Youth Work Bulletin

COVID 19 Special Edition 10 - January 2021



A word from our Board Chair

Keith Towler

Keith’s Voice

My thanks to CWVYS for this edition of the Youth Work Bulletin that focuses on young people’s voice and participation. We have a strong track record of developing participative practice and as this edition demonstrates youth work services across Wales continue to support young people to speak out on issues that matter to them.

2021 will be remembered as the year that vaccines are rolled out but it is also a landmark year for 16 and 17 year olds in Wales.They will be placing their ballot papers in the Senedd elections on 6th May to vote for the first time.


I’ve heard young people talk about zero hour contracts and the impact of the minimum wage, the importance of mental health, black lives matter, concerns for the environment, homelessness, university fees, the Welsh language, what the pandemic means for them in terms of their education and future. I’ve also heard young people talk about politicians in Wales, the UK, Europe and across the world, asking questions about how decisions are reached and the extent to which they really understand the impact those decisions are making to people’s lives.

The political parties in Wales need to be thinking about their manifestos:

  • What will they be saying to young people?
  • How can they make their policies attractive to young people in Wales?

If young people are our future then, surely, as a society we should be responding to their concerns, their aspirations and their hopes.

I’m really pleased that we have been able to publish the Initial Report from the Interim Youth Work Board for Wales. Its title speaks to politicians of all parties as it declares it is Time to Deliver for Young People in Wales. It sets out a series of recommendations that the Board consider are necessary if we are to realise a sustainable delivery model for youth work services in Wales.

The first recommendation describes the need to develop a young people led governance structure for youth work services in Wales. We do this with some confidence. Confidence and trust in young people who both want to see this happen and will exercise the responsibility with integrity and determination. I am really pleased we are putting a Young Person Committee in place to work with the Board and to help ensure our final recommendations reflect their voices. We must also trust in our youth work services that have developed a rights based participative practice culture in their everyday work.

We have a busy year ahead, but there has never been a more important time to value young people and the contribution they make to our society.

Young Person’s Voice

Youth Cymru

This is a story of Ieuan, a young person from Bridgend and his involvement as a peer leader of the Llais Ifanc youth advisory panel, supported by Youth Cymru.

Llais Ifanc is an open group for 13-25 year olds living in Wales (young people can sign up here). I was hesitant when I first got involved, but the advisory panel was very friendly and welcoming, and I soon got comfortable with members from a variety of backgrounds. We meet usually monthly and have a fun team building activity after.

I went on a retreat with Llais Ifanc members and Youth Cymru staff. What we planned to be an exciting retreat did not exactly turn out as planned!

When we got to the camp, in the middle of the Ceredigion countryside, it was a lot more basic, muddier and colder than we were expecting with no food waiting for us on the first night. It got better though, we layered up and got together to play games with some pizzas. It gave us the opportunity to find out things about each other and turned out to be a worthwhile experience, as we exchanged ideas for creating a new mental health toolkit.

Throughout these opportunities I have been able to build my confidence being around decision makers and a variety of people. I’ve had the opportunity to attend the Youth Work in Wales conference in Cardiff and host a table with Kirstie, Youth Engagement Officer at Youth Cymru, that asked ‘How can Youth Work tackle Youth Loneliness?’ This event reminded me of the power and importance of working together with similar and different organisations to achieve common goals.

I enjoyed getting to be part of something bigger and represent the views of other young people. While I was anxious at first, I’m really glad I got involved, met the great people I have and gained a wealth of new experiences.


Llais Ifanc are currently working on a campaign to encourage youth political engagement called "Power of Your Vote" as 16 and 17-year olds will be able to vote for the first time at the Senedd Elections this May. In advance of this they are hosting a hustings event; young people can find out more here.

Special Focus – The Power of Youth Participation – NYAS CYMRU

Each bulletin we focus in on a specific theme. In this issue, The Power of Youth Participation


NYAS Cymru’s Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) was established to consult with young people who access NYAS Cymru services and allow members to influence wider policy and practice in Wales, ensuring that services are run and developed with and for care experienced young people.

The Advisory Group steer the work of their National Voluntary Youth Organisations (NVYO) Grant funded project which provides an opportunity for all young people throughout Wales to undertake accredited training in Peer Mentoring, Peer Advocacy and support to apply for and gain Youth Work qualifications.

The Advisory Group has continued to meet monthly using virtual platforms, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The young people have benefitted from being “a part of something good” and interacting with like-minded people in a safe environment, working on:

  • Preparing an audio resource about language used by social workers and personal advisors for Cardiff University Social Work lecturers to use whilst teaching students.
  • ProMo Cymru facilitated the meeting with a representative of the National Lottery's youth-led panel - Young People in the Lead Wales. The YPAG shared their thoughts on what funding priorities should be and to provide the perspective of care experienced young people.
  • The group has been trained to interview new staff recruited within NYAS projects and for Cardiff local authority. The young people’s scores, views and conclusions about candidates are part of the recruitment process to select the right candidates.
  • The YPAG and NYAS’ Policy and Research Department created a survey - ‘What matters to you?’ This asked care experienced 11-25 year olds what they would like to see included in a Welsh Children’s Rights manifesto. The manifesto will be sent to Welsh Senedd candidates ahead of the elections and will have the capacity to make a real difference to the care experience in Wales.
  • Young people’s views were fed into a consultation for the Children’s Commissioner for Wales which provided an opportunity to share experiences of social care and their understanding of Children’s Rights.
  • The YPAG also contributed to the Children and Young People’s Education Committee request for input from young people on their experiences of lockdown, including the impact on mental and physical health.

