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Investing in potential: Support for quality youth work Widening access to quality assurance for London’s youth clubs

Youth services change lives All young people need opportunities for learning and fun, and to build strong and trusting relationships with adults and their peers. They need to be challenged, so they can thrive, fulfil their potential and become leaders in their communities. Some young people already have these opportunities, often through family or formal education – but others miss out on these chances to learn and grow. Without help, many young people risk never achieving their potential.

Youth services provide a vital service to fill this gap. They give young people the opportunity to: • Improve their confidence and agency • Build resilience and determination • Develop their relationships and leadership capabilities These are the building blocks that help young people to lead healthy lives, do better at school or college, have more chance of a fulfilling career, and engage positively with their communities.

Across London, youth services are widening access to opportunities for young people.

London Youth supports a network of 400 community youth organisations – reaching over 75,000 young Londoners every year

Why quality matters While youth work can change lives, not all services are equally effective. The impact of youth work on the lives of young people depends on the quality of the programmes and services. Youth workers within London Youth’s 400 member clubs tell us every day how they want to make their clubs more sustainable and develop the range and quality of their services to young people. They know that quality youth work helps young people build the skills they need to overcome disadvantage and to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. These skills include self-control, the ability to build relationships with others, and the capacity to plan for the future. But London Youth and its members recognise that delivering high quality youth work with limited resources is not easy. Voluntary-managed youth

clubs say they sometimes lack the time and funds to invest in the training they need, and to make sure their resources are used effectively. This doesn’t mean that quality services can only be delivered by huge or wellresourced clubs. Volunteer-led clubs are just as capable of providing excellent services as those with new facilities or large budgets. Our vision is to make access to highquality services a reality for all young Londoners, wherever they choose to go for them. The London Youth Quality Mark recognises the range and variety of youth services across London – and supports any club that wants to improve, so that more young people shape and take part in quality services and are helped to achieve their potential.

London Youth Quality Mark The London Youth Quality Mark ensures youth clubs develop and demonstrate the quality of their programmes and services. It provides a badge of excellence that clubs can show to local authorities, funders and young people to prove they are doing the most they can to transform lives.

London Youth supports clubs to achieve and benefit as much as possible from the Quality Mark. Clubs receive faceto-face help to build long-lasting improvements to their practice, management and how they engage young people. When young people shape the services they use, everyone – youth clubs and young people themselves – benefits.

Over 100 youth clubs in London have already achieved the Quality Mark – ensuring they provide the best possible service for young people

The London Youth Quality Mark is accredited by City and Guilds and, uniquely, young people are themselves part of the team that assesses the achievement of the awards. The Quality Mark is awarded at three levels:

Clubs with Silver are required to involve young people in developing and delivering their programmes. It looks in detail at the services and programmes clubs provide, and how these are delivered.

Clubs with Bronze have shown they provide a safe and stimulating environment for young people. All organisations, no matter how small, have the potential to achieve this level – which focuses on the main policies and procedures they need to follow to make sure they are open, responsible and safe. To satisfy the minimum requirements of funders and regulators, all clubs should be operating with procedures that meet the standards expected at Bronze level.

Clubs with Gold award have demonstrated they are a centre of excellence, providing the best services possible for young people. They have shown that young people take part in the leadership of their organisation and shape its future direction.

Ab Phab Youth Club in Dagenham offers a wide range of accessible activities for young people with disabilities aged 11-17 and 18-25+, and friends or relatives of the same age. It aims to encourage self-advocacy, empowerment and equality.

within the management committee. We have changed our recording and documenting processes to better demonstrate our services and record all outcomes and outputs for our young people.

Ab Phab successfully achieved the Silver level Quality Mark. Its Project Co-ordinator Josy Hughes said: “Having the Quality Mark highlighted key areas and has raised awareness

The London Youth Quality Mark is part of Ambition Quality, a national framework for quality which has been developed to support good youth work.

“We are now more confident about our working practices – that shows when writing funding bids for more opportunities for young people to have fun in a safe, social setting.”

A new investment in quality The London Youth Quality Mark is now set to become available to more youth clubs, thanks to a new award scheme established by the City Bridge Trust.

• Participation in London Youth panels and forums • A range of other opportunities as they develop

The grant will make it possible for more clubs to put in the time to build quality assurance into their programmes and services. Voluntary-managed clubs that achieve or renew the Gold or Silver Quality Marks will receive a cash award from City Bridge Trust, administered by London Youth – helping them to invest in the long-lasting quality of their work.

At Silver level, clubs will have all the benefits available to Bronze clubs, and: • A City Bridge Trust award of £5,000 • Additional London Youth training and development opportunities for staff and young people

Enrolling on the Quality Mark is free of charge: there is no cost to member clubs, other than their own commitment. We offer trained and supported volunteers to assist member clubs to gain the Quality Mark. The London Youth Quality Mark offers clubs wide benefits. Clubs that achieve the Bronze award receive: • Significant discounts at London Youth’s outdoor centres at Woodrow and Hindleap • Access to London Youth’s range of high-quality, innovative programmes in sport, employability, leadership and other areas

At Gold level, clubs will have all the benefits listed above, and: • A City Bridge Trust award of £7,000 • Media and other training to support them as spokespeople for good youth work • A free session to help them map the ‘journey of change’ for the young people they work with The City Bridge Trust awards will be open for three years, from October 2013. Each club will be able to claim one award. The City Bridge Trust’s grant will transform the quality of youth services in London – but much more work is still needed. With more support, more clubs in London and around the country could invest in quality assurance, and so would be able to help even more young people achieve their potential.

The Samuel Lithgow Youth Centre (SLYC) in West Euston works with disadvantaged young people aged 4 – 19 through youth projects and an after school club. Igor Jesus, a Young Assessor for London Youth, found that some young people of Samuel Lithgow were worried about the sustainability of the service. He heard concerns that the staff did not have enough support and relied heavily on one person.

But through the quality journey SLYC built a structure that addressed these challenges and gave the Centre sustainability for the long term. It went on to achieve the Gold level Quality Mark. Reflecting on his assessment, Igor said: “It’s an excellent club – a great environment. The workers work hard and are very motivated and passionate. I would definitely recommend it as a place to go.”

Quality youth services change lives – but not all youth clubs have the resources to invest in quality assurance. A new award scheme, the first of its kind, offers youth clubs the investment they need to achieve the London Youth Quality Mark: the only quality assurance scheme for youth clubs accredited by City & Guilds. The new awards, funded by the City Bridge Trust, will help clubs to dedicate the time they need to build long-lasting quality into their programmes, and so to change the lives of even more young people.

For further information and to sign up for the London Youth Quality Mark, please contact Gary Hartin, Head of Quality Standards or Rosa Palli, Membership Support Officer at London Youth

0207 549 8800

Investing in potential: Support for quality youth work  
Investing in potential: Support for quality youth work  

The London Youth Quality Mark ensures youth clubs develop and demonstrate the quality of their programmes and services. It provides a badge...