Great news for the unpaid work scheme victims!

Well previously many people have blogged/reported about the unpaid work scheme that people have to partake in when on jobseekers allowance (JSA) in order to keep their benefits (see previous blog here

Now companies are starting to back out of the scheme and pressure is being put more companies to join in to see a full article here

Hopefully the government JSA scheme can be replaced by some other attempt to help people become employable, maybe a scheme were they do either get paid or have a choice in whether they participate.

Comments welcome



What does popcorn and garlic have in common at youth club?

The answer is that they both end up on the floor!!

Last week a couple of young males went into the kitchen took garlic from the cupboard and threw it at their friends (meaning it went all over youth club). It’s surprising how quick a clove of garlic gets EVERYWHERE at youth club!!!

This week (film night) individuals had popcorn, which a different group of young males decided to throw around at each other, causing a mess that took them half an hour to clean!

In order to encourage these members (who are very nice valued members of youth club, they just like throwing food at each other) to take a more responsible approach to being at youth club we have decided to invite them to our planning meeting next term. We are hoping that planning the terms activities with us will encourage their understanding of how the youth club runs, possibly giving them respect of the centre and the activities that go on there. I also hope this will give us as staff the opportunity to  build relationships with them outside of the general youth club activities (as general youth club is quite manic).

Eventually we are hoping to have a ‘take-over’; through consultation we have established that a few members are interested in this already, the take-over would be the young people’s opportunity to completely run the club. For this to work though I think we will need to build organisational relationships with the whole group (around 40-50 people). I would hope we can do this by joining with a different small group of them every term to do the planning, slowly giving the larger group as a whole the responsibility of the club.

If anyone has any similar stories or advice/feedback I’d love to hear it,

Thank You!

Children eating, cooking and creating their own future? That’s right we don’t always have to do it for them!

The BBC News has reported on two studies which show that cookery classes encourage pupils to recognise and become more accustomed to ‘healthy’ foods resulting in a desire to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cooking isn’t just a fun, social activity it’s a skill which can be used again and again, making it a very productive form of education. Within this article a survey of 2,500 participants of the ‘Let’s get cooking’ project showed that 92% of them used their learnt skills at home.

Read the full article here

How can this be related to our current climate?

Cooking is a great way to educate children, young people and even adults on what food choices they have available, where to get them, how much they cost, what exactly they can do with them and how to use ingredients. Young people at the centre where I work love to cook, however we don’t just run cooking sessions due to the recession and budget cuts we tend to run ‘cooking on a budget’ sessions. Where we make wholesome meals (and sometimes desserts) which cost less than £5.00 for a group of people (on average I’d say around 10 people but it depends on what we cook)! So far we’ve made wonderful rice, potato and pasta dishes as well as experimenting with pancakes, chocolate, honeycomb and porridge (not all at the same time I might add!) The young people who participate are now experts at flavouring rice dishes, in love with porridge and can make their own oven chips from scratch, this week we plan to be making chicken burgers which I hope will go well (even if a session doesn’t go a 100% to plan it’s still a learning experience which can be built on).

If no-one in the group has experience of cooking a particular dish we use this website If anyone can suggest any other sites please comment below, and especially mention it if you know a recipe which will cost less than £5.00 to feed a group (we’re always on the look out for new things to try).

Thank you

We’re not just playing Pool…morning thoughts

The competitive market that is ‘youth work’ needs youth workers do be able to do more than just play pool and build relationships with young people it became apparent in a meeting yesterday. Youth workers need to aim high within their projects at youth clubs, and then they need to sell themselves in order to gain more youth work.

Yesterday I made the mistake of asking for more work opportunities, turning a meeting into an interview situation that I didn’t quite feel comfortable with and wasn’t prepared for. I was asked about what skills I have and what makes me unique as a worker compared to all the other youth work staff and all the other youth and community students/graduates.

With cuts to youth services all over the U.K and of course some localised youth work being completely cut in parts of England it has become a competitive place to work. Admittedly I’m not the best sales person, especially when it comes to my own skills but I would like to gain more youth and community work. Anyone have any suggestions of how I can build my confidence and sell my skills?

Also the current climate of youth and community work doesn’t just effect paid staff such as myself, what about volunteers, youth work graduates and people know are looking to apply for youth work jobs?

And dare I say how does this effect the young people? Is it ethical that the local authorities who have kept their youth services during the recession will be more inclined to use young people to gain results and prove their credibility as a service for young people?


Thanx! Please comment and add to these thoughts.