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07 January 2013

In 2012 we held four focus groups with 18 of our member clubs. These groups were run independently by the research company GFK-NOP who donated their time to us. The members who took part shared their feedback with us on what it is like to be a London Youth member, and where and how we can do better.

This work followed a membership survey last year, the results of which can be found here. The results of the membership survey and focus groups, while only indicative of the entire membership, lead us to some conclusions which are feeding into our organisation strategy.

We would very much like to thank GFK-NOP for running this very valuable process, and also to thank our members for taking part; they all contributed greatly and gave feedback which has been hugely helpful.

The members who took part in the focus groups were:

  • Furzedown Youth Centre      
  • Paradise Zone
  • Alford House  
  • The Winchester Project
  • Pembrooke House
  • Oasis Waterloo           
  • WAC Performing Arts
  • The Salmon Centre
  • Rathbone Youth Club
  • Metro Judo Club
  • The Squad     
  • Queen’s Crescent Community Association
  • Prospex                      
  • Dragon Hall   
  • Samuel Montague
  • Devas Club    
  • Crown and Manor
  • Hackney Quest                      

To see a copy of the full report, produced by GFK-NOP, please email hello@londonyouth.org.uk. Some key findings include:

The current youth work landscape

  • Youth workers are under a great deal of time pressure, with fundraising noted as a particular challenge
  • Competition for funding can mean that collaboration between youth clubs in the same borough is limited, however members noted the great value of being able to share practice and knowledge between clubs
  • London Youth can help members by providing opportunities and forums for members to network and share with each other, and can also develop our role in helping members identify and approach fundraising

A voice for youth work in London

  • Member clubs would like to have a stronger sense of the London Youth brand in order to feel better connected to the organisation
  • London Youth needs to better communicate to members the work of our programmes (beyond training and quality standards work); whilst quality of programme delivery is high, awareness among members of our youth action work is quite low, and members would benefit from more communication about programmes
  • Members want support to build a positive perception of young people and of youth work, and, more broadly, are keen to see the campaigning and advocacy role of London Youth developed, although not at the expense of anything else that we offer

The development of youth clubs and supporting youth workers

  • There is a shared vision among members of the progression of youth clubs – as sustainable social enterprises that are firmly rooted in the community
  • The London Youth Quality Mark is felt to be very valuable. One way to help members to share skills could be to introduce working towards the Quality Mark as a cohort
  • London Youth training programmes are well received but as members are under increasing financial pressures they are not always able to invest in training

Opportunities for young people

  • As above, membership awareness of specific programmes needs to be developed; most awareness is of the residential centres and sports programme, but our youth action work is less well known of and understood
  • London Youth residential centres are popular with members, but some useful feedback around price and booking processes was given
  • Members felt a need for programmes which help to develop youth workers ability to deal with the emotional needs of young people. For example, employability was a specific area of focus in the research process and it was identified that London Youth could help youth workers to support young people with negotiating the job market emotionally as well as practically

Next steps
We would be very keen to hear further thoughts from members, so please do get in touch if you would like to talk to us about anything raised, or that you feel was missed, in the research.

We are also holding our AGM on Tuesday 12th March from 4-7pm at our offices, and would be delighted if you would like to join us to discuss the network going forwards.