UK Youth

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UK Youth is a national youth work charity[1] which reaches 693,000 young people through its projects and members' youth projects, groups and clubs in the United Kingdom.

UK Youth[edit]

UK Youth is a membership organisation whose members are county based youth associations and other organisations that work directly with or for the benefit of young people. UK Youth also runs a number of national programmes many are run in partnership with international corporations and many feature a central role for youth participation. UK Youth operates a number of programmes to enable young people to gain accreditation - such as the Youth Challenges and Youth Achievement Awards, Edexcel BTEC Level 2 Award/Certificate in Peer Education and Peer Mentoring (QCF), Junior Achievement Awards, Award in Personal Achievement (QCF) and other non-formal education programmes. It provides accredited learning opportunities to youth groups, projects, schools, Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and other groups working with young people. UK Youth also provides training, resources network support and advocacy for quality youth work. It has a Youth Steering Group - UK Youth Voice that is run by young people who promote youth participation and active citizenship by actively engaging with the governance of the charity.

UK Youth is the largest non-uniformed national voluntary youth organisation in the UK with a national network comprising 39 local member groups in England representing the major county and metropolitan areas and National Partners including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Its headquarters are based at Avon Tyrrell Activity Centre in the New Forest Hampshire where over 20,000 young people take part in residential learning activities each year. It also has a London office.

Who's Who[edit]

The Patron of the charity is Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal. The current President is Nigel Mansell CBE. The Chair is Anne Stoneham MBE who has been on the Trustees Board for over 20 years and is a highly respected academic. The Chief Executive, Anna Smee, took up her post on 1 December 2014.

The senior management team consists of:

  • Finance Director: Alan Carr
  • Director of Communications and Income Generation: Vacant
  • Director of Avon Tyrrell: David Watts
  • Director of Youth Work: Pauline Taylor
  • Director of Special Projects: Louis Bonney


The charity was founded in 1911 as the National Organisation of Girls Clubs. It became the National Association of Girls Clubs and Mixed Clubs in 1944 and the National Association of Youth Clubs in 1961. In 1987, it became known as Youth Clubs UK and adopted its current title UK Youth in 2001. In 2010-11 it celebrated its centenary year during that year the tag line of the charity change from the 'The Network for Quality Work with Young People' to 'Positive for Youth'. A full archive of materials from the history of the organisation can be found at Birmingham Library.

Missions and objectives[edit]

UK Youth has three charitable objectives:

Youth work development[edit]

The charity’s core work focuses on the development of youth work providing training to youth workers, publications and toolkits to support their work and regular events and reports aimed at those that work with young people. UK Youth's work aims to apply the principles of effective youth work to the contemporary interests and needs of young people via programmes that offer accredited learning outcomes.[citation needed][2]

UK Youth works with a wide range of organisations including international corporations, government departments and agencies in the UK and Europe as well as other voluntary bodies and corporates to promote a wide range of opportunities to young people.


UK Youth is a membership organisation that has national partners, regional members and associate members together covering the whole of the United Kingdom.

UK Youth has 4 national partners:

Youth Cymru Youth Scotland Youth Action Northern Ireland Youth Work Ireland

UK Youth also has 39 county based associations who are members and 8 associate members.

The charity also works in partnership with a wide range of organisations in tendering and delivering work programmes to young people for example the Big Music Project is supported by the BIG Lottery Fund, and the delivery consortium includes the BRITs school, Global Radio and Capital FM working with UK Youth and Youth Scotland, Youth Cymru, Youth Action Northern Ireland, MyPlace and Rathbone.

The organisation also participates in the Creative Collisions Conferences which bring many youth sector organisations together each year to discuss issues affecting the sector.

Advocacy for youth work[edit]

Directly, and with key partner organisations, UK Youth aims to create an environment in which youth work is valued by advocating the social and economic benefits of high quality youth work, both to young people and their wider communities and publicising the distinct contribution that youth workers can make to the lives of young people.[citation needed]

The charity particularly focuses on:

  • Programmes developed by UK Youth
  • Advocacy for youth work
  • Policy development
  • Participation of young people in the design and delivery of programmes

Current work[edit]

UK Youth Voice[edit]

This group of 16-25 year-olds is made up of two young people from each region of England, one from the Channel Islands, and two young people from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They meet five times per year to guide and advise the charity and to plan an annual youth conference - which is open to all young people across the UK. Three members of UKYV sit on our board of trustees, and are involved in all areas of governance.

