Sometimes the stars don’t align

The nature of their chaotic lifestyles means that attendance is never guaranteed no matter how much we encourage it.

Sometimes plans don’t work. The stars don’t align and the people invited don’t attend. This is especially true of partnership work. What worked for one project might not work for the same project held later in the year.  What excited one group of young people may bore another.

With lots of factors affecting what young people can prioritise, it’s no wonder that sometimes we just have to admit that a project hasn’t worked.

Working on the Circuit programme has taught us that what learning we take from a project, how we evaluate it and what we do to move our partnerships forward, is more important than a project being successful if we don’t know why.

When the project with Nottingham Youth Offending Team earlier this year didn’t work out, we knew we must evaluate what had happened to be able to move on and make sure we are providing the right access points for the young people they work with. Part of this evaluation process involved getting feedback from the partnership group.

Our email correspondence is below to illustrate the nature of partnership and work with 15 – 25 year olds.

In 2016 and in the fourth year of Circuit we will be re-evaluating our partnership strand, deciding if our work with our current partners is mutually beneficial, and if it isn’t look to work out new, more experimental ways of working, or seek out partners who are in a position to be able to work with us on a larger scale.


Rachel, Youth Offending Team:

Just wanted to say thank you for giving us the opportunity to run a Girls Group at the Contemporary and I’m sorry that it did not work out as it did have the potential to be a very effective programme.  Unfortunately that is the nature of the young people that we work with and we can never guarantee their attendance at appointments, no matter how hard we try!

Thanks again for your hard work.


Alice, Youth Programmer:

Thanks for the email. We understand how it is with these young people, and hope that they progress positively with the support they are receiving. Thank you for your time trying to get this off the ground, when you have such important work to do.

Would you mind, if you have a spare moment, to write a paragraph or so, evaluating what happened and explaining why attendance was practically impossible this time around?

If you have any young people you feel could be signposted to our young people’s programme in the future, please don’t hesitate to send them our way!

Let me know about the evaluation, and thanks again.


Rachel, Youth Offending Team:

Looking back on the Girls Group and possibly reasons as to why it was unsuccessful I think that there are a couple of explanations. The reluctance of Case Mangers to refer their young people to the Girls Group is a common problem here  and we come up against this same problem with the other groups that we are currently trying to run here. This issue is being addressed by management, which will hopefully lead to an increase in referrals to not just the girls group but to all the other groups that we run.

Also the most common problem with running programmes here is the lack of attendance. Even if attendance at these programmes is a statutory part of their order, the responsibility for arriving at these programmes, on time, is theirs as we do not have the time or facilities to pick every individual up from their home and bring them to the programme. It is our responsibility to ensure the expectations of behaviour and attendance are explained clearly to them prior to the programme commencing,  and that we correctly follow up any failure to attend by issuing warnings or breach of order action.  The nature of their chaotic lifestyles means that attendance is never guaranteed no matter how much we encourage it.

Thanks again for providing us with this opportunity.