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Wednesday, 22 February

Power of youth work celebrated at special event

Photograph of youth workers celebrating at a certificate presentation event arranged by the SYWA

The achievements of newly qualified 15 youth workers were recognised at a certificate presentation event at Dillington House in Somerset.

The event, which was facilitated by Spark Somerset and hosted by the Somerset Youth Work Alliance (SYWA), brought together over 50 guests including youth workers, young people, councillors and commissioners, to celebrate and champion youth provision in the county.

Lesley Power, was one of 15 learners to receive a certificate. She said:

The course helped me develop a better understanding of youth work and led to me becoming a Lead Youth Worker for In The Mix Project. I now feel a lot more confident in my role. It was a lovely event, I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing the other students again.

It’s the first time accredited youth work training has been delivered in several years – thanks partly to funding from Somerset Community Foundation and the National Youth Agency which was awarded as a result of a joint application made by the SYWA and Spark Somerset.

Councillor, Caroline Ellis, who attended the event said:

It was a fantastic morning. Youth work is as important as education and health care for young people’s life chances – and time it had more recognition and sustainable funding. The Alliance, supported by Spark Somerset, has achieved amazing things with their partnership, setting up the training programme and focusing the minds of politicians on how we support their life enhancing, life changing and sometimes life-saving work.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, said:

We’ve been really pleased to support the development of the Somerset Youth Work Alliance over the last two years. This was first made possible via a grant from the Government’s #iwill Fund and then from our own Somerset Community Partnership Fund, which was supported by Somerset County Council. We believe that youth work is an important part of our county’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector. We also believe that by funding the creation of infrastructure support for youth work providers, we’re helping to invest in the long term future of these local groups.

Sara Iles, VCFSE Partnerships Manager at Spark Somerset, facilitated the event, she said:

It is an exciting time for the development of youth work provision in the county, thanks to the collaborative efforts and expertise of our members who are working hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people in Somerset.

The Somerset Youth Work Alliance is a collaboration of voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises involved in delivering youth work provision in the county, facilitated by Somerset Spark Somerset. We are working together to achieve our vision of a high-quality, co-produced and inclusive youth offer in Somerset. You can learn more about the Alliance’s work here.