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Youth Street Work Convention
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The countries and citizens of Europe face a growing problem of social exclusion, hidden in its extent but present in every society in the European Union. People, especially young people, are pushed to the margins of society in many ways: homelessness and street living; broken families; educational and employment underachievement; racial and cultural discrimination; falling into a cycle of economic and social dislocation from the mainstream. In an Erasmus+ programme, four organisations that work to combat this problem, particularly among young people, are seeking to join forces in a series of Conventions to look at sharing their knowledge in a very practical way in order to develop a shared body of learning about what can best be done to help, support, guide and nurture those in serious need. They are YMCA North Tyneside, Emfasis, YMCA na Slovensku and Sport Works (North).Crucially the project will be focussed on the views of young people, not the management of the organisations or professional workers. It is the young people who will do the work to think about how to reach out the people who need their help the most. Many of the young people have themselves come from a disrupted background, whether it be homelessness or other disadvantaged situations. Others have worked extensively with street people, volunteering to make a difference. Some have both received and then gone on to deliver help, as their lives become more positive and happier.Over two years180 young people will come together in a series of 60-strong three week-long conventions in Slovakia, Greece and the UK , in order to consider how to create a best practice and a shared wisdom about dealing with social exclusion. Each organisation will visit the others and see how they go about their work, and join in activities to focus on what they share as practitioners in this field, and what they can bring uniquely to the discussion from their own particular perspective. The partners anticipate some challenging, surprising and hopefully entertaining sessions. Activities include group sessions and workshops, observing and participating in practice, cultural activities, shared sporting and teambuilding activities, time for reflection, and social mixing.To produce a tangible outcome the participants will together create a website, including a history of the project and video diaries from the conventions, which it is hoped will be a toolkit for their own practice and for anyone working with socially excluded people. Alongside the website there will be various social media channels which it is hoped will create a virtual community of those concerned to do something practical about marginalisation.The project will produce a collective practice and wisdom which will add to the effectiveness of the partner organisations in dealing with social exclusion, and help others in the field. It will raise the profile of the hidden problem of marginalisation and the people working to mitigate its effects. In the longer term it is hoped that the project will help towards the creation of a culture where social exclusion is acknowledged and recognised, and there is a substantial drive to tackle its root causes.
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2 Partners Participants