Celebrating Hackney’s young people in Youth Work week

Hackney is a ‘young borough’ with more than a quarter of its 210,000 residents aged under 19 years old.

Youth Work week, which runs from 2 - 7 November, is a not just a great opportunity to celebrate the positive role that Hackney’s young people play in their communities; but also a chance to highlight the crucial role of youth workers in helping young people realise their potential.

This year’s theme focuses on two key qualities that youth workers help to build in young people: ‘Resourcefulness and resilience’.

These themes have underpinned successful youth work in Hackney over the past year. For example, young people who attend the Laburnum Boat club regularly raise money to finance trips abroad, with support from youth workers. In 2009 young people from Laburnum travelled to Slovenia, the French Alps and Scotland.

Jim Armstrong, the club’s co-ordinator, says that encouraging resourcefulness is key to a youth worker’s role: “By giving young people responsibility to raise funds and help organise these residential trips, we’re encouraging their independence. By empowering them we make an invaluable contribution to their personal development.”

One of the key drivers of youth-led opportunities over the past year has been the Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF), which has been a valuable resource to allow young people to develop their own solutions to issues that confront them.

In August, young people from the North-East Youth Forum, with support from the Hackney Youth Service Participation Team, used YOF money to organise a community safety event that reached over one hundred 13 to 19 year olds.

Councillor Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Our young people are talented and resourceful and good youth work provides one means of unlocking these qualities. We now have more clubs opening on Friday and Saturday evenings including the introduction of some truly outstanding provision, such as the monthly Spotlight event. Further investment through the Hubbz programme will see the development of new youth centres in Hackney, improving provision for young people in the borough further still.”

Youth Work week will coincide with the launch of the 2009 Youth Service survey. This gives young people in Hackney the chance to feed back on the quality of the service offered and to recommend ways in which the service can be improved. Young people can complete the survey online and enter a prize draw to win £100 in shopping vouchers at: The deadline for completing the survey is Monday 30 November.