As we enter into the festive season I would like to take this opportunity to share some good news with you. I am pleased to announce that our Annual Review 2014/15 can now be downloaded here, which highlights what a successful year we have had and the positive impact of our work on young people and those who work with them.
Achieving great outcomes
In 2014/15 we achieved the following:
- 729,694 young people have become a positive force for change in their own life, and the lives of others
- 68,583 young people took part in our innovative national programmes
- On average these young people demonstrated an increase of over 20% in many key capabilities
- We invested £3.3 million into youth organisations delivering inspiring life skills programmes
- We increased our revenue by 8% to £8.55 million
The year was not without challenges as young people continued to face high levels of unemployment and many youth focused organisations experienced significant funding cuts. Despite this we succeeded in enhancing young people’s life skills, raising their aspirations and engaging them in both local community activity and the national democratic process.
Empowering young people to change lives
In 2016 we will be building on this strong foundation with a new strategy to enhance the support we offer young people across the UK. Our aim is for every young person we work with to become a positive force for change in their own life, and the lives of others. We recognise that to do this young people need to develop crucial life skills that are not always acquired at home or through formal education.
The UK Youth Social Curriculum delivers these life skills. It outlines the importance of free, fun, open access activities to encourage young people to take part, structured non formal learning programmes to help them develop new skills, the opportunity to test their skills and give back to the community through social action, and clear pathways into employment or entrepreneurship.
Building a community of excellence
UK Youth will take a dual track approach to embedding the Social Curriculum across the UK; supporting community based youth organisations to create localised programmes and access local resources, whilst also unlocking partnerships with corporates and national and international programme and funding opportunities that we can cascade down to a local level.
Our aim is to work with existing youth service providers, from traditional youth groups and sports clubs to social enterprises and web based organisations. We will endeavour to strengthen and support them to create sustainable infrastructure that reflects the contemporary needs of young people. We are committed to identifying and sharing best practice throughout our network to support the development of physical and virtual ‘Youth Hubs’ that act as a magnet for young people from across the community.
Sharing best practice and innovation
There are many inspirational organisations in our network that are effectively operating as ‘Youth Hubs’ capable of delivering the entire Social Curriculum, from Social Engagement through to Social Leadership, and many more are delivering specific aspects of it. In 2016 we will be launching an exciting new piece of research that showcases this high quality provision, with the aim of informing good practice in other areas.
Taking action to support young people and those who work with them
We have already secured a significant amount of support and funding for 2016 that will enable us to implement our new strategy in response to the changing landscape. We will be:
- Providing equipment, funding and training to youth organisations so they can offer Social Engagement activities
- Delivering national Social Learning programmes to develop young people’s life skills through sport, music, technology and the arts
- Running Social Action initiatives backed by the Cabinet Office and Starbucks
- Supporting Social Leadership training to get young people into employment and enterprise
Being the best we can be
In order to deliver on these commitments we will focus on four key strategic priorities:
1. Better Voice – we will give young people and those who work with them a voice
2. Better Membership – we will support youth organisations across the UK
3. Better Programmes – we will work in partnership to deliver inspiring national programmes
4. Better Us – we will ensure our charity is run well
We are committed to transforming the lives of young people through non formal learning opportunities, to ensure every young person becomes a positive force for change in their own life and the lives of others. This is only possible thanks to strong partnerships with people and organisations like yours.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my personal thanks for your continued support and hard work, as without this, we could not succeed in enhancing the lives of so many young people.
On behalf of the whole team at UK Youth, may I wish you a very happy Christmas and a successful new year!
Anna Smee – Chief Executive Officer, UK Youth