The YPAG welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with other organisations to ensure that the voices of care experienced children and young people in Wales are heard and that services incorporate their needs.  For further information contact

Resources supporting young people to vote

A number of resources are now live on Hwb aimed at engaging young people in democracy and supporting them to vote in the Senedd elections in May. These have been prepared by the Welsh Government, Senedd Commission and Electoral Commission and can be accessed here.

You can see brief summaries below:

Voice 2 Vote

Welsh Government’s ‘Voice2Vote’ resource pack includes sessions aimed at young people aged 13 and over in Wales which bring to life why young people should vote.

The Senedd Commission’s ‘Our Senedd’ suite of resources for schools, colleges and youth groups help learners to understand the evolution of devolution in Wales.

Our Senedd
Welcome to Vote -Hwb

The Electoral Commission’s ‘Welcome to your vote’ resources cover three main themes: Your vote, Campaigning and How to vote.



These public access resources can be used flexibly depending on setting type (formal or non-formal), available time and desired learner outcomes.

Young Persons Committee


Since the Interim Youth Work Board started their work to develop a sustainable model of youth work going forward, the voice of young people has been of vital importance to ensure that young people are helping to shape the services both they and future generations will benefit from.

Initially, the Board invited applications from young people across Wales to sit alongside them, with the expectation that 2-3 young people would take up that role. However before the recruitment could be fully undertaken, the pandemic hit. The Board continued to speak to a range of young people and realised that there was substantial benefit from young people being part of a bigger group from a broader range of backgrounds to encourage a better understanding of wider needs.

A competitive tender exercise was undertaken and we are delighted to announce a joint bid between the Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Llamau and EYST was successful. They will be setting up a Young Persons Committee of around 20 young people who will meet in line with the Board’s regular meetings, as well as providing representatives to sit on the main Board. Young people who have previously applied to sit on the Board have already been invited to join this Committee, along with current members of the Strategy Participation Groups.

For more information please contact the mailbox.

Around the World

Empowering young people through international volunteering!


The Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) invites young people from Wales to take part in volunteering projects across Europe funded by the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). Contact for more information.

Youth Worker Jon describes some of the benefits of programmes like ESC here.

International Volunteering during a pandemic.

Marta from Italy and Mireia from Spain reached Wales right at the beginning of the pandemic for their European Solidarity Placement in Pembrokeshire. Read their story and the impact of Brexit on ESC projects: Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA) - Welsh Centre for International Affairs (

Have you heard?

Each issue we provide space for individuals and organisations to share information with their peers.

Education - Estyn - Logo - 9090

Estyn recently published a thematic report on The Value of Youth Work Training - A sustainable model for Wales. It evaluates the quality of youth work training and the appropriateness of the training to provide youth workers with the skills they need to fulfil their role and meet the demands of modern youth work in all its forms. Here you can find the Report and Response.

Adoption UK Cymru have a bespoke youth service called Connected for adopted children and young people aged 7-25.  Their Adoption Youth Council - CONNECT Voices, are excited to be working towards achieving the Participation Kite Mark.


They run monthly groups across Wales. Youth Workers can refer over 18s. For under 18s, the referral needs to come via parents or other professionals.

Adoption Uk

‘In My House’

Merthyr Tydfil Borough Wide Youth Forum (MTBWYF) participation project is commissioned by the local authority Youth Service and delivered by Safer Merthyr Tydfil. MTBWYF worked with the Cwmtaf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board to produce excellent resources to raise awareness about Domestic Abuse and violence by children and young people to parents/carers. For the film and workshop click here


Y Sgwrs is a series of digital events for ages 14-25 covering issues that affect young people's lives today. The Urdd has successfully created the national platform for partners to engage and share their offer in Welsh across Wales.

If you would like to contribute, or wish to refer the offer to the young people within your provision, please contact Y Sgwrs.

The miFuture app was co-created with school leavers. Founder and CEO Gemma Hallet provided a snapshot of that process and why good participation is key to solving issues successfully, you can read it here, and find out more about miFuture on their website.


Interim Youth Work Board: progress report for January 2021

An update for young people and the sector from Keith Towler, Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board for Wales can be accessed here.

The National Academy for Educational Leadership is undertaking a study of Youth Work and Well-being. Please encourage your senior leaders and managers who are in youth work settings to complete the survey here.

Update on the Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales

Congratulations to Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot Youth Services on renewing their Bronze Quality Marks. Next stop, Silver.

Since October 2020 15 new assessors have joined the Quality Mark team, With a diverse range of skills and experiences.

In October the Education Workforce Council completed a review of the Quality Mark and the Minister for Education has agreed to a refresh of the Quality Mark to help bring it up to date and even more relevant for all youth work organisations.Work on this will start immediately with the refreshed version being available from April 2021. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

You can find out more about the Quality Mark here.

For any queries, please contact

Meic GIF

Be Part of the Youth Work Newsletter

The focus of the next edition of the newsletter is ‘democratic engagement’. Get in touch via email to if you’d like to contribute an article.

We'll provide a style guide for submitting articles to us, with information on the word count of articles for the various sections. The production of the newsletter will revert to a quarterly basis from October 2020.

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