UK Youth Chief Executive Charlotte Hill explained her vision for UK Youth to act as “a broker – creating opportunities to link with businesses that want to support young people in a mutually beneficial way”. Nationally, UK Youth’s United Futures initiative, (run with Business in the Community and the National Children’s Bureau) is developing ways to make it easier for businesses and charities to come together to support young people. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP, attended the event to back the UK Youth stance and answer questions about wider government plans to support young people.
The Barclays Community Projects team – currently working with UK Youth on the Money Skills Champions project – presented their perspectives. They talked about their joined up approach to linking with charities: “We don’t just donate money; we get involved and use our skills, time and expertise to support important community issues, using the energy, passion and commitment of our employees.”
Delegates also heard how cross-sector partnerships were emerging at a local level. London Youth demonstrated how their Volunteer It Yourself project has helped use private sector in-kind support to access social action grant funding. Staff from the Turning the Corner project shared their positive experiences of working to build trust between young people and businesses.
The conference also explored the idea of ‘social enterprise’. Patrick Nash, of Connect Assist gave a valuable overview of what this means in theory and practice. He defined terms and identified the ‘four key ingredients’ of successful social enterprises for those new to the idea.
Measuring Social Return on Investment
The keynote presentation from Jeremy Wyatt, of consultants Hall Aitken focused on the concept of Social Return On Investment (SROI) and how it can be used to demonstrate the value of youth work. Jeremy outlined the underlying principles, as well as the practice of evaluation using SROI. He proposed that this model can be used to produce a set of outcomes that will demonstrate clearly the impact of youth work in a way that can be understood by funders, partners and the wider population.
Keeping the passion
A final Q&A session ended with some valuable advice from Charlotte Hill reminding everyone their ‘unique selling point’ was the commitment, enthusiasm and expertise of the people involved. “Be passionate and stress your belief in the work you are doing.”
The UK Youth network conference was very kindly hosted by Barclays.
Click here for more on United Futures.
- Download a summary of Business in the Community presentation
- Download a summary text of Barclays Presentation
- Download the input from Volunteer It Yourself
- Download a summary of the input from Turning the Corner
- Download a summary of Patricks presentation on social enterprise
- Download a sumary of Jeremy's presentation on SROI