1.3 Dimensions of partnership working
We will now look in more detail at the range of practice and of organisational arrangements known as partnership working.
Below are accounts from two practitioners, who describe their experience of partnership working and their understanding of the term.
Sabrina works as a youth development worker for a local authority in the English Midlands. She manages a small team of part-time youth workers and between them they provide a range of daytime, evening and weekend opportunities for young people living in the local area.
I’m based in a youth and community centre which shares a site with a secondary school, and the school is a key partner for me. I’ve established a good relationship with the head and have worked alongside teachers in joint projects. For example, I’ve been working with the teacher responsible for citizenship and, with a group of post-16 students, developing a peer education project on homelessness. The school funded some of the work and I’ve put in my own time and some additional hours for a part-time worker. Some of my team now operate a sexual health service in the youth centre at lunchtime – in cooperation with the school nurse and a specialist sexual health worker in the voluntary sector. I’ve also been working with an education welfare officer who supports young people in care – encouraging them to take part in youth work. I’ve just had a young woman in care on work experience for a week, which was good. I’ve also got some good links with the sports development worker in the district council. I don’t really get involved in strategic stuff – though my manager does.
Mick works for a community organisation and is based in a community centre on an estate in the West Midlands. He has worked there for a long time and has developed strong networks in the neighbourhood surrounding the centre.
I think of myself very much as a neighbourhood-based youth and community worker. I’ve worked on this estate for a long time and I work closely with local agencies, including housing officers and the tenants and residents organisation. Health is a big issue for residents and I work closely with health and drugs and alcohol agencies in order to be able to respond. Community safety is also high on the agenda. I’ve been supporting young people in meetings with the police where they’ve been expressing their views about how the police treat them and how they’re always being moved on. I chair the estate’s inter-agency forum, which brings agencies and community representatives together. In my role it’s also important to keep up with strategic developments across the city. I’ve managed to position the work of the centre so it has been able to respond to city-wide agendas and priorities – in the past we’ve received significant funding to support some of the work that we’ve done, but getting funding is much more difficult now because of cuts in different organisations’ budgets.
Activity 2: Differences between partnerships
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