Streetlights Detached Team
Lucy and team met me in the very accessible Silverburn Shopping centre just outside Glasgow. Tesco’s café delivered what was needed for a roving exec member – coffee and toilets.
Lucy, Michelle and Aaron have been posting pictures of the sunny beach which is part of their street work patch (Why am I here and not there?). After each detached session they tell us on Twitter how it went and pose with the drink or the ice cream of the day – Slushies being the team’s favourite!
They work as part of a detached youth work team out of a small coastal town called Girvan situated on the west coast of Scotland. Girvan Youth Trust the charity that funds the work provides youth provision via youth clubs, street work and schools, some in collaboration with the Local Authority.
The team meet with young people regularly 3 nights a week. As in most seaside towns there are few employment opportunities and as such it is quite a deprived area. Lucy the full-time youth worker started out as a part time youth worker and qualified through an apprenticeship scheme and after 10 years working here now manages the detached team and other pieces of work for the Trust. There have been some recent changes where the manager of 26 years has moved on and the Trust is now developing a new vision.
"The aim for Detached Youth Work over the next 3 years is to increase capacity for the youth workers to be delivering street-based youth work up to 5 night per week as well as providing adhoc support to the surrounding local villages. There is also hope that this will also allow for creating engagement with parents/guardians and families of local young people who the team regularly engage with on the streets. After a successful pilot period, the team are also delivering a school-based Community Bridging project which sees youth workers be given time in school to positively work with those local young people who are identified as potentially being, or currently, at risk of offending and/or becoming involved in anti-social behaviour within their community. The aim of the work in school is to positively engage with the young people in a different environment to explore their community and how their behaviours can affect them, other young people and their wider community."
Their youth work approach covers links with the schools, being seen out on the streets regularly and a full holiday activity programme. Young people see them around, trust them and they are accessible. “We take everybody at face value” and “We give them (young people) the time of day”. The positivity the team shows for their face to face work and the Trust, is marred by the isolation from the rest of the youth work world in Scotland. They feel out on a limb. Support from the Local Authority for their work is lacking. Their main link is with Galashiels (100 miles) rather than detached workers in South Ayrshire or Glasgow (56 miles away).
How did Covid/Pandemic affect your work?
We got involved in some online training through Youth Link Scotland and FDYW.
Received some funding from the Town Council to distribute food packs to families.
We still went out and met young people, they had nothing else and were out so we encouraged them to wear masks, use sanitiser and follow the guidance. Issues of drugs and sexual health throughout the pandemic were given less priority by the health service. The team was left holding information and supporting young people the best they could as there was nowhere to signpost them to.
Now young people have recognised the need for youth workers and clubs and for the first time all our lists for summer activities are full! Young people seem more committed to doing things with us and want to be more involved in the project. Unfortunately, the team has seen no extra funding for their work throughout Covid and its aftermath. The Covid Fund went to Local Authorities who passed it to the school. Girvan Trust does get an annual grant to deliver drug education to the school.
What can FDYW offer your team?
Recognition and support like this visit
Links to other teams and information via webinars
Chances to have people visit and maybe for workers to shadow detached youth workers in other projects
Information regarding funding streams and project ideas
How can your team be more involved in the FDYW?
Help to set up Regional meetings
Attendance at FDYW conference – if accessible and cost isn’t an issue
Finding links for us with other teams
Continue Twitter links
Thank you for the coffee and your openness and for being my first interview. Good luck to Aaron who has now left the team to continue his studies in Glasgow.
Miriam Turner for the FDYW