True Grit Youth Development and Consultancy

True: adjective
real; genuine; authentic: true gold; true feelings.
sincere; not deceitful: a true interest in someone's welfare.
firm in allegiance; loyal; faithful; steadfast: a true friend.
being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something: the true meaning of his statement.

Grit: noun
abrasive particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.
firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck: She has a reputation for grit and common sense.



These large glowing forms interact with people via sound, light and colour. Each MARBLE contains interactive technologies that instinctively respond to human proximity or touch, triggering changes of color and sound. MARBLES are also able to multiply these interactions between themselves, communicating with each other. 

(via escapekit)

Beyond the Image

'Chris Grayling the Employment Minister gave a speech, which urged British companies to 'put local recruits first', saying: “It’s easy to hire someone from Eastern Europe with five years’ experience who has had the get up and go to cross a continent in search for work.” Ahem, yes it is. But there are “gems” closer to home, too, he insisted, although these can appear as diamonds in the rough: “Very often the surly young man in a hoodie who turns up looking unwilling to work can turn into an excited and motivated employee.”’ - Jenny McCartney, Telegraph.

'Sometimes a hoodie just doesn't fit the bill for a boss'

I started off feeling quite happy a member of the Government was recognising that there are diamonds in the rough but quickly became ‘miffed’ at the following remarks; Jenny McCartney saying that young people turn up to interviews as if they can’t be bothered or they are unwilling to work. For one I think you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they DO wish to work, for the sheer fact that they are sitting in front of you! Secondly, has anyone ever thought that if they look uninterested it might be because they have reserved themselves to being rejected once again due to ‘lack of experience’?

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is amazing..

Lesson 1: Stay focused!

I’ve learned a really big lesson over the last few weeks- ‘stay focused!’ No one else can do this for you and if you lose focus, you lose momentum.

I’m a very driven person and I push myself to deliver the best service I can for my young people and my organisation. I love my job and rarely a day passes that I’m not bringing my laptop home to continue working on something, writing up session plans or researching for a project. This, I am told by many, is madness!

Over the last few months I have been moving forward with my plans to run my own business offering freelance consultancy and tailored packages to organisations working with/intending to work with young people. (hence the reason I started this blog)

Although my job is a contract, funded by the Big Lottery-it’s still a job I have until next summer- but my god does it keep me busy! Which brings me to the title of this entry..

There have been lots of amazing things happening with my groups lately! We’ve delivered great events, secured contracts and even won an award. Being busy however, has distracted me from pushing forward with my plans for the future.

This is my first blog post since the end of October, I have favourite tweets that I keep meaning to write posts about or research, and I have a website I am yet to set up!

So what am I trying to tell you? -: don’t underestimate the sheer dedication and organisation needed to keep momentum. You can achieve anything- but ensure you break it down into regular bite size chunks that work for you. My diary is now a colour coded masterpiece dictating when I will post blogs, work on the web page and obviously my paid work!

Watch this space


Putting my head above the parapet!

So ashamedly I notice that I haven’t posted a blog for over a month now…wow!

Not to fear, I have re organised my diary, my life, my writing time and I will have a new post up at least once a week- without fail!

Like a wise man once said ‘go hard, or go home’…or maybe that was just Dave?!


Youth | Time for a Rethink ~ The Coffee Shop

(Click on the title for link to blog)

My Response: 

Your last point hit the nail on the head for me. Youth Work is a business, and Youth Workers typically are not taught how to run it unless they climb the ladder to become CEO of the charity or centre. This requires extra training ON TOP of the original NVQ or Degree they took in Youth Studies.

Yes money is tight- you can still squeeze it from somewhere but innovation is key, networking is key- and people actually being willing to share is key! As a youth worker I see too many people being too precious about their work; especially between statutory and voluntary sectors. If you took away that narcissism of selfishness then surely we would be providing a better well rounded holistic service to our youth?!

Personally I believe if I have something:- a skill, information, a session plan that someone else can use to help their young people they can take it- heck, I’ll even teach them it- this is what’s missing right now. That age old notion of help thy neighbour!

Big society…where is it??

I think though- youth workers need to stop relying so much on funding. Funding s great- but think about your mind as the creative tool it was intended to be. You have so much within yourself that is free before you look elsewhere! Why not seek support from others too to see if you can borrow things- then save the funding for the really important stuff- like accrediting young people’s learning, and paying for more apprenticeships, or more wages!?



Check out these fantastic photos that use Valencia, one of the new filters added in v2.0, for the last installment of our hash-tagged filter feature. You can check out more images posted under the #valencia tag from Profile > Search Instagram > Tags.

Photos by timbenedict, dindacandra, lumierevc, explicitrockr, oscardelamora, reniseblack, yannoufunky, gunhp, everhard83, toshiro80, mmerline, & mufftarkin.

#3 Orangeo

A fab, funky website and a founder behind it to match!

Ok- So this connection started with me asking Jon if I could put his poster about Apprenticeships up in my centres too or if it was just aimed at a specific region/ status of young people (such as those in college)

Subsequently he checked out the website that young people I work with have built for our project and thought it was great- I couldn’t agree more! ;) Plugging our own projects and work unashamedly I was really pleased to see that Jon is an apprentice himself and has set up Orangeo to offer support and advice to other young people thinking about them- from a young persons perspective!

Just what we need- someone giving real, on the job experience and advice about a career option for young people! I’ll continue to follow his progress, and share the site with young people I work with too!


#2 James McNaughton (Homelessness and the arts)


What an amazing guy! I found out about James whilst scouting out the O2 Think Big project website for my own venture. I have been involved with Housing since I started my career in Youth Work. Maybe it’s just coincidence but I’ve always landed jobs with housing providers!

James is highlighting a really important issue to the mass via the most amazing creativity. I’m really into visual arts and especially photography so it has been a pleasure to see the brilliant work James is putting together.

'Homelessness and the Arts uses Artwork (Paintings, poetry, literature, video, drama etc.) To challenge the negative stereotypes associated with Youth Homelessness, give Young, (ex)homeless people a voice to raise their concerns about the Homelessness System, how the Support available can be improved, and to break the stereotypes that they lack ambition, motivation, and will rely on state benefits for the rest of their lives.'

When you walk past a Homeless person….do you notice them….if you do are you kind to them..? Or do you think to yourself that they have brought it upon themselves? Something to consider and challenge yourself on at least!

I’ve had a few chats with James now and intend to support his venture in any way I can. Previous to my current role I used to be a Youth Homeless Prevention Worker and dabble in photography, so I’m hoping we can link in somehow to continue the big impact he’s making!


#1: David Mcqueen

David Mcqueen is one of those rare gems you find when you’re least expecting it!

I can’t even remember how we actually began talking over Twitter?! However, more to the point is that we’re still engaging in conversation, both on and off Twitter. David is inspiring me everyday. He has shared valuable information and advice with me which I continue to absorb with full appreciation and intend to use!

Seeing what he has achieved and witnessing what he intends to achieve leaves me in awe quite literally of his caliber, and his dedication to supporting and motivating young people to achieve! Should anyone reading this be looking for someone to speak to their students/young people, seriously give Dave a call!

If one day I am even half as successful as Mr McQueen- I will consider myself very lucky indeed! I look forward to anything that networking with him might bring in the future!