Young BwD Foundation launches during Youth Work Week

Published Friday 10 November 2023 at 16:37

The official launch of the Young BwD Foundation showcasing how youth organisations come together to support young people, took place this week.

The foundation brought together over 140 members and young people in a collective mission to empower and promote services that support children and young people in Blackburn with Darwen.

The event was held at Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone as part of Youth Work Week celebrations. Youth Work Week is an annual celebration and is hosted by the National Youth Agency.

As well as a wide range of activities including music, art and sport, there was also a chance to hear about the new Young People’s Foundation development.
To see  images from the event visit: 
Young BwD Event – Google Photos

’Young BwD’ is a new infrastructure organisation formed by the members of the Strategic Youth Alliance – and supported by the National Young Peoples Foundation Charity.

It’s a vibrant cross-sector partnership that highlights the incredible work being done in many ‘places and spaces.’

Executive Board Member for Children’s Services Cllr Julie Gunn who spoke at the event, said:

It was my absolute pleasure to be at the launch of the new Young BwD which also coincided with national youth work week and the great work we do in all of our spaces & places. It was clear to see the strong partnership in youth providers across the borough that were represented during the evening.

I really love being part of a young person led event and it’s always brilliant to see them involved. Thank you also to our partners for showcasing the fantastic youth work that is provided in BwD to give children and young people so many opportunities.

The new organisation will also lead on a local strategy and funding commitment to ensure the sector continues to grow and build on the recent Youth Investment Fund successes where over £8 million has been secured to rebuild/renovate a number of youth venues across the borough.

Martin Hartley-Smith, CEO of the Young BWD Foundation said:

We were one of the first ten nationally to join our services. Blackburn with Darwen has been held up as an innovative model because it is a new foundation and due to the way we have set this up, the national YPF want to use the same processes and positives to roll it out wider. I was really proud to see our eleven organisations working together to do amazing work and my role now is how do I turn that in to twenty-two Blackburn with Darwen organisations to support and help even more young people going forward.

The night included Youth Work Week videos, commitments from senior youth sector leads, speeches from the NYA and even a visit from Blackburn Rovers first team player Harry Pickering! 

Justin Watson from the YPF Trust also attended and said:

We support partnerships in the youth sector across the country and the reason why I attended the event was because I think it is incredibly powerful when you get a group of organisations together under one vision for children and young people. We know that when areas collaborate and work together children and young people benefit, so we are really excited about the future of partnership work, youth work and outcomes for young people across Blackburn with Darwen because of Young BwD Foundation.

The event was being led by the young people of the SYA Youth Forum and supported by the SYA Youth Organisations.

Zainab Shah is a BwD Youth Forum member and also standing in the Youth Elections 2024 for Youth MP, she said:

I was really excited to be hosting the event alongside one of my Youth Forum members. We got to support and help out on the day. I have been involved for two years and this is the first time I’ve got to see all the youth organisations collaborating on an event together. It was really good to see things from their perspectives on the videos and also chatting to them in person.

To find out more about the foundation visit the following websites:

To learn more about Youth Work Week 2023 visit: Youth Work Week 2023 – NYA

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