The Impact of Universal Youth Work

We have been adding to our evidence base to demonstrate the impact of universal youth work and to better understand the unique role that youth workers play in young people’s lives.

In 2015 a critical review of the literature on Universal Youth Work conducted by the Edinburgh Youth Work Consortium and University of Edinburgh found that: 

‘Universal youth work has the potential to contribute to a range of important outcomes and achievements for young people, in particular health and wellbeing, educational attainment and employment. [That said,] the youth work sector need to be more informed about the nature and purpose of their impact through ongoing longitudinal research.’ 

The review also concluded that there was a need for further research through engaging the youth work sector including young people themselves as active research partners. This series of studies, aims to add to the evidence base of the impact of community-based universal youth work and then digital youth work during COVID-19. Each study uses Dr Sue Cooper’s Transformative Evaluation methodology, to examine both the impact of universal youth work and how that impact has been achieved. 

Impact of Universal Youth Work

Our playlist of short films includes impact stories from young people whose lives have been changed for the better by high-quality youth work.

Research Papers

The following research papers adopt the participatory research methodology, Transformative Evaluation, in which 347 young people have shared the impact of youth work in their lives, supporting them to: 

We know through this research youth work achieves these impacts through: 

Contact our Research Team

We're here to help with any research enquiries you have. If you are interested in hearing more about these studies, contact our Senior Policy & Research Officer Dr Amy Calder.