Youth Achievement Foundations[edit]

Youth Achievement Foundations are based around a vocational and activity based curriculum of personal and social development for students excluded from secondary school at Key Stage 4 or at risk of exclusion. The foundations are independent schools which are usually run by local not for profit third-sector organisations experienced in alternative curricular delivery. The foundations are specifically designed to meet the needs of young people for whom mainstream education is no longer working. While maintaining a core delivery of basic literacy and numeracy, pupils will be offered a curriculum that is more appropriate to their personal and social development and accredit their learning from a variety of vocational areas.

There are currently nine Youth Achievement Foundations around England. The outcomes these foundations have had with young people previously excluded or at risk of exclusion from mainstream education have been reported on by Teesside University. You can read the full report on the UK Youth website.

UK Youth's qualifications and awards[edit]

The Youth Achievement Awards and other awards and qualifications that UK Youth delivers were developed to help youth workers develop more effective participative youth work, and to recognise and accredit young people’s achievements and learning.

The Youth Achievement Awards started as a pilot project run from 1994 to 1997 funded by the National Lottery Board. The project developed the first national award to utilise a youth work models in order to accredit young people’s achievements and learning from youth work. UK Youth now operates two qualifications on the Qualifications & Credit Framework as well as awards for young children.

UK Youth's qualifications & awards are characterised by:

  • A person-centred approach to non-formal learning which particularly benefits young people who do less well in a conventional school setting whose capabilities and motivation are affected by different situational, personal and relational factors
  • Are flexible which allows for delivery in many contexts and to students with different levels of confidence and ability
  • Set individual challenges which promote a young person’s ‘achievement’ level and offers rewards for this.

Current programmes[edit]

  • 02 Think Big – £300–£2000 grants given direct to young people to do something in their community.
  • Starbucks Youth Action - A project that supports young people to improve their communities with up to £2,000 in funding in partnership with Starbucks.
  • UPS Road Code - A programme promoting road safety among young people delivered in partnership with UPS.
  • Barclay's Money Skills is currently being delivered by a consortium of four charities.
  • Microsoft IT Youth Hubs - in partnership with Microsoft supporting youth clubs and projects to become IT Youth Hubs and benefit from harware, software, mentoring and financial support.
  • The Big Music Project - a programme that will create 100 music hubs which help young people access the support they need to run their own music projects.

Fundraising activities[edit]

Art for Youth

Art for Youth is UK Youth's flagship fundraising event which enables promising artists to show their work and raises funds for UK Youth. With over 24 years of successful exhibitions in London, Art for Youth has given art enthusiasts the chance to buy works from contemporary artists at the beginning of their careers whilst donating to charity.

Now entering its 24th year, Art for Youth in London has so far raised over £900,000 for UK Youth. Over 1,000 pieces of art (valued from £100- £3,500) by new and established artists go on display at Art for Youth London. Works usually include: oils, watercolours, sculpture ceramics, photographs & jewellery. Artists donate 35% of sales and all proceeds from the Raffle, Auction, "Mystery Pictures" and Silent Auction are 100% donations to the charity.

New artists are chosen by a selection panel which seeks out fresh, innovative and affordable work. Art for Youth London enables new and upcoming artists to exhibit in a prestigious London gallery (The Royal College of Art) alongside more established talent. The Diana Brooks Prize is awarded annually to an artist aged 35 or under. Many former prize winners, some of whom have gone on to very successful artistic careers, offer a piece of their work for sale as a 100% donation to UK Youth.

The Nigel Mansell UK Youth Golf Classic

A yearly golf tournament that raises money for UK Youth as teams compete against the Charities' President Nigel Mansell OBE.

UK Youth's HQ is at Avon Tyrrell in the New Forest.[3]


  1. ^ "UK Youth". Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Avon Tyrrell Activity Centre". 

Teesside University Report on Youth Achievement Foundations [1]

Youth Achievement Awards Portal [2]

External links[edit]