Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities
Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

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Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

1.3.1 The Ally

Description: The image we have of an ally is that of a dependable if sometimes critical friend, who likes us and who is committed to hanging in there with us through thick and thin. This can be incredibly supportive to young people as they make difficult transitions into adulthood, particularly where consistent parental support is not available.

Issues: Young people need support and approval. Some get constant messages from other adults in their lives – parents, teachers, neighbours –that they are bad, stupid and unlovable. Sometimes they only get any attention when they behave in this way – and so they persist. Finding some aspect of them that we can genuinely like can stop or even reverse this potentially downward spiral.

To help us do this, it may be useful to separate liking them from liking their behaviour. However, faced with behaviour we consider to be appalling, unacceptable or thoughtless, it is not easy to see someone as fundamentally good, intelligent and capable. This is when our understanding of young people can help bring a different perspective to our work.

Unlike a teacher, a worker in a youth-offending team, a social worker, or education welfare worker, many of those working with young people view their work as largely on the young people's terms. Young people are not required to see a youth worker; they do so of their own volition. This is a key factor in being able to play the role of an ‘ally’. However, this does not mean that boundaries do not need to be set. Being an ally does not protect you from being in a situation where there is a conflict of interest or where you are unsure about how best to act in the best interests of the young person. In the clips of Cowbridge youth centre you will see Guy offering support to the young people at the club, but also being sensitive to the boundaries of his involvement.

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Transcript: Cowbridge clip 1

RICHARD
[00.45] Yeah
GUY BUTLER-MADDEN, YOUTH SUPPORT WORKER
[00.47] The snow, you can see how deep it is and we were were walking around on the top of the snow. This lad is here filming and the lad in the wheelchair was actually not only physically disabled, he’d got mental disabilities as well
LAUREN
[01.01] Will be…in the summer then?
GUY
Well, if it goes off….It’ll be next summer????????
BOY
[01.07] I can’t believe you’re going out with someone with a baby though
ANOTHER
I know………how old, how old is she?
NIKITA
[01.18] Sit next to me come on
BOY
Yes
TINA
[01.29] Before you go home tonight can you collect the money from the safe and er..
LAD
Yeah
TINA
[01.33] …the money you raised for Children in Need. It was a good night and we’re hoping to make it better again next year. So I’ll go and get the photograph afterwards and then you can have a copy for yourselves. S’alright. Was it as good as when you played in the Battle of the Bands, then
RICHARD
[01.45] Er, I think the equipment wasn’t as good but, but there was crowds so it was better and more fun to do.
TINA
[01.51] Sometimes I can hear from the other side. You see I sneak up into the store room to go and get my stuff and I can hear you lot saying about which bits you actually like, without actually interfering with your playing

LAUGHS

7.05pm Map reading session for Duke of Edinburgh Award Group

GUY
[02.02] Simply have a look at the map. Find a symbol on it and simply just de-code it.
BOY
[02.07] Er this purply road is the motorway
GUY
[02.12] Ok, yeah motorway, so M.way. Anything else
BOY 2
[02.17] Yeah, there’s some er thick blue lines M1 or the A6…
GUY
[02.22] Have a close look at it again
BOY 2
Ah, that’s a river is it
GUY
[02.26] River, yeah, well done. Red line running North-South. What’s that?
GIRL
[02.33] A521
GUY
Which is a….
GIRL
A road
GUY
[02.36] A road ok. What’s significant about the numbers on the contours?
BOY
[02.40] It shows which way the height’s going
GUY
How?
BOY
[02.42] For like the right way it is….
GUY
Yeah 3
BOY
….the hill is going upwards
GUY
[02.47] Got it, yeah. Ok so the numbers are as if they are stamped on the side of a hill, so you can see them on there.
BOY
Yeah
GUY
[02.52] Very good, yeah, brilliant

