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Executive Committee Report
Directors Report and Review of Business
Representation and Advocacy
Support and Development
Statement of Financial Activities
Strategic Aims and Objectives
Vision, Mission, Values and Principles
YouthNet Membership 2003 - 2004
During my first year as Chairperson of YouthNet I have had numerous opportunities to meet with people involved in voluntary youth work. Time and again I have experienced the commitment, dedication and skills of volunteers, young people and staff and seen the creativity they collectively bring to the organisations they are involved in. In the role of chair you can get a real sense of the breadth and dynamism of Voluntary Sector activity. It is easy to forget the diversity within the Voluntary Youth Sector. This diversity brings a richness that provides real choice for young people. They can decide in which context they get involved, this could be within their local community, in their religious settings, as part of a greater youth movement or within an area of particular interest and relevance to themselves. These organisations provide real opportunities through which young people can develop skills, express their creativity, reflect on their spiritual development, manage transitions, take on leadership roles and give back to others through volunteering. These organisations also provide safety and protection supporting young people who feel ostracised or discriminated against, helping them to assert their rights as young people and members of our communities. This diversity can also be a weakness in that it can be difficult for those outside youth work to see organisations working separately, yet together, under a shared agenda. I strongly believe that we undervalue the contribution that the Voluntary Youth Sector has made and continues to make to enhancing the lives of young people and contributing to the greater wellbeing of our society.
We have seen unprecedented monies come into the education sector yet still only a trickle of this finds its way to youth work. We recognise the efforts made by the Youth Council NI in negotiating an uplift for the voluntary youth sector this year. At the end of this trickle are voluntary agencies struggling to ensure enough resources just to keep going. Yet their energy
and commitment balances books, meets the requirements of a plethora of funders, and attracts new monies which adds significantly to the global youth sector budget - a fact not often taken into consideration when we represent the sector. Considerations about youth work and education are not only about resources. They are also about respect and recognition, working together and acknowledging that the Voluntary Sector are not only about the delivery of youth work but have an important contribution to make in deciding and shaping youth work policy and priorities. At Westminster, in particular the Treasury, there is greater recognition of the need to ensure a robust independent voluntary sector as part of the means of delivering government priorities. These same threads can be seen within the work of the Task Force on resourcing the voluntary and community sector and the Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland. The policy environment in which the sector exists is changing, presenting for the first time the potential of real recognition of the role and contribution of the voluntary sector. To enable this to happen requires changes at many levels, both within the voluntary sector itself but equally within the statutory partners. Gordon Brown speaks of a new dynamic for government. He believes that the role of statutory agencies must move from the old sense of controlling and directing role to an approach which enables and empowers voluntary and community organisations to play a significant role in the shaping and delivery of public services. Our Department of Education is increasingly recognising not only the potential contribution of youth work in meeting educational priorities but also the need to ensure a strong engagement and open dialogue with voluntary sector organisations. The creation of the Youth Service Liaison Forum is a major milestone in this new framework bringing as it does real representation for voluntary sector organisations. The recognition of YouthNet by the Department as a Strategic
Partner reinforces this commitment to actively engage with the voluntary sector. â€œThe Department fully recognises the advantage of having an independent organisation which can effectively represent and champion the voluntary youth sector which plays such an important role in the Youth Service in Northern Irelandâ€? This thinking should be reflected in the outcomes of the youth work strategy and the deliberations in relation to roles and responsibilities as we seek to position youth work as an essential service for young people in Northern Ireland. As Chair I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Executive Committee members and the commitment and dedication of the staff to the work of the organisation. I would also acknowledge the contribution of the many other organisations to the development of the youth sector and I have particularly appreciated the opportunity to work closely with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland. I realise that the changing environment will present many challenges in the year ahead but I am confident that YouthNet and the voluntary youth sector will continue to contribute positively to meeting the needs of all young people.
David Mc Clarin Chairperson
Executive Committee Report The Directors
The Directors who served the charity during the period 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004, were:
Mr David McClarin
Mr Samuel McCready* Contact Youth (Chairperson)
Ms June Trimble
YouthAction (Vice Chairperson)
Mr Derek Capper
The Scout Association NI
Solicitors McKinty Wright Eagle Star House 5-7 Upper Queen’s Street Belfast BT1 6FS
Mrs Geraldine Linford* Girlguiding Ulster (Honorary Treasurer)
Suzanne Thompson Doreen Tennis Marguerite Hunter Blair Paul Curran Rainer Pagel Colette Slevin Perter Hamill Stephen Carr
Voluntary Service Bureau The Girls Brigade Playboard Boys and Girls Clubs PHAB NI Inclusion Matters Mencap Church of Ireland Youth Department Belfast Door Project
Auditors BDO Stoy Hayward Chartered Accountants Linsay House 10 Callender Street Belfast BT1 5BN
(stood down May 04)
Bronagh Cappa Fergus McMorrow Mark Hammond Sabine Ponater Johnny Parks
Co-operation Ireland Youthlink NI YMCA Ireland Public Achievement NI Youth Forum
Ulster Bank 161-163 Upper Lisburn Road, Finaghy Belfast BT10 OLJ
(co-opted 12 Dec 03) ∗
Mr Samuel McCready – Chairperson and Mrs Geraldine Linford –Treasurer, retired from the Executive Committee at AGM, 21 October 2004. The members of the committee who retired during the year were: Francis Forte Catholic Scouts of Ireland Mary Goodall Cathog Michele Taylor YMCA Patrick White YouthLink Teresa Geraghty Children’s Law Centre NI Donna Lynch Down’s Syndrome Association
The YouthNet Executive Committee (who are the named Directors, for the purposes of the Companies Act) have pleasure in presenting their report for the year ended 31 March 2004. This report is prepared in accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Statement of Recommended Practice 2000 – Accounting and Reporting by Charities. Incorporation and Legal Status The company is incorporated as ‘Voluntary Youth Network for Northern Ireland’ and registered in Northern Ireland as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. There were 80 members at 31 March 2004 (2002: 77 members). The liability of each member is limited. The company is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The company has been granted charitable status by the Inland Revenue and accordingly is exempt from income tax, corporation tax and capital gains tax. Its charity reference number is X08/94. Results The results for the year are set out in the financial statements (copies of the Financial Statements are available on request from the YouthNet office). A copy of YouthNet’s Statement of Financial Activity and Balance sheet at 31 March 2004 are presented at the end of this report. Review of business and future developments A review of YouthNet’s activities and achievements for this period are set out in the Director’s Report that follows. Fixed Assets Movements on fixed assets are set out in Note 11 to the accounts.
