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Power of youth work celebrated at special event thanks to £25,000 grant funding

March 21, 2023

Last month, the achievements of 15 newly qualified youth workers were celebrated at a special certificate presentation event at Dillington House, Somerset.

The event, which was hosted by the Somerset Youth Work Alliance (SYWA), brought together over 50 guests including youth workers, young people, councillors and commissioners, to celebrate and champion youth provision in the county. The training was made possible thanks in part to £25,000 of grant funding (money that does not need to be paid back) from Somerset Community Foundation which was awarded as a result of a joint application made by the SYWA and Spark Somerset.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’re really pleased to have supported the development of the Somerset Youth Work Alliance over the last 2 years through two of the funds that we manage. The first was a £10,000 grant from the Government’s #iwill Fund, and then a £15,000 grant a year later from our Somerset Community Partnership Fund, which is supported by Somerset County Council.

A group of 21 youth workers, young people, councillors and commissioners celebrating, cheering, waving, holding certificates

Youth workers, young people, councillors and commissioners recently came together to celebrate and champion youth provision in the county.

“We believe that youth work is an important part of our county’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, and that by funding the creation of infrastructure support for youth work providers, we’re helping to invest in the long term future of these local groups.”

Lesley Power, one of 15 learners to receive a certificate, said: “The course helped me develop a better understanding of youth work and led to me becoming a Lead Youth Worker for In The Mix Project [providing youth and community services across Somerset]. I now feel a lot more confident in my role. It was a lovely event, I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing the other students again.”

Councillor Caroline Ellis, who attended the event said: “It was a fantastic morning. Youth work is as important as education and health care for young people’s life chances – and time it had more recognition and sustainable funding. The Alliance, supported by Spark Somerset, has achieved amazing things with their partnership, setting up the training programme and focusing the minds of politicians on how we support their life enhancing, life changing and sometimes life-saving work.”

Sara Iles, VCFSE Partnerships Manager at Spark Somerset, who facilitated the event said: “It is an exciting time for the development of youth work provision in the county, thanks to the collaborative efforts and expertise of our members who are working hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people in Somerset.”

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

The Somerset Youth Work Alliance is a collaboration of voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises involved in delivering youth work provision in the county, facilitated by Spark Somerset, working together to achieve their vision of a high-quality, co-produced and inclusive youth offer in Somerset.


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