Combining youth work and the outdoors is nothing new, though the decline of youth work infrastructure means that many youth groups are unable to draw on the developmental power of the outdoors or in many cases have simply closed altogether. Spending by local government on youth work has been cut by over 40% in the past 5 years. Finding impactful and sustainable alternative models is challenging.

Lindley has worked with young people from Ashton Under Lyne for over 10 years. Around 18 months ago, we responded to the complete lack of youth provision by establishing a weekly youth club. This club quickly became very popular with young people and we recognised how beneficial our work was. Back in March this year, Children in Need stepped in to help with a grant for the next 3 years. We now run 4 youth clubs, have close connections with other community initiatives and provide outdoor activities, sports and residential trips. Lindley are looking to do more than just offer youth provision, the locality in which the clubs are based is within the most 10% of deprived communities in England. Our impactful approach is based on

Providing regular and stimulating youth club activities which build self-confidence and self-esteem, bring together young people from different cultures and backgrounds and widen horizons
An empowerment model that seeks to identify and train-up young leaders from within the youth clubs / local community
Using the outdoors as a stimulating and stretching environment. Long term engagement means that young people can focus on a particular activity such as rock climbing or become involved in planning, funding and completing an outdoor project such as an expedition.

Author: Tracey Vahter