Tower Hamlets-20130620-00109
July 5th, 2013

A new direction…

We began our girls-only work in response to the fact that we were seeing very few young women accessing our mixed, evening provision. This situation is replicated in youth clubs in Tower Hamlets, and right across the country, and means that young women are very often not accessing or benefitting from youth provision as much as their male peers. From our research and experience we have learnt that young women operate in a different way to young men and that traditional youth work favours young men in its approach, therefore indirectly excluding young women. Young women tend to socialise in smaller groups, and are often less confident and/or less interested in ‘traditional’ activities such as pool and table tennis, which many youth clubs are still focused around. These factors can lead to young men dominating youth club space. Locally there are also cultural factors that mean young women are less likely to access evening and mixed provision.

Over the last three years the approach we have developed to working with young women has led to approximately 350 young women accessing our services. This means that over 50% of our total users are young women, a target that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has yet to achieve.

We have been working through what a Vision might look like and although this is not a final draft, this is the shape of things to come:

 

To be comfortable in their skin – young women who know, and are secure about, their inherent value, who embrace who they are, and walk confidently with their unique set of strengths and gifts.

To be comfortable in their communities – young women who know the value of others, who are able to build and maintain good relationships, within and beyond the home, and who have the resources to face and overcome adversity.

To be comfortable in their world – young women who have broad horizons, have hopes and aspirations for their futures and who are compassionate and concerned for the needs of others and about how they can contribute to their world.

In the coming weeks we will be exploring this further and you will see how we are developing the work.