What we do

What we do


We work with and on behalf of our members

We’re proud to sit at the heart of a vibrant national network of locally accessible youth organisations across the UK, estimated to support one and a half million young people. Our members range from regional infrastructure organisations and statutory or voluntary local youth groups delivering on the ground support to local authority-led youth services and national charities working with and for young people.

This year, we launched the first ever UK Youth State of the Membership report, which summarises the findings of our national member consultation and research with organisations working with young people across the country. The annual report highlights current youth sector workforce trends, the changing financial positions of organisations and the challenges facing the sector.

To help combat the issues outlined in the report, we’re committed to working with our members in five key areas, as shown on the diagram on the right.

All organisations working with or for young people can join our movement and be part of something bigger.

We run world-class skills development programmes

We have established a strong reputation for delivering high quality, large scale skills development programmes for young people from predominantly disadvantaged backgrounds. From outdoor learning to money management, we reach and engage young people who don’t traditionally have access to personal development opportunities.

We work with our members and young people in our network to ensure all our programmes meet their changing needs. We use this insight to build high-profile partnerships to co-create and deliver innovative, accessible, funded opportunities for young people to empower them to engage with employment, volunteering or training.

To ensure there’s something for every young person, we deliver our programmes in five key interest areas. Click on the circles below to find out more:

We advocate on behalf of the youth sector

With a network supporting thousands of youth organisations, we’re in prime position to understand the varying needs of young people and the sector, and advocate on their behalf.

The UK Youth State of the Membership 2018 report, which was compiled through a national consultation with our members, highlights the common challenges faced by all youth organisations in our network, regardless of their delivery model. These include:

It’s our role to raise awareness for these issues and advocate for more support.

Our report also showcased the need for a national representative of the wider youth sector. To ensure a common voice, we work with closely with our members, MPs and the government to collaborate, recognise excellence, highlight challenges and maximise effectiveness to showcase the pivotal role youth services play in today’s society.

We champion youth engagement

Youth engagement is embedded in all our work and we support our members to involve young people in decision making in their youth organisations and in their wider community

Our UK Youth Voice group is compiled of young people aged 16-25 who represent every region and nation of the UK. Together they form our National Steering Board and are fundamental to everything we do, feeding into our strategy and overall direction.

As well as providing us with unique insight into their changing needs, UK Youth Voice empowers young people with a platform to amplify youth voices and the opportunity to get involved with policy work, fundraising and programme design.

As an example of a UK Youth Voice activation, after the EU Referendum, UK Youth Voice members undertook extensive research with young people from across the UK to identify the issues affecting young people. They used this insight to create a Youth Voice Manifesto and outline five policy calls:

The UK Youth Voice Manifesto was presented to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and has received widespread, cross-party support. In July 2018, we brought 90 young people to the Houses of Parliament for the day to celebrate the Manifesto’s success and discuss policy movements in the last year.

We strengthen the quality of the youth sector

We support our members and the youth sector to strengthen the quality of their services through training, accreditation, resources and expert advice. We have a range of products available to support all organisations working with young people. These include:

Ambition Quality

Our nationally recognised assurance scheme specifically designed for organisations working with young people to enable them to develop quality provision, achieve lasting improvements and confidently demonstrate the quality of services being delivered to your young people.

Creating safe spaces

In response to our members’ need for increased training to safeguard their young people, we designed UK Youth Safe Spaces framework to set a minimum level of practice consistent with operating a safe organisation. The framework covers issues including health and safety, data protection, safeguarding, child sex exploitation, bullying and radicalisation.


Our nationally recognised awards framework has been delivered by youth organisations for over 20 years to celebrate the achievements of young people. The UKYAAs are an ASDAN accredited, youth-led framework which can be applied to almost any activity using a plan, do and review method and champion a variety of learning methods.

We promote and deliver outdoor learning

We are extremely proud of our leading outdoor centre, Avon Tyrrell, based in the heart of the New Forest. The unique and beautiful site featuring a Grade I listed calendar house and 65 acres of land is dedicated to the continuous development of young people and has successfully provided outdoor learning opportunities to 22,052 visitors last year.

Our historic centre creates adventures that enable young people to build bright futures, leaving them with incredible memories and essential life skills. Through outdoor learning, tailored programmes, apprenticeships and traineeships, disability and wellbeing weekends and bursary schemes, Avon Tyrrell recognises and rewards achievements made outside the classroom, providing the opportunity for everyone to experience, learn and develop.

Avon Tyrrell is also home to our apprentice programme, which provides young people with hands on learning, giving young people the skills and recognised qualifications they need to succeed in the outdoor industry. Our apprenticeships go beyond the basic framework, providing additional training and qualifications to ensure these young apprentices have the skills and qualifications for future careers beyond Avon Tyrrell.