Reserves Policy Executive Committee have established a policy whereby the unrestricted funds not committed or invested in tangible fixed
assets (‘the free reserves’) held by the charity should be 3 months of the unrestricted resources expended, which equates to approximately £24,700 in general funds. At this level the Executive feels that YouthNet would be able to continue the current activities of the charity, in the event of a significant drop in funding. It would be necessary to consider how the funding would be replaced or the activities changed. At present free reserves are £23,364 which is close to this target level, however the Director’s will continue to monitor the charity’s reserves. Risk Review The Executive Committee have assessed the major risks to which the charity is exposed, in particular those related to the operations and finances of the company and are satisfied that systems are in place to mitigate our exposure to the major risks. Management Structure YouthNet is an umbrella body for voluntary youth organisations. It is managed by an Executive Committee whose members are elected at Annual General Meetings. In addition three Honorary Officer Bearers are elected to serve on the Executive Committee, these being a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Honorary Treasurer. All Executive Committee members elected at AGM, are registered as Company Directors. The Committee may co-opt additional members provided that the total number of Trustees does not exceed 15. In recognition of the close partnership and continued collaborative working with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, Johnny Parks, Director, NIYF, was co-opted to the YouthNet Executive Committee during the year. YouthNet also undertook a review of its Memorandum and Articles of Association during this time and following an extensive consultation process with its membership, proposed amendments were put to an EGM, 12 May 2004. Votes in favour of the motion were 55, representing over 95% of those members eligible to vote under Article 30, YouthNet Memorandum and Articles of Association (original).
Responsibilities of the Executive Committee Company law requires the Executive to prepare financial statements for each financial year, which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the charity at the end of the year and of the surplus or deficiency for the year then ended. In preparing those financial statements, the Executive are required to select suitable accounting policies as described on pages 10 to 12, Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2004 and then apply them on a consistent basis, making judgements and estimates that are prudent and reasonable. The Executive must also prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to assume that the charity will continue in business. The Executive are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the charity and to enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. The Executive are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the charity and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. Auditors In recognition of their responsibilities as Directors to appoint an auditor and in line with best practice, YouthNet has recently issued an invitation to tender in respect of external audit services. A resolution to appoint the successful auditors for the ensuing year will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting, 20 October 2004, in accordance with Article 392 of the Companies(Northern Ireland) Order 1986. Small Company Exemptions This report has been prepared in accordance with the special provision for small companies under Part VIII of the Companies (Northern Ireland )Order 1986. Registered Office:
signed by order of the Executive:
The Warehouse 7 James Street South Belfast BT2 8DN
Mr Denis Palmer Company Secretary
Approved by the Executive on 15 September 2004
Review of Business In response to our Strategic Plan 2002 – 2005, YouthNet carried out an extensive review of its internal structures, systems, policies and procedures during the year.
YouthNet Staff Team Denis Palmer Director
CORPORATE AFFAIRS UNIT Building on earlier achievements, the organisation has been restructured into three main units or areas of work, complementing the three Aims identified by the membership through the development of YouthNet’s Strategic Plan 02 05:
Membership Development Unit; Corporate Affairs Unit; and Peace II Unit.
This step has allowed us to focus our attention and resources on the areas of work that will maximise benefit, to the organisation, the sector and above all, our membership.
Claire O’Hare Deputy Director (Corporate Affairs)
Linda Gordon Communications Officer
Jacqueline Keating Finance Assistant
Emma Nightingale Admin Assistant/ Receptionist
MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT UNIT Mary Field
YouthNet is also currently negotiating a new funding arrangement with the Youth Council For Northern Ireland, which will have an impact across the sector.
Deputy Director (Membership Development)
Sharon Redmond TNS/ Equality Officer (left Aug 03)
In preparation for a new strategic planning cycle, 2005 – 2008, YouthNet has embarked upon a series of consultation exercises to include the Executive Committee, Staff and Membership. To date we have facilitated a staff away day, a staff/executive residential and a half-day with our members on 26 May 2004, looking at the future direction of YouthNet and how we might best respond to the needs of the sector.
