Isn’t it incredible how much energy is created when you fill a room with people who share a common commitment? Last week London Youth hosted an event for current Quality Mark holders. We brought together around 60 staff from different member organisations who had worked on it, with funders and supporters of quality standards within youth work. John Lyon’s Charity were well represented as were many of the clubs they fund such as Afghan Association Paiwand, Wac Arts and Ignite Trust to name just a few. I also enjoyed seeing clubs who have achieved gold or silver thanking staff from the City Bridge Trust for the unrestricted funding they’ve received as a result.
It was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the individuals who put in so many hours and the organisations who despite the challenging environment we all work in, have prioritised achieving the London Youth Quality Mark and made a commitment to evidencing and delivering quality youth work.
So why do quality standards matter? At the event Andrew Stebbings, Chief Executive of John Lyon’s Charity, formally launched the independent evaluation of the London Youth Quality Mark. The evaluation found that:
- 86% of clubs agreed that the Quality Mark had helped encourage a culture of continuous improvement in the organisation and 75% said it had helped them motivate staff and volunteers
- 64% of youth clubs with a Quality Mark said it improved their ability to generate funding and increased their influence on local stakeholders. And many clubs agreed that even where the accreditation was not the deciding factor it was still useful in obtaining the extra funding.
- One senior youth worker described how having achieved the Quality Mark helped them quickly and successfully do due diligence for a grant of £38,000 from a local funder
To me it’s clear that a focus on quality is key. At London Youth we often use the phrase ‘good youth work works’ and my role is about ensuring the work is good so we can demonstrate that it works. And like any of the organisations that go through the Quality Mark, the evaluation report has also highlighted areas where we can improve and get better at how we support our members.
If you’re a youth work organisation who is interested in becoming a London Youth member and starting the Quality Mark, then do get in touch!
I’m only three months into my role as London Youth’s Quality and Membership Officer. Already I’ve had the privilege of helping a number of varied youth projects to start the journey of evaluating their organisation’s strengths and weaknesses through the London Youth Quality Mark. Many have commented to me that it’s been an excellent way of holding a mirror up to themselves and seeing which areas have been neglected. Someone told me recently that their whole staff team were convinced they had a complaints policy but it wasn’t until they had to submit it as evidence that they realised it had never formally been written down!
Yet a large number of clubs tell me that working their way through the bronze, silver and gold levels has reassured that that actually, most things are in place. They feel encouraged to know that their work is already where it should be, so getting that formally recognised has been valuable.
The opportunity to both celebrate with youth workers in their strengths, and support them as they work to make their organisation stronger has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my new role. If you are interested in doing the Quality Mark we hold regular meetings for new clubs that run through the levels and give you an opportunity to ask questions. Please do call me on 0207 549 2965 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Let’s give you some background. The London Youth Quality Mark supports clubs to improve delivery and organisational effectiveness, and to achieve long lasting improvements to their practice, management and the way they engage young people. It comes with face-to-face support from London Youth, involves young people in the assessment, and is the only quality assurance scheme for youth clubs accredited by City & Guilds.
It provides clubs with a badge of excellence that they can show to local authorities, funders and young people to prove they are doing the most they can to transform lives.
So who are London Youth? We support a network of 400 diverse community organisations where young people choose to go. Our mission is to support and challenge young people to become the best they can be. We grew from the Ragged Schools Movement in the 1880s and our network of members has developed over more than 130 years, since a group of visionary leaders established the Girls’ Club Union and the Federation of London Working Boys’ Clubs and Institutes.
We deliver programmes with and through our network in every London borough and out of town at our two residential learning centres, Hindleap Warren and Woodrow High House. We work with all young people but place a particular emphasis on those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the kind of opportunities we offer.
We deliver our mission through four strategic objectives:
- Developing, training, connecting and quality assuring our membership network to deliver good youth work
- Creating a broad and inclusive range of opportunities for young people (with and through our members) that improve their all‐round confidence, character and skills
- Ensuring our expertise and the on-the‐ground voices of youth workers and young people influence public policy, practice and opinion
- Being the best we can be ourselves; financially robust and a great place to work
More info available here: