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Detached Youth Work

Meeting young people where they are, to inform, guide and improve their opportunities.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, Parent and Toddler/Community Group Leaders, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at

KS4, KS5


Community Support, Empowering Young People, Mental Health and Wellbeing


Place Based

Why was the project needed?

The project aims to support young people to address the issues that they face which may be causing a barrier to their social, emotional, educational development and wellbeing and by doing so prevent escalation of need.
We aimed to increase young people’s confidence and knowledge so that they can access support and information independently and in a timely manner to ensure self-regulation, self-care and to prevent the escalation of their needs which might result in crisis. The detached youth work is necessary to enable this due to a lack of youth club provision in the area.
We aimed to raise awareness of the needs of local young people post pandemic within their communities and support young people integration within their local community by addressing issues of anti-Social behaviour.

What happened and what was the impact?

The project has enabled us to gather large amounts of information from young people which would otherwise be difficult to understand. From the detached youth work we have had outcomes such as local councils investing in their young people and funding youth clubs, police informing us that rates of ASB have declined and the opportunity for young people to feed into multi agency meetings to improve provisions in the area.

What did and didn't work?

We discovered that where the detached youth workers were known by young people in the area, engagement was much higher than if they were new faces.

How did you measure success?

We measured success by numbers of young people engaged with, positive feedback from young people on support they have received, number of young people signposted to appropriate services and local organisations being aware of the problems young people are facing in their communities.


Ingredients For Success

It is important to have an activity on offer that draws young people in, as well as being a known organisation in the local area.
The project relies on flexibility of workers, willing to change timings and locations once the movements and behaviour of young people is understood. Detached youth work also requires at least two workers at all times to ensure safety of workers.
It is also most successful when someone is managing from the outside and taking the role of reporting all information received to relevant partners such as district councils, police and community services. This way, young people can see the value of speaking to workers.
It also relies on local decision makers being willing to listen and invest in their young people.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

The project is ongoing.

How is the Project Sustainable

As the profile of the detached youth work has risen, local decision makers are seeing the positives of detached youth work and how it improves their local communities. We have had two areas invest money to continue the detached youth work and hope this spreads further.

What are the Long Term Impacts

Long- term, we hope that youth provisions increase in the Fenland & East Cambs areas with more places for young people to go where they feel supported and safe. This is not possible to put a time-scale on, however over the last 12 months this has already begun and we hope this is a continuing trend.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Detached Youth Work FEC case study

Champions and contacts


Cambridgeshire County Council

Ella Rolfe

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