Fidelma Carolan TNS/ Equality Officer (left Oct 03)
Elaine Campbell Development Officer (Policy)
Gillian McClay Development Officer (Capacity Building)
Valuing and Promoting Volunteering Fundamental to the work of YouthNet is the enormous contribution made by volunteers and we owe much to them. The organisation is enriched by the involvement of volunteers who so willingly continue to contribute their time, energy and expertise to a range of committees, sub-committees and to individual events. A review of YouthNet’s achievements throughout the year, incorporating some future developments are presented under the following headings.
Organisational Development Representation and Advocacy Support and Development to Membership
Organisational Development YouthNet Staff Team PEACE II UNIT Joseph Hawkins Project Manager
Jimmy Gillen Financial Administrator
Janet Pritchard Fieldwork Officer
Karen Witherspoon Fieldwork Officer
An underpinning objective of the organisation is to become a model of good practice, which can serve as a catalyst for the development of good practice amongst its membership. To this end, the Corporate Affairs unit has engaged in a number of processes during the year, which it hopes to expand upon, throughout the next strategic planning cycle: Governance In relation to Governance, we have undergone: - A review of Memorandum and Articles of Association; - A review of Executive Committee induction processes and materials; - A review of reporting mechanisms and materials; and - Established a dedicated Finance/ Personnel Committee.
Susan Conlon Finance Assistant
Shona Ennis Administrator
LGBT CONSORTIUM Amanda Stephens LGBT Development Officer
Human Resources We have undertaken: - A review of the staffing structure, job descriptions and supervision mechanisms; - A review of the Staff Handbook in line with current legislation and best practice; - We have established a staffing sub-committee; - We are currently engaged in an external job evaluation process; and - Are also currently exploring a quality standards model in relation to organisational development.
LGBT Development Officer Financial Resources We have undertaken an extensive review of financial systems and procedures: - Updated current accounting systems and procedures, transferring to Sage Line 50; - Recruited a new Financial Assistant; and - Established a tendering process for external audit provision. YouthNet has also taken on the administration and financial verification of £1.4m ‘Short Term Funding for the Social Inclusion / Community Regeneration Executive Programme Fund for Key Services Provided through the Community and Voluntary Sector’ on behalf of the Department of Education.
Physical Resources During the year a root and branch review of our Information, Communication Technology (ICT) provision and services took place, to include: - Further development of the website; - New Server and computer equipment; and - Extensive development of our intranet system, Further details are contained in the section on Support and Development later in the report. Finally, YouthNet’s current lease on James Street South expires on 31 March 2004 and a Premises Committee has also been established to identify and oversee the move to new premises.
Representation and Advocacy YouthNet believes it is crucial that the valuable contribution made by voluntary youth organisations in meeting the needs of young people is recognised. In support of this their expertise should be represented within the youth sector, within the generic voluntary sector and beyond to maintain a strong voice on issues of concern.
We would particularly like to thank the representatives from the Membership and Executive Committee who give so generously of their time and expertise to represent YouthNet on the following bodies.
We are committed to building and sustaining a series of relationships and to developing external and internal mechanisms to be effective in our representation and advocacy role. The following is a reflection of this broad representation.
Youth Service Liaison Forum David Mc Clarin YouthNet Chair Denis Palmer YouthNet Doreen Tennis Girlâ€™s Brigade June Trimble YouthAction NI Stephen Turner National Council of YMCAs
Youth Service Liaison Forum This body was set up in 2003 and brings together all the key players in the youth sector. The Forum is chaired by the Department of Education and includes representatives from the Education and Library Boards, the Youth Council for Northern Ireland, Department of Training and Education Inspectorate, The Northern Ireland Youth Forum and YouthNet who has five representatives from the voluntary youth sector. This is an important development which provides an arena for the voluntary youth sector to influence policy. A major piece of work for the Forum this year has been the development of the Northern Ireland Youth Work Strategy which is now in draft stage and is currently being consulted on. This is the first time a strategy has been developed and we will be working closely with our membership to contribute to this process.
Youth Work Training Board Brenda Mc Grann Youth Link Claire Conlon YouthAction Michele Taylor National Council of YMCAs Colette Slevin Mencap Stephen Carr Door Project (resigned May 04) Peter Hamill Church of Ireland (from May 04) Rainer Pagel PHAB Inclusion Matte
The strategy will provide the opportunity for the important contribution made by voluntary youth organisations in meeting the needs of young people, to be recognised and reflected. As part of the strategy development there have been ongoing discussions to redefine the roles and responsibilities of the statutory and voluntary players within the sector. YouthNet is keen to ensure that the principles of partnership are encapsulated within these discussions. Other areas of work have been the establishment of an under 10s panel, led by YouthNet, to examine the scale and scope of under 10s provision and make recommendations to the Forum for future delivery of this provision. The Forum have also initiated the Northern Ireland Youth Achievement Awards aimed at promoting youth work.
