A brief history of our organisation’s roots and origins: For the past 25 years or so Devon County Council has directly delivered Youth Work out of Youth Clubs across Devon, with Devon Youth Service being the organisation charged with delivering.
Once austerity hit we started to suffer budget cuts and the adverse effects this brings on recruitment, sustaining provision and so on. Our management felt the brunt of the original cuts with team leaders and senior managers decreasing bringing many teams under the same management structure, bringing together practitioners from different parts of Devon into the same teams – all 38 Youth Clubs.
In Nov 2014 we had the big one – large-scale cuts to budget, redundancies to delivery staff and closure of Youth Clubs. After an initial proposal to close all youth centres and use the staffing resource for ‘targeted youth support workers’ within the social care team was met with challenge and some degree of anger by communities, young people and parents etc. a new proposal and specification was drawn up.
This new vision for youth services in Devon provided by DCC stated that Devon Youth Service should retain 8 Youth Hubs (Barnstaple, Bideford, Exeter, Exmouth, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Tiverton & Totnes) and the the 70 (approx) staff would split our time between open access youth work and targeted support for young people.
This was the basis of the service we have today because crucially there was a statement which read ‘we are committed to exploring future models of delivery’ – outsourcing the service. Members of the Management team quickly started work on putting forward a business case to make the argument that we, as a staff team, could set up a new organisation and bid for the contract.
In 2016 Devon County Council announced that they would be asking organisations to bid for the tender to run youth services in Devon for 3 years – working more or less to the same specification that had been in place since Nov 2014 (with the addition of a 9th ‘Hub’ in Dawlish, which we use for Chances and Dawlish Action for Youth use for open access in the evenings).
DYS Space Ltd – us – space* – secured the contract in Oct 2016 with a live date of Feb 1st 2017. This initial contract is based around 5 main ‘Service Areas’
- Open Access youth work (traditional youth club activities, participation, volunteers, informal education etc. etc.)
- Targeted Support (group work like LGBT, Young People in Care, Mental health groups and also 1:1 referred young people from a wide range of agencies)
- Chances (alternative education project based at Newton Abbot and Dawlish)
- Community Youth Work Support (a team of 4 part time youth workers, who support our vol secor partners in the communities running youth clubs – some of which are out old building for instance)
- Duke of Edinburgh Scheme (a slightly reduced offer from before as the license situation has changed and we now mainly deal with special schools and hard to reach YP)
You can find out more about these services by clicking through this site or speaking to any members of staff that work within projects or hubs.