Held in Falkirk, Scotland, the 2009 Congress for the co-operation programme called “Spinach for Popeye” aimed at gathering practitioners for a follow on youth exchange for young people. The programmes started 12 years ago and its objectives were to explore, develop and sustain new and innovative programmes of practice in order to support work with vulnerable young people who are at risk of exclusion from school, are not achieving their full potential, who are lacking confidence and motivation or have access to fewer opportunities.
Over the years this project has helped to promote and support a more positive transition from school into further education, training and or employment for a high number of young people. As a result a number of new initiatives, resources, collaborative projects and approaches have been explored and developed. These have made a difference in the lives of many young people. During the Congress, participants are offered the potential to learn about and try new ideas and methodologies and apply if appropriate beyond the Congress… back in the workplace.
The objectives of the 2009 Congress “Supporting Families to Support Young People” was based around the importance of the role of the family / carers in supporting the young person through the transition period and how to build and sustain quality support systems for these groups both independently and jointly. It focused on examples of good practice around this theme, particularly those which promote collaboration between agencies.Workers who attended the Congress were from a range of partner organisations including schools, youth services, social work, police, employment and training, College and social services.
The programme continued with a further Congress held in the Odenwald in Germany between the 5th and 9th November 2012– with the theme “Changing Attitudes, Developing Practice, Improving Chances” – “Challenges for Professionals, Families and Young People”. Sadly Den Helder in Holland did not continue as a partner but we were pleased to welcome Nuoro in Sardinia to the programme.