Department of Education Permanent Secretary YCNI International Committee Stephen Carr Door Project (resigned May 04) Peter Hamill Church of Ireland (from May 04) Colin Henderson Duke of Edinburgh Awards Paul Curran Boys and Girls Clubs Linda Leonard YouthNet Valerie Guiney Multicultural Resource Centre Geraldine Linford Girlguiding Ulster Curriculum Development Unit Joe Hawkins YouthNet Belfast City Council Youth Panel Denis Palmer YouthNet Children and Young People’s Sector Bill of Rights Lobby Group Elaine Campbell YouthNet Child Protection Regional CoOrdination Group Mary Field YouthNet Child Protection Accreditation Advisory Group Mary Field YouthNet
It has been established that members of the YouthNet Executive Committee meet with the Permanent Secretary twice a year. These meetings provide an important opportunity for mutual discussion on issues of relevance to the voluntary youth sector. YouthNet/Youth Council of Northern Ireland Since 2002, YouthNet and the Youth Council of Northern Ireland have set up and maintained regular meetings between the Chairperson and Chief Executive of the Council and the Chairperson and Director of YouthNet to exchange information and explore and debate issues pertinent to the voluntary youth sector. Curriculum Development Unit A major piece of work for the unit in the past year was the short-term study into models of youth work practice in operation in the Northern Ireland Youth Sector. The study was facilitated by YouthNet on behalf of the Unit and was undertaken by the independent consultant, Nora Greer. It illustrates a number of Models that are in operation and explores the commonality and differences of each, along with their correlation with that set out in “Youth Work: A Model for Effective Practice”. The author also makes recommendations as to how to continue the work of the Unit in this area. A summary of the study is planned for release in the coming months at which time the full report will be available on request. Also, in the past year further funding of up to £150,000 per year was agreed by the Department of Education for the Unit to continue its work in raising awareness of and embedding the central purpose and three core principles set out in “Youth Work: A Model for Effective Practice”. This further funding will extend the work of the Unit until March 2006. The management committee of the Unit has agreed a set of objectives and a work plan for the coming year; a copy of this is available from the new Senior Curriculum Development Officer, Alastair Mc Kinley.
Youth Work Training Board YouthNet has six representatives on the board and current issues under discussion are: - Exploring the validation of youth work training on an all island basis; - Mapping a coherent route for youth work training; and - The resourcing of training to meet the needs of the emerging youth work strategy. NGO Forum This Forum brings together representatives from the Children’s Sector and the Youth Sector. The Forum was convened by the Children and Young Persons Unit as part of the consultation exercise on the Children and Young Person’s Strategy and the Commissioner for Children and Young People. One of the roles of the Forum is to provide advice to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the components of a children and young person’s strategy and to advise on appropriate mechanisms for involving children and young people.
To assist in the development of the strategy during the year a number of working groups were set up to focus on particular areas of the strategy: •
YouthNet was represented on each of these groups to put forward the youth sector perspective and a draft strategy is due out for consultation shortly.
Equality Coalition Elaine Campbell YouthNet Governance Practice Group Claire O’Hare YouthNet Human Rights Consortium Elaine Campbell YouthNet JEDI Steering Group Denis Palmer YouthNet Paddy White Youth Link Doreen Tennis Girls Brigade Joint Consultative Forum Education Sector Mary Field/Elaine Campbell YouthNet Joint Government / Voluntary and Community Sector Forum Denis Palmer YouthNet June Trimble (Alternate) YouthAction Keeping Safe Trainers Coordinating Group Gillian Mc Clay YouthNet Millenium Volunteers Advisory Panel Geraldine Linford
Joint Government / Voluntary and Community Sector Forum YouthNet is represented on the Joint Government / Voluntary and Community Sector Forum Panel which is made up of 15 representatives from the voluntary and community sector. Each representative in turn nominate an alternate, who attend meetings on their behalf if they are unavailable.
NGO Forum Denis Palmer YouthNet
The Panel meets with the membership from government departments three times per year as the Joint Government / Voluntary and Community Sector Forum.
NI Youth Information Panel Linda Gordon YouthNet
The work plan for the coming year will focus on a range of themes including the final report of the Taskforce and its implementation; the next stage of developing the strategy to replace Partners for Change; the outcomes of the Review of Public Administration and of consultation on A Shared Future; feeding into the various stages of the Programme for Government; an Anti-Poverty strategy; the review by DSD of charity law; future EU funding and volunteering policy and strategy when the Active Communities Initiative ends.
SELB Youth Committee Linda Gordon YouthNet Michele Taylor National Council of YMCAs TSN/Geo Mapping Denis Palmer YouthNet Under 10s Panel Doreen Tennis (Chair) Girls Brigade Marguerite Hunter Blair Playboard Denis Palmer YouthNet University Course Consultative Panel (UUJ) Denis Palmer YouthNet Volunteer Development Agency Mary Field (Vice Chair) YouthNet Young Women Making it Work Partnership Mary Field YouthNet
Equality Coalition The Equality Coalition is a broad alliance of non-governmental organisations working to ensure that the statutory equality duty is put into practice, and to increase the public profile of the equality agenda in Northern Ireland. The Coalition consists of members of all the categories covered by Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act. In addition to sharing information and expertise on responses to public authorities, the Coalitionâ€™s members have also participated this year in a review of Section 75. Human Rights Consortium The Human Rights Consortium is a group of over 100 organisations campaigning for a strong and inclusive Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. Over the past year, the consortium has held events to highlight the importance of a Bill of Rights and met with all of the major political parties and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to put forward hopes and concerns for the Bill. Volunteer Development Agency
Youth Achievement Awards Panel Suzanne Thompson Young Citizens in Action
We continue to work in close partnership with the agency on a range of initiatives to promote volunteering and highlight the impact of policy initiatives on volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. During the year we held a number of joint consultations on the Review of Public Administration, Pathways for Change and are currently working in partnership in relation to the Single Equality Bill. We are also working closely with the Agency in relation to developments in the area of Child Protection and the implications of the accreditation clause in legislation.
Representation and Advocacy Advisory Council /Interest Groups From consultation with the membership, in relation to the setting up of an Advisory Council, what clearly emerged was the need for YouthNet to focus on the development of interest groups. As a preliminary step, in the establishment of the Council members clearly articulated the need for YouthNet to work closely with them to explore issues and develop their capacity. This was seen as an important first stage to enable members to effectively engage in an Advisory Council. Member organisations have already self–designated into interest groups and a number of group meetings have been facilitated throughout the year. For example, •
Faith-based interest group has been exploring training needs, and definitions of faith based youth work;
Creative and Arts interest group has been working on the issue of establishing an independent arts unit for the voluntary youth sector to co-ordinate arts work;
Disability interest group was facilitated to meet and form a response to the draft youth work strategy.
LGBT interest group received support to address issues they identified in relation to the needs and rights of all young people to be protected.
The research “ShOut” was formally launched in January 2004 by Nigel Williams the Commissioner for Children and Young People who stated that “this report has done us a great service and I would commend young peoples involvement….. The recommendations must be translated into concrete action…… I would encourage/ challenge DE to take up this agendamoving towards a secure environment of acceptance…”
Resources were secured from the Department of Education to support a collaborative approach in carrying out research into the needs of young people in Northern Ireland who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender. YouthNet worked with the Rainbow Project, GLYNI, Foyle Friend, VSB Young Citizens in Action and YouthAction NI in the ShOut research project.
Policy/Consultation During the year, with support from the Department, we were fortunate to appoint a Policy Officer to focus on this key element of our work. The Policy Officer has been engaged in: •
Policy translation and preparing briefings;
Circulating draft responses;
Supporting member organisations and interest groups to develop their own responses;
Preparing final YouthNet responses for submission to the relevant bodies.
During the year some of the key policy developments we consulted on and responded to highlighting issues for the voluntary youth sector were:•
Review of Public Administration
Task Force “Pathways For Change”
Big Lottery Fund
Human Rights Proposals
How Old is Old Enough ? Votes at 16
Membership Events Executive Committee and staff attended a range of membership events during the year, affording a valuable opportunity to recognise their contribution, exchange information and to keep up to date with developments in the sector.
Support To Membership With support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation we appointed a Development Officer to focus on capacity building with the membership, particularly in terms of compliance with legislation and the promotion of quality standards/models of best practice. We are currently in the process of carrying out a training needs analysis among the membership which will inform this work over the coming year. An example of this need for capacity building is illustrated through the intensive hands on support we have provided to the management committee of a volunteer led organisation to secure office accommodation, provide governance training, taking them through a selection and recruitment process culminating in the appointment of a Development Officer to progress their work.
Support and Development
Throughout the period we have also continued to respond to individual requests from member organisations, providing information and one to one support where required. Child Protection Accreditation/Charter Mark
Accreditation / Charter Mark Pilot Group
During the year we supported four member organisations to participate in the Accreditation/Charter Mark pilot. Through a process of self-assessment groups were assisted to identify gaps in their policies, procedures and practice and were supported to take action to work towards the achievement of the standard.
National Council of YMCA’s of Ireland YouthAction NI The Rainbow Project The Scout Association NI
As part of our ongoing work we will be supporting and encouraging other members to work towards this standard. Child Protection Training YouthNet worked in partnership with the Volunteer Development Agency, Our Duty to Care team, to support ten of our members to achieve Accredited Child Protection Training - ‘Keeping Safe’. Accredited trainers will be delivering certificated training within their own organisations and will also be available to provide training externally to other YouthNet members. This standard of training will be of enormous value to organisations that are seeking to achieve the Charter Mark in child protection standards. YouthNet will monitor and assess trainers annually to maintain their accreditation.
We hope to build on this resource by supporting another two trainers in the incoming year. LGBT Consortium In order to progress the recommendations made in the “ShOut” research a proposal was made to the Department of Education on behalf of a consortium of member organisations to develop a coordinated strategy which would seek to address the identified needs of young LGBT people in Northern Ireland. The Department of Education have provided the resources to enable the consortium to engage two development officers to work across the sector. LGBT Consortium • • • • • •
Challenge for Youth GLYNI The Rainbow Project YouthAction NI Young Citizens in Action YouthNet
Over the next two years the Development Officers through the provision of support, training and information will be working to promote the development of young LGBT people by focusing on :
Development and co-ordination of support services for young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. Capacity building within the LGBT sector and mainstream youth agencies.
