Community Based Research Findings Released

During 2019, a yearlong Research Project to investigate the impacts of Community Based Youth Work in Dumfries and Galloway was carried out in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, YouthLink Scotland, Northern Star and the University of Edinburgh.

The research study, endorsed by University of Edinburgh, used a Transformative Evaluation Methodology and trained Youth Workers from across the region to collect 100 young people’s personal reflections of significant changes to their lives as a result of participating in community-based Youth Work in their local areas. Dumfries and Galloway is the first local authority in Scotland to carry out research into the impact of Youth Work on young people.

The launch event on Monday 10 February saw the findings released. The Key Findings from the research included:

• 82% of young people identified improvements in their confidence and self-esteem as a result of attending universal Youth Work provision.
• 72% of young people said participation in Youth Work enables them to develop their skills that help them navigate their lives and the challenges they face.
• 71% of the stories gathered from young people stated that Youth Work had helped them to feel equal and included.
• 68% had came to a positive destination by attending Youth Work in terms of gaining employment, getting training opportunities, taking on volunteering roles and starting in full-time education.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Young Peoples Champion Councillor Adam Wilson said of the research;

“Dumfries and Galloway are the first local authority in Scotland to carry out research specifically looking at how Youth Work impacts young people within our communities across the region. The stories found during this yearlong process demonstrate the significant impacts that Youth Work provision has on the lives of our young people and also evidences the clear quality of our Youth Work practice here in Dumfries & Galloway.”

Dr Ian Fyfe, Senior Lecturer at University of Edinburgh said;

“The findings of this collaborative research project add to the growing body of evidence that demonstrates the impact of universal youth work in Scotland. The voices of young people are central to this study. Their reflective stories confirm the significant influence of local youth work services across the communities of Dumfries and Galloway in supporting young people achieve their potential.”

The research findings will provide professionals and their organisations with some key insights moving forward and reinforces the fundamental role that Youth Work plays within our local communities and the significant and life changing impacts it is having on our young people.

YouthLink Scotland Chief Executive Tim Frew said;

“This research provides clear evidence that community-based youth work supports young people to increase in confidence, develop skills, feel equal and included and find positive progression routes into employment. The findings build a strong case for the need to invest in community-based youth work in Scotland.”

The report is available online at www.dumgal.gov.uk

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