What is the Community Leaders programme?
At it's heart, the Community Leaders programme has an accedited youth work course, which enables participants to gain the practical experience of delivering youth work with the opportunity to learn the theory and skills associated while completing a qualification.
But there is more to Community Leaders than equipping people to just run youth programmes; it is a holistic approach to our work and our projects. It is about enabling local people to see out their dreams and visions for their communities.
The course is aimed at people who live within the community and who are passionate about seeing young people reach their potential. This inevitably brings with it a lot of diversity. Some participants join the course with no previous experience in youth work, while others have years of experience of working with young people. Some people are very keen to gain the qualification while others are more interested in the practical side of delivering youth work. We have had unemployed 19 year old and 55 year old graduates with full-time jobs do the course.
The ‘Thrive Youth Work Course’ was therefore developed, which is a Level 2 Award qualification accredited by ABC Awards.
Why Community Leaders?
A lot of time and resources have been put in to developing our Community Leaders programme. This leads to the question: ‘Why Community Leaders?’
The answer to this is that we see the development and investment of Community Leaders as a crucial aspect of the work that we do. We do not wish to simply be known as an organisation which puts on activities for young people or which simply runs ‘youth clubs.’ We want to see the young people we work with and others in the local community be empowered to be the change makers who shape the transformation in their communities.
One of the key approaches that has contributed to our development of Community Leaders is ‘Asset Based Community Development.’ (ABCD) The ABCD approach is based on the principle of identifying and mobilising individuals and communities ‘assets’ rather than focusing on the problems and needs (which are the deficits.) Within our culture and society we are more familiar with the ‘deficit’ approach, which designs services to fill the gaps and fix the problems. The result of this can be that communities and individuals feel disempowered and dependant on others. We want to enable local people to be active participants and agents of change in their lives and the lives around them, rather than people who become passive recipients of services.
This therefore requires an attitude of glass half full. This doesn’t, however, mean that we approach our ‘Community Leaders’ work with naivety or unrealistic expectations. We are very real in our understanding that it is hard work, and there will be mistakes and failures along the way. But through this journey there is hope and we hold on to the thought that….
‘Individuals and communities can no longer be thought of as complex masses of needs and problems, but rather diverse and powerful webs of gifts and assets.’
The concept of Community Leaders fits within the Worth Unlimited‘User Journey.’model. The idea of this is that young people we engage with go on a journey from being participants in youth clubs and activities to then engaging in focused interventions and then begin to ‘give back.’ Within the giving back aspect young people develop their skills and opportunities by giving of time, energy and skills back to their local community. This clearly fits hand in hand with the aims of Community Leaders, with the outcomes being:
- Young people contributing members of their community.
- Young people feel able to bring about change.
- Young people are able to lead others.
We are fully aware that not all young people that engage in our activities will go through every step in the user journey. However, the idea of seeing our young people develop and take ownership and responsibilities for themselves and their communities is something that is very integral to the work of Worth Unlimited.