This consortium will link with the Department of Education in the establishment of an interdepartmental task force whose key aim will be the development of longer-term policy and responses to LGBT issues. Promoting Education and Tolerance In partnership with YouthNet and Save the Children, The Rainbow Project conducted qualitative research with nineteen post-primary schools across Northern Ireland to investigate how schools combat homophobic bullying and how the needs
of young lesbian, gay and bisexual students are supported. This report complemented the findings of the â€œShOutâ€? research by giving schools the opportunity to articulate the barriers faced in supporting LGB students. While schools were keen to support all students, regardless of sexual orientation, the report highlighted that 95% of schools requested information, resources and training to address the needs of LGB students. Schools were candid in explaining the lack of knowledge and skills within teaching staff to deal with the many issues facing LGB young people. This confidential research report has been forwarded to a number of key educational professionals and should serve to inform inclusive policies in the future to protect the safety and welfare of all students. Sub-regional During the year we have been approached by a number of youth organisations working at local level who have raised issues of concern, particularly, in relation to human resource management, funding arrangements and the lack of clear support structures to which they can relate. We recognise that there is a need for these organisations, working at local level, to have access to a structure which provides the mechanism for representation, advocacy and support and development opportunities. YouthNet would be keen to ensure that this need is addressed through the development of the NI youth work strategy.
Youth Participation YouthNet is committed to encouraging and supporting its membership to engage young people at all levels within their organisation. We work closely with the NI Youth Forum and have been involved in the following partnership initiatives. Engage Youth Programme
Quotes from participants:
“More aware of politics. More aware of the jobs of local politicians and MLAs. More likely to take an interest.” “It’s a good experience. A real learning experience. Lets you hear the views of people from other backgrounds.” “ ‘Are you more likely to vote?’ ‘Yes, in that recognising that 1 or 2 votes can make a big difference.’ “
The Project is organised and delivered through a partnership between YouthNet and the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, funded through the Youth Council for Northern Ireland. Engage Youth is supported by the Northern Ireland Assembly staff and in particular the Assembly’s education officers and the offices of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The Engage Youth Programme is a political education model, based on the non-formal education processes used in youth work for personal and social development. The processes support the principle of encouraging the active participation of young people in the group with the aim that they begin to create their own agenda for decision making, action, evaluation and learning. Through this they are empowered to take on new responsibilities and courses of action that recognise their own needs and the needs of others. The first Engage Youth Project was delivered in 2002-2003 and again in 2004. Taking into account the evaluation of the first programme a different approach was taken in 2004 and strategic partnerships were developed with organisations to deliver the programme at local level. Three partners were involved: Cooperation Ireland, Newry Volunteer Bureau/SELB, and St. Columb’s Park House.
The partner organisations recruited young people and delivered a series of training at local level. This was followed by a residential element where all the local groups came together and there was an opportunity to meet with MLAs and pose questions. Following two Research and Committee days the participants put forward various motions to be debated and voted on in a senate debate in the Assembly chaired by the Deputy speaker.
Youth Impact In 2002, YouthNet in partnership with the NI Youth Forum, developed a programme aimed at building the capacity of young people to engage with existing and emerging participative structures. The programme was funded through CFNI Peace II (2.6 Social Inclusion and Reconciliation – Promoting Active Citizenship) recognising the contribution of the programme to peace-building in Northern Ireland The programme, “Youth Impact,” aimed to provide a range of training and support, targeting young people from within disadvantaged communities and groupings, particularly from within the identified categories of the Section 75 legislation. Youth Impact is a youth participation programme which is comprised of a variety of personal development and cultural awareness training sessions. These are designed to foster new skills and encourage confidence and feelings of self-worth whilst improving relations between young people of various backgrounds. Youth Impact provides fun and exciting training opportunities for young people across Northern Ireland so that they may be better prepared and more enthusiastic about taking part in opportunities to have their voice heard. This programme encourages them to have a real and direct influence in the making of decisions affecting their communities and their lives. Each programme has been tailored to meet the needs of the young people involved, resulting in a flexible programme that prioritises the needs and interests of the participants over strict adherence to a rigid structure.
Youth Impact participants have included: •
• • • • •
Young people from a deprived socioeconomic area of North Belfast Young people in care Chinese young people Visually impaired and blind young people Young women from the Traveller community Young people with physical disabilities
The underlying aim is to help the young person continue to pursue their involvement in as many other areas for participation as possible, within and outside of youth work, by taking advantage of the many opportunities open to them. For example, participants have been involved in numerous consultations and have been supported to explore the possibility of sitting on the management committees of their own organisations.
Information and Communications
Members Survey A representative survey of members was carried out between September and December 2003. This was an opportunity to: • • • •
Meet with new members of staff within each agency Bring members up to date with the range of services offered by YouthNet Seek their opinion on services offered Check contact information for accuracy
As a result of the survey, an ICT group was formed. This offers a forum for those who have the role of IT support in their organisations, to come together to share information and technical knowledge and offer support to each other. It was also suggested that the Member’s Directory should be maintained online with an annual paper copy to be distributed to members. The survey also showed that the weekly electronic information bulletin, Epipe, is also valued by members, who appreciated its regularity and focus on youth issues. Member organisations continue to use Epipe to showcase their work to the rest of the youth work sector as well as to the growing numbers of other agencies who subscribe to it. YouthNet Website The website has continued to develop with new sections being added e.g. Information Management which has a range of briefing papers related to data and information topics e.g. Data Protection, Internet and email policies. In support of the Advisory Council, a section has also been added to the members only area which will allow each Interest Group to post reports/minutes/items of interest. This section will expand as the number of interest groups grows.
A significant amount of time has also been invested in keeping the site up to date, so that information, briefing papers and reports can be easily obtained by member agencies and others.
