UK Youth Research: Local Youth Groups Today
In September of 2015, in response to the turmoil much of the youth sector finds itself in, UK Youth commissioned youth-led research agency ‘Clear View Research Ltd’ to carry out a study into local youth services.
UK Youth sought to better understand the role of community based youth clubs and projects in order to answer a fundamental question; do we still need these community based youth groups?
Through this research, which collected evidence from over 700 youth professionals, carried out in-depth case studies with local youth groups, and interviewed dozens of young people and sector leaders, we found numerous well run and high impact youth projects happening all across the UK.
However there is also clear evidence of widespread concern that an ever increasing number of valuable services are losing support and funding, and with the role of community based youth groups becoming less clear we aimed to answer:
- Is it time for the youth sector to accept that the needs of young people have changed so dramatically that the youth service we have built up for over a century is no longer fit for purpose?
- Should we recognise that new, alternative models of youth service provision are the way forward?
- Is it right to narrow the focus of commissioners, funders and the general public to concentrate targeted expenditure on a narrow range of programmes so that outcomes can be carefully monitored and measured?
Our research found that community based youth groups remain relevant to the needs of young people and clear evidence that there is a requirement for these groups to endure. However, the dynamic of these youth groups is changing fast and it is increasingly important for them to articulate the role they play, both in isolation and as part of a growing ecosystem of youth services.
With many local youth groups already actively embracing new models of delivery to enhance their impact and viability, this research has identified numerous case studies of innovation and good practice across the UK. These case studies have been used to provide direction and guidance for all local youth groups, membership bodies and representative organisations, to ensure that local youth provisions remain young people centred, deliver effectively and achieve sustainability.