Our work at YouthBorders
YouthBorders takes great pride in the support and advice it gives to members and to speak on their behalf at all levels, representing their voice and the voice of young people in the Scottish Borders. Our work varies from all aspects typical of a key membership organisation from supporting the crucial work our members do to identifying cross Borders projects and self-evaluation to help build capacity and expertise in the sector. Most of all we are delighted that we are now recognised as the one stop shop for Council, NHS, National Bodies, Parliament Committees, funders and partners to speak to our sector and to promote the incredible work our members and young people do across the region.
The strategic role of YouthBorders is of key importance to our members and has grown significantly in the past 12 months. By adding value and ensuring that we are speaking as one voice on behalf of our members and young people, we have consolidated our role on many public and third sector bodies and committees, including as a key partner at the Joint Services Children and Young People’s Leadership Group. We have also played an active role in consultations and policy development at a local, regional and national level as well as built many new links and discussions with funders
Over the past year, YouthBorders has:
- Represented the third sector on the Joint Inspection on Services for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders meetings and focus groups, coming out as a best practice example in the Inspection Report (see our impact page)
- Coordinated the Specialist Youth Network, feeding in their concerns around funding, mental health, transport and complex needs
- Built up networks and opportunities for members to be involved in policy development, funding partnerships and sharing best practice
- Worked hard on partnership work with CLD and other partners from all sectors, developing business and employability links in particular
- Raised awareness of youth work outcomes and the need to show our value (supporting Youth Link Scotland’s national research programme to show the quantitive value of youth work)
- Joined forces to raise awareness of the importance and key role of volunteering
- Promoted key issues of mental health, inclusion, participation, funding and the developing complex needs and parenting strategies
- Held talks with many national funders to speak on behalf of the sector and the needs for core generic youth work as well as project work
- Built national and regional partnerships across the Youth Scotland network to work together on key issues of important to the sector
- Developed greater training partnerships and opportunities to build the skills and capacity of our members
Membership Support and Development
As a membership organisation this is an important part of what we do—we aim to facilitate the invaluable work youth groups do, promoting effective and best practice youth work and providing effective and bespoke support.
We provide support to our growing member youth groups through:
- A weekly E-bulletin to members and all partners (over 340 recipients) outlining news, funding opportunities, strategy decisions, resources, jobs and training
- Membership forms and insurance, surveys and evaluation
- Policy templates to ensure members are up to date, protected and best practice
- Governance training and support for Boards and groups
- PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) service, processing forms with Youth Scotland, offering advice and carrying out ID verifications. Over the past year we have processed 95 PVGs and liaised with all members to ensure they are covered
- Bespoke one-on-one meetings to assess individual member needs
- A full training calendar, free to all members, building capacity and skills
- Social media and Press Relations (PR). Our website has been re-designed and developed in-house to support our members. Our website now includes information on all aspects of the work we do, how we can support our members, latest news and local information through a regularly updated blog page and ‘what’s on’ page run by the young people of our members here in the Scottish Borders. Thanks to the kind sponsorship of Andrew McEwan from ’And We Do This’
- In November 2015, we carried out a full survey of our members to evaluate our impact and to identify key training and support needs. We then recruited a Membership Development Officer (Kris Chapman) to give more personal support to members and assess need. Another survey will be sent out soon to ensure we continue to offer the best service possible
Youth Music Forum - Sound Cycle
Following an extensive survey 2 years ago called Sounding Out (with the support of Creative Scotland), it was agreed that the youth music scene throughout the Scottish Borders needed to be invigorated and provide more opportunities for young people to access music and to develop an interest in music, in any form. As a result in partnership with SBC Arts Development (now LIVE Borders) YouthBorders set up a Youth Music Forum project to develop the forum idea in the Borders and to build opportunities in music for young people across the region and beyond, whether in listening, participating, performing, awareness raising, workshops, skills, jobs or just pure enjoyment. James Mackintosh the renowned musician and performer was recruited and on 12 hours a week has developed the project hugely over the past 8 months.
A brand Sound Cycle was developed and around this banner there have been training sessions, workshops, master classes and most of all opportunities to perform in the Borders (at the Sound Out Festival, Mac Arts, Borders Book Festival, Off the Record) and nationally (The Exchange in Glasgow), with over 35 opportunities in total. Most important a much needed website has been launched highlighting opportunities and events but also providing a Music Directory for the Borders (see www.soundcycle.org). Thas have also been sharing of resources around gear, PA systems and workshops around what varied opportunities there are to work in the music industry from setting up gigs to recording tracks.
As well as sharing resources and running events, for those serious about pursuing a career in music Sound Cycle collaborates with our partners and provide opportunities to visit music and music technology courses and other exciting events throughout Scotland.
The Forum has developed a key group of experts willing to offer their advice and support the project and is building up a key networking of young people as part of the Forum and Sound Cycle. If you would like to be involved please let us know.
Finally, if you have any amount of interest, be it in singing, playing, filming, teaching, recording, sound engineering, DJing, stage management, backline, sound mixing, sleeve design or anything else musical, please get involved and sign up. We will keep you posted of our planned events. Please get in touch if you have any news, pictures, demo’s, videos etc for inclusion on the site.
Sexual Health & Relationship Guidance
Sexual Health & Relationship Training and Advice is a partnership programme by YouthBorders and NHS Borders.
The project aims to equip youth workers and practitioners to feel more confident to engage in sensitive conversations with the young people they work with in regards to sexual health and relationships. By pulling together these sensitive topics and conversations, alongside youth work engagement techniques, this Youth Borders / NHS Borders joint programme has turned what has been traditionally perceived as a difficult conversation into a simple and effective chat with young people which both parties benefit from.
This programme offers core and bespoke training to meet the needs of youth workers and practitioners. Over the past year the programme has offered out over 91 training sessions – some of these to groups of workers, others to peer leaders and other to young people in the groups to see what they would like discussed.
This is just some of the training we offer:
- Sexual Health Awareness
- C Card
- Youth People and Self Esteem
- Youth People and Body Image
- Prevention of Teenage Relationship Exploitation
- Healthy Relationships
Most recently Julie has been involved in developing a theatre production around ‘Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby” which was held to some S2 and all S4s in all the 9 High Schools in the Borders. This is all built as part of the Borders NHS Sexual Health Strategy and again is another way of working in partnership to ensure the best possible choice and outcomes for young people. Julie also works with CLD on developing the First Steps training programme in Youth Work, with Youth Scotland on developing the PDA in Youth Work and her sexual health training programme and sits on key strategic groups with the Council to develop training opportunities to the Third Sector.
Volunteering in Youth Work
Through funding from Volunteer Action Fund (VAF), YouthBorders developed a volunteering capacity project in 5 areas of the Borders, to grow support for volunteers and the youth groups they work in. Developing induction and volunteer packs, training and skills, the project successfully recruited 110 volunteers in total and led to further funding from VAF in April 2016 to roll out the successful capacity building across the rest of the membership to support to smaller, voluntary and more specialised groups in particular.
Volunteering is key to everything we and our members do – without volunteers many groups wouldn’t exist and Boards would not be supported and therefore it is important we provide the right training, support and guidance to all volunteers involved in youth work. We continue to work with many other agencies and partners to ensure we have best practices in place and to encourage take up of volunteering in our youth organisations. We provide support to those who wish to develop a career in youth work or build their skills for different projects and future employment opportunities.
If you are interested in volunteering as a worker, placement, skills development or as a trustee then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Kris.