YouthLink Scotland is confident that the youth work sector can help Scottish Government and its partners keep The Promise by 2030. The organisation is re-committing to work with all of our stakeholders and The Promise Scotland, listening to the voices and experiences of our children, young people and youth workers with care experience.
We share the Scottish Government’s vision that all of Scotland’s young people grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential. To achieve this, we must do all we can to ensure our children grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding. The behavioural intent of youth work supports this aim.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of leaders in understanding the disproportionate impacts on different groups of young people and the need to respond to the consequences through an intersectional lens. As the National Agency for youth work, fundamental to our approach at YouthLink Scotland, is prioritising the rights of young people. Further, taking a rights-based approach is embedded into our national youth work outcomes and skills framework, with GIRFEC and UNCRC as necessary and integral features.
We know youth workers are essential in engaging young people, often furthest from mainstream services. The youth work approach embodies the fundamental principles inherent in The Promise, placing relationships and love at the heart of working alongside young people – which, in turn, supports meeting many of the aims of the Promise and helping to deliver the renewed Scottish Government Implementation Plan (2022-2026).
As part of our own renewed commitment to delivering on The Promise by 2030, we will:
- Continue to work with all of our stakeholders and The Promise Scotland, listening to the voices and experiences of our children, young people and youth workers with care experience.
- Ensure our work plans at YouthLink are commensurate with our commitment to equality and community.
- In developing reviews of grants, we will build on the evidence, including through ongoing data gathering, and engagement with stakeholders and people with lived experience. This will ensure that any potential impacts of policies can be fully explored and appropriate adjustment or targeted activity taken.
- Continue to be informed by the youth work sector’s response to the impacts of COVID-19 on those communities who already face barriers to participation, including but not limited to care-experienced young people and those at risk of becoming care experienced.
- Incorporate further training on intersectionality into the core business of the organisation
- Investigate how we can build greater policy coherence and improve how we centre evidence and lived experience of young people and youth workers (who often work across teams in local government and Voluntary settings) in policy-making. More directly, we will continue to support the sector to provide the necessary space and time to amplify the voice of young people and reflect their needs and aspirations in policymaking.
- We will actively encourage input from care-experienced young people’s organisations who are members of YouthLink Scotland to ensure their needs are reflected in action planning that aids the delivery of the Promise Action Plan.
- More broadly, we ensure that equality and human rights considerations inform policy development, considering how the role of youth workers can meet critical policy outcomes.
- We will continue to support the sector in communicating what they are doing to meet the actions and commitments set out in the Promise Implementation Plan.
- Help with data mapping, collection and support with evaluation.