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09 September 2015

As an organisation we have tried to be at the forefront of showcasing the value of good youth work and its effectiveness and impact. Having worked as an early adopter with the Centre for Youth Impact during 2014-2015 we started supporting four of our members with doing this themselves. We are now pleased to be able to roll out and scale up this work to 20 members in the next two years through Defining Success thanks to support from the City Bridge Trust.

On Thursday 3rd September, a group of youth workers from the first cohort of ten participating organisations, came together for a kick-off meeting to discuss the usefulness of ‘evidence’ and ‘impact’ in relation to the work that they already carry out.

Led by staff members from our Membership Development and Learning teams, the meeting focused on how evidence could be collated in a way that was reasonable and realistic considering the paperwork that such evaluation work may generate. With resources quite stretched already, having time to take on this additional work, no matter how valuable, was not always easy to prioritise and this was recognised by the group.

All participants accepted that there would be challenges to overcome during the upcoming year whilst the programme was rolled out, but it was also considered that the benefits to be gained at the conclusion of the programme would be immensely beneficial and very pleasing for all involved.

This exercise gives practitioners the tools to evaluate their own work and as a result of this, feel proud of their work. They will be challenged to justify the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the work they deliver. As a result, they will essentially be making the implicit much more explicit. Through participation in the programme these organisations, alongside London Youth, want to position themselves to work with funders and policy-makers to raise the profile of the youth sector and its effectiveness across London, making a commitment to evidencing and evaluating the impact of our work.

To read more about what our Head of Learning, Dimitrios Tourountsis, thinks about Defining Success, check out his blog on the Project Oracle website here

Photography credit Miles Willis