7.55pm Sexual health education session for 14-17 year old girls

TINA
[02.59] We’re going to do lots of different activities tonight. I’m not going to sort of talk about love and the feeling side of er sexual relationships or anything. It’s just actually going to be some more information about your own bodies and about contraception in general so to help you make decisions yourself. You have to take a little disc out without finding out what what colour you are. Would you like to put your hand in….no…you only take one out alright. Got one, only one…one and only one, to have one and only one
GIRL
[03.37] Are we allowed to look?
TINA
[03.43] Yeah………Ok so now you’ve got two teams one blue and one yellow. I’ve got various questions here. Erm, I’m going to put three answers down on the floor and you can put your dot down on whichever one you want.
GIRL
[03.53] Are we allowed to discuss it?
TINA
[03.55] Yeah, if you want to, yeah, you’re, but you’re completing against this group alright. When you have a period ok, how much blood is lost on average do you think? Is it one to two tablespoons? Is it four to six tablespoons, or do you think it’s a cup full?
LAUGHTER
TINA
[04.19] Are these all on here?
ALL REPLY
Yeah
TINA
[04.22] Wrong. It’s all four to six. You’ve all got the eggs inside you but how do they actually get to the womb? Do they get along the vagina, the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Where’s that one….
GIRL
[04.40] Fallopian tubes
TINA
[04.47] …over here, what do you think Anita? Do you think you all got it right? Think you can all have that one right – well done.
TINA
[04.49] But what I want to do is try to make the internal sexual organs of a woman out of what you’ve got in the bag.
LAUGHTER
TINA
[05.00] Now in a group try and keep it away from the others so they don’t know quite what you’re doing
CHATTER
….inside of a woman
GIRL
[05.12] Where did you get this rubbish from?
LAUGHTER
GIRL
[05.15] That doesn’t look like anything
CHATTER
GIRL
[05.20] I don’t know what these are meant to be
TINA
[05.22] You don’t know what to do with the sock
GIRL
No
TINA
[05.25] Have you finished then….and perhaps you’d put the names on what you think they are, as well. Ok….very interesting I must admit, very interesting. The pipe cleaners are both….pipe cleaners are fallopian tubes, yeah. Where have you connected yours to?
GIRL
[05.40] It’s supposed to be to the womb
TINA
[05.42] From where?
GIRL
into the ovaries………we haven’t done our homework…maybe yeah
TINA
[05.47] Where are your fallopian tubes connected from what to what?
TINA
[05.52] Would you like to stand up two seconds for me. If I tie this round here, then you have to, have to hold the top here, ok, because I’m going to feed things into you. Lauren is pregnant, well she’s not really, I hope not anyway. I haven’t asked her if she was. And this baby is approximately… How heavy are babies when they are born?
GIRL
[06.15] About seven pounds
TINA
[06.17] So about three kilos would you say?
GIRL
I don’t know
TINA
Is that about right?
GIRL
Yeah
TINA
[06.22] Ok, so if you hold that bit out here
GIRL
That bit
TINA
[06.25] Hold this bit out here. We’ll put three kilos of baby in here. Ok, got hold of that?
GIRL
Yeah
TINA
[06.31] Right, and then around the baby what do we have…fluid but it’s called amniotic fluid, ok. But we have to have that round the baby as well and that’s I think about a litre of that. We’ll go round there. It’s alright. I know we’ve got an extra bottle of that as well, so I apologise for that. Ok, so this is your baby carrying around all the time. What’s it like?
GIRL
[06.51] Heavy
TINA
[06.52] Have a little look. It’s a contraceptive kit. But, first before we do that erm I’m going to let you all have a look at a condom.
GIRL
[06.59] Can we open it?
TINA
[07.01] Yeah, in a minute, because I want to show you, show you what to do with them. So you need to make sure you’ve got it on the right way to start with yeah. So on the top there’s a teat so you need to actually remove the air from that before you actually put it on yeah, ok and then you have to put it onto a penis that’s erect obviously………… I’ve got various books here for people to have a look at. You are not obliged to keep them but if you’d like them. 8.10pm
TINA
[07.31] If you think you’ve learned anything tonight. You can put it towards here or if you learned a lot or just a little bit er this one is, would you tell your friends to come and have one of these sessions. So if you think you’ve learned anything and you think it would be a good idea for one of your mates to come along here. So you can each have a pen each. A dot on to the circle, as and when you want to
CHATTER AND LAUGHTER

8.30pm

TINA
[08.07] Can we have one – what one’s are these?
GIRL
Er, cheese
TINA
[08.13] That one…there’s this one…that’s good …we could give you one…and use one for the shop
GUY
[08.19] What, what did they work for and you could have copped out early on but you stayed with it.
LAD
[08.26] It’s not hard. The hard bit is the walking……How far did we walk in France?
GUY
[08.31] …you did twenty five. We did forty
WOMAN
[08.39] What were the girls doing with Tina?
GUY
[08.42] Oh, god, yes, yes, yes, ….written it down, erm sex education and Tina.

9.33pm

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