work will be best served by alliances that respect the different contributions each partner brings and build solutions and models that take into account the diversity of young people, youth work and the environments and regions in which they are based
Honesty amongst partners and alliances, that includes being open about the reasons for the collaboration, about any associated financial benefits and about organisational priorities and motivation
Generosity in terms of sharing resources, information and public profile associated with improving youth services and conditions for young people. This should include partners publicly acknowledging the roles played by alliance members in shaping the outcomes of collaborations
Because the Network of Regional Youth Work Units consists of independent organisations which differ considerably in scale and scope, we recognise that we may not all be able to undertake every aspect of particular partnership projects. The Network has tried and tested methods of resolving such issues if they are potentially problematic, and these could include particular regional members opting out of particular projects. Often, however, we can find solutions such as neighbouring regional members taking on work on behalf of colleagues. We will be open about such issues with our alliance partners and work with them to manage any difficulties.
The Regional Youth Work Units have proved to be effective regional delivery partners in many projects led by national organisations, ranging from national youth voice initiatives with British Youth Council through facilitating regional networks with Centre for Youth Impact to managing the delivery of bursaries for youth work training via National Youth Agency. Our own members have also led national partnership projects, such as the Youth Loneliness Project currently led by Youth Focus North East. Where there are specific tasks to be undertaken as part of a collaboration, it is appropriate for this work to be paid for through contracts and service level agreements.
Our members’ overall role, however, lies in collecting and analysing intelligence on the youth sector in our regions, which we achieve through the range of networks we maintain with local youth work organisations, local authorities, funders and policy makers. It is hard to put a price on this, and we want to make sure that we continue to be seen as independent organisations who are not owned by one or more national organisations. We want to bring this regional intelligence to national and international collaborations as we believe that it helps in developing responses to challenges for the sector and young people that are more appropriate for youth work as we see it in our regions. We will willingly bring this intelligence and analysis to alliances and collaborations that reflect the values and principles set out in this document.
The network has representation on the following forums and working groups:
NYA/JCS’s Education and Training Standards Committee England
National Youth Policy Advisory Group
Youth Voice DCMS
Institute for Youth Work
Additionally, they are represented across a range of regional networks and strategic partnerships, please their websites for more details.