This policy brief highlights recent research and evidence of the transformative impact youth workers have on reducing the worst impacts of poverty and their role in improving the lives of children and young people. It focusses on the need to harness the power of the youth work sector to help the Scottish Government deliver on the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan (2022-2027).
The paper identifies poverty as a rights issue and outlines the key characteristics of the youth work approach, making it uniquely positioned to address both the causes and symptoms of poverty:
Impact on Attainment and Wellbeing: Youth work has been instrumental in improving readiness to learn, health and wellbeing, and educational outcomes among children and young people, contributing to efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap.
Using a Rights-Based Approach: Youth work is rooted in principles of inclusion, mutual respect, and equality, aligning with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Addressing Social Exclusion: Youth work offers targeted support, non-formal learning opportunities, and a bridge between young people and their communities.
Youth Work as a Non-Stigmatising Practice: Addressing food insecurity through youth work is non-stigmatising and generates numerous positive impacts, including improved engagement in learning, health, and skills development.
Collaborative Approach: Youth work recognises the importance of collaboration between local and national partners in delivering transformative change in public services to alleviate poverty.