Youth Information •
NI Youth Information Panel – Led by the WELB, the Panel was successful in securing EPF monies through the Department of Education to develop a new Northern Ireland wide youth information website. It is hoped that this will be launched in early 2005. A wide range of information about YouthNet and its member organisations has been contributed to the website and this will be updated on a regular basis.
EU Youth Portal – The Portal was launched in June 2004, with YouthLink Scotland having overall responsibility for collating information for the UK section of the site. YouthNet supplied much of the information from Northern Ireland relating to youth issues and youth affairs. Again, this will be updated on a regular basis. Closer links with Eurodesk are envisaged and YouthNet is currently exploring the option to become a cooperation partner with Eurodesk, which will allow YouthNet to disseminate Eurodesk european information to member organisations.
New Server A significant step forward in improving both internal and external communications was taken in June 2004 when a new server was installed. This was long overdue, as the old server had not been updated since its installation in 1995 and its limited capacity was hampering progress. The new system has already increased internal communication as it offers an enhanced contact management which enables staff to keep up to date and automates routine tasks. In addition, the new server will be easier to maintain and update. Troubleshooting and updating work on the new system continued after installation and the Communications Officer received intensive training in its management. The first stage of development of the intranet has now been completed and will be integrated into the new server set-up.
Grant Giving King George VI Youth Awards YouthNet continued to provide administrative support for the Awards which are aimed at supporting youth work at local level, offering grants to small projects as well as supporting individual young people undertaking personal development programmes. In 2003/2004, eighteen awards were granted, from a total of 37 applications received throughout the year. The average grant was £222. Contributions were made to a wide range of projects and individuals, ranging from outdoor pursuit training to peer education workshops. Further information and application forms are available on our website.
King George VI Youth Awards Panel Linda Leonard Lindsay Taylor Willie Wickens Ciaran Mc Grath Evelyn Waring King George VI Council Eric Rainey Alex Hunter Frank Hood Doreen Tennis
Peace II - YESIP Since our last annual report much of the representation, advocacy, support and development work of the Peace II Team has been overshadowed by the persistent issue and pressure of N+2. This is a term that entered the language of the Peace II Programme almost two years ago and isn’t likely to go away for another few years yet. Very simply, N+2 is the EU device for tracking and identifying levels of spend at fixed points in the operation of all structural fund programmes across the Union. In the past, for example in Peace 1, it wasn’t an issue. However, in this round of structural funds it is being applied rigorously and the pressure is on to achieve spend targets or lose it. So it is little wonder that we have become quite pre-occupied with project spend. In an effort to maximise our funding commitment level, we invited all projects to bid in April of this year for further monies for additional activities that could be undertaken substantially in this calendar year. This was a double edged initiative in that it was about protecting the value of the monies available to the non-formal education sector and increasing spend. It resulted in an additional £700,000 being committed to the non-formal sector of which more than half was planned to contribute to the N+2 2004 target. However, it meant that for the three months up to July this was the primary focus of the staff team, leaving very limited time to provide the development support that underpins our approach as a sectoral partner. For the months since our focus has been on supporting spend, which at least has the value of increasing activity, making pieces of work happen and maximising or bringing additional benefits to participating young people. But rather than let the issue overshadow this report to the extent it has our work load we will move on and illustrate some of our work under the agency’s key functions. Representation and Advocacy In the past year we have been active in advocating on behalf of the non-formal education sector around the management and implementation of the Programme, sharing, not just our own frustration, but reflecting and representing the continued experience of projects in receipt of funding, and the past voice of unsuccessful applicants. The primary vehicles for this aspect of our work has been: ·
Through a submission to the Mid-term Evaluation of the Programme;
Participating in the 60 Day Action Team process; Responding to SEUPB’s Service Delivery Standards.
A major issue for the non-formal education sector with these consultations was that, to some degree, they came too late in the operation of the Programme. With around 80% of our funding already committed to projects, the sector had little opportunity to benefit from the subsequent production of reports, positive changes and opportunity that came with each. However, with an eye to the future and the anticipated announcement on an extension to Peace II and possibility of a Peace III, we hope that none of our effort has been in vain. Although, much of what we contributed to the debate on the operation of the Programme is what we had been saying even prior to it starting!
We would like to thank the following for giving so generously of their time and expertise, in particular, Jim Cooper, for his support in chairing the Youth Sector Partnership and Selection Panel Meetings YESIP Denis Palmer June Trimble Derek Capper Joseph Hawkins
Support and Development
Youth Sector Partnership
The work of the team in respect of supporting and developing the voluntary and community youth sector is varied and has included everything on the finance side from setting up basic book keeping systems through to complex computerised systems for tracking and accounting for spend across six partner organisations, so as the project can get on with the delivery of their work with some confidence.
Jim Cooper (Chair) Doreen Tennis Paddy White Colette Slevin Marian Stewart Sarah Jane Waite Stephen Reynolds Jamie Morrison Gerard Doran Jimmy Peel Gerry Devine
On the non-financial side it has been about helping organisations develop realistic project plans, prioritise workload, identify a clear target group and establish manageable and relevant recording and monitoring systems. Again, this is to ensure that the capacity and confidence is in place to deliver the project without fear of falling foul of some regulation or other. Much of this work takes place along side key staff within organisations in receipt of funding so its impact extends beyond that of the project funded through YESIP. Our intention in these circumstances is to build capacity within the parent organisation. Mercifully, this type of capacity building is one of the areas that ESF is interested in and supports. Unfortunately, the relentless pressure to support spend within fixed timeframes has detracted from our ability to carry out this aspect of our role. As we approach the key dates for an announcement on an extension to the Peace II Programme and the likely scenario of having to bid to be part of its delivery mechanism, it is clear that the time available to us in the coming period to support develop and build capacity will be equally diminished.
Statement of financial activities Year ended 31 March 2004 Unrestricted Note
Incoming resources Membership and other fees Income from charitable trading activities: Grants receivable Interest receivable Other income
453,726 5,572 -
555,684 5,572 675
597,119 2,305 6,623
Transfer between funds
Net incoming resources for the year Balances brought forward
Total incoming resources Resources expended Charitable expenditure Costs in furtherance of charitable objects Management and administration
Total resources expended 9 Net incoming resources before transfers
Balances carried forward
The charity has no recognised gains or losses other than the results for the year as set out above. All of the activities of the charity are classed as continuing.
A full set of Financial Statements are available from YouthNet office on request. The notes on pages 10 to 18 form part of these financial statements
Balance sheet 31 March 2004 2004 Note
Fixed assets Tangible assets
Current assets Stocks Debtors Cash at bank and in hand
Creditors: Amounts falling due within one year 15 Net current assets Total assets less current liabilities
650 128,086 274,095
650 89,058 279,844
Funds Restricted Unrestricted
These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the special provisions for small companies under Part VIII of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. These financial statements were approved by the members of the board on the 15 September 2004 and are signed on their behalf by:
David McClarin - Chairperson
Derek Capper – Treasurer
Strategic Aims and Objectives
AIM 1 To sustain develop, represent and advocate on behalf of the network of voluntary youth organisations. Objectives 1. To develop a resource strategy. 2. To represent, provide information, support and development opportunities for member groups. 3. To broaden the membership base. AIM 2 To enhance the quality of youth work practice at a local, national and international level. Objectives 1. To increase the capacity of voluntary youth organisations to develop effective practice 2. To value, promote and disseminate effective practice. AIM 3 To ensure effective organisational management and development. Objectives 1. To establish and maintain a strategic planning process. 2. To provide effective management and development of Human Resources. 3. To provide effective management of Financial Resources. 4. To provide and maintain adequate Physical Resources. 5. To ensure effective organisational development.
Vision YouthNetâ€™s vision is of an inclusive and equitable society that values young people and actively develops their contribution to achieve this, within a local, national and international context.
Mission Statement YouthNet is a strategic network of Voluntary Youth Organisations. It exists to work with and advocate on behalf of its membership, to represent, support and develop their interests and aspirations and to promote the independent voice of the voluntary youth sector.
Values and Principles
Vision, Mission, Values, and Principles
YouthNet is committed to: o The emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, social and political development of young people. o The development of confident and skilled young people who are able to make informed, critical decisions and exercise their rights as citizens by contributing to and benefiting from a more participatory democracy. o The principles interdependence.
o The promotion of a peaceful, just and stable society. o The principle and practice of developing relevant partnerships and working collaboratively. o Being responsive and accountable to its membership. o Recognising, valuing and promoting volunteers and volunteering. o The promotion and dissemination of learning, best practice and quality standards. o Open and transparent processes.
YouthNet Membership 2003 - 2004
Full Members Action Mental Health – VOTE Project Army Cadet Force Association Baptist Youth Belfast Community Circus School Belfast Door Project Black Youth Network The Boys’ Brigade Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Northern Ireland Brook, Belfast The BYTES Project Cathog Catholic Guides of Ireland Challenge for Youth Children’s Law Centre Chinese Welfare Association Church of Ireland Youth Council Cinemagic Contact Youth Co-operation Ireland Corrymeela Community Department of Youth & Childrens’ Work (Methodist Church) Disability Action Youth Project Down’s Syndrome Association Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Extern Frontier Youth Trust GLYNI The Girls’ Brigade Girls Friendly Society GirlGuiding UK, Province of Ulster Harmony Community Trust Hope UK Hostelling International International Voluntary Service Mencap Multi Cultural Resource Centre NIACRO National Council of YMCA’s of Ireland Newry Volunteer Bureau NICHS NI Council for Ethnic Minorities NI Deaf Youth Association
NI Forces Youth Service NI Scout Council NI Women’s Aid Federation –Young Person’s Development Project One World Centre PHAB NI Inclusion Matters Playboard Presbyterian Youth Department The Prince’s Trust Public Achievement The Rainbow Project Raleigh International Red Cross Youth St John Ambulance Scouting Ireland CSI Share Centre The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust Voice of Young People in Care Voluntary Service Bureau Wheelworks Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster Young Travellers Education Project - BTEDG YouthAction YouthCom Youth Initiatives Youth Link NI
YouthNet Membership 2003 - 2004
Affiliate Members Armagh and Dungannon HSS Trust -Community Development Team Belfast Education and Library Board Community Relations Youth Work Network NI Citizen’s Advice Bureau NSPCC NUS/USI North Eastern Education and Library Board The Police Service of Northern Ireland -Community Involvement Branch Probation Board for Northern Ireland South Eastern Education and Library Board Southern Education and Library Board Western Education and Library Board
We would like to thank the following who have supported our work during the year: • BT • Department of Education • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation • Youth Council for Northern Ireland