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UWTSD hosts a regional conference to address Youth Homelessness.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has held a regional conference recently at the Halliwell Theatre in Carmarthen to address Youth Homelessness.

This innovative conference took place on the 16th of November. It was arranged by Nick Hudd and Tim Ramsey from the Pembrokeshire Local Authority, both former students from the BA Youth and Community Work programme. The conference explored how the youth work sector can help address youth homelessness, respond to changing needs and what more can be done especially whilst we’re currently living in a period of national crisis.

Nick said,

“Youth Homelessness is a complex issue and it is important for the Youth Work sector to develop a collaborative approach to addressing it. This conference set out to actively engage a host of stakeholders including practitioners, strategic decision makers, higher education providers, students and statutory and third-sector organisations, in moving forward together to share good practice, knowledge and experiences, in order to better inform the work.”

The conference was designed to reflect on a range of factors relating to youth homelessness and explore how various stakeholders in the youth work sector could work collaboratively to have a positive impact on the agenda.

Over 120 delegates attended the conference which included Youth Workers, UWTSD staff, students, and other professionals.

A keynote speech was given by Sharon Lovell, Chair of the Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board, on the work of the newly established board, and the role of the sector in addressing youth homelessness.

She adds:

“ I’m delighted that Pembrokeshire Local Authority has put on this incredibly important event about working together to end youth homelessness. With over a 120 participants here from the local authorities, from Welsh Government, the Youth Work sector, and various places, all want to come together to have a collaborative partnership approach to ending youth homelessness, not just for young people in Pembrokeshire, but for the young people of Wales.

“ As the Chair for the Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board, it’s critical that youth workers are seen as such huge importance in the trusted relationship that they develop with young people to support them when they need it the most.”

After the keynote speech, delegates were invited to attend various workshops to address themes such as engaging with people with first-hand experiences to better inform a Youth Work response from the LGBTQ+ community, exploring the need to develop research in order to inform effective Youth Work practice, and examining the need for an early intervention and prevention approach to averting youth homelessness in order to reduce an over-reliance on crisis management.

Other workshops questioned agendas such as are workers equipped to help address youth homelessness, using data to inform and develop youth work practice and what the youth work sector needs to know about the changes in housing legislation that will take place from December 1st, and how to ensure the Youth Work sector can respond appropriately.

UWTSD Youth and Community Work Programme Senior Lecturer Dr Darrel Williams said:

“ The conference has offered an opportunity to bring together Youth Workers and other practitioners with researchers to pool knowledge and understanding to improve the training of Youth and Community Workers and to increase understanding of homelessness among young people.”

The event proved to be a success, and plans are in place to make this an annual event on campus.