Better together? Young people for accessible youth work


The P&V Foundation cares deeply about youth work. A varied youth work landscape in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia guarantees a whole range of work forms where children and young people spend their free time together in an (un)exciting way. Yet this form of participation does not appear to be equally distributed among all young people and a number of groups remain conspicuously absent from this youth work story.

This observation led Foundation P&V to launch the project " Better together? Young people for accessible youth work! ", supported in this by a bilingual and multidisciplinary support group.

Starting point

The starting point of this project is the proposition that the construction and development of an open, democratic and tolerant society has better chances if people can effectively meet each other in different social contexts. In these relationships, especially for young people, youth associations, youth movements and youth work play an important role.

As in other areas of social life, youth work faces the challenge of learning to deal with diversity. There are already a whole range of organisations specialised in working with and on diversity. Nevertheless, many children and young people remain on the sidelines and equal opportunities for many in this field remain a dead letter. Youth association life, broadly defined, like all forms of association, systematically fails to reach some groups of people. It is about young people and people who may be underprivileged, it is also about young people and people who, precisely because of an overly exclusive orientation towards what we can call amorphous mass society, develop feelings of unease and translate them into hostility towards everything that seems a bit strange or different to them. The call to work on a more accessible regular offer alongside target-group-specific work and associations is becoming louder and louder. At the same time, the debate about the social role of youth work is emerging. All this is accompanied by a growing demand for principles, methods and good examples as well as room for reflection, vision development and awareness-raising.


The various processes leading to the social exclusion of young people were chosen as the target of the new project. How can youth work in the broad sense of the word ensure that it becomes (more) accessible to (groups of) young people who currently have few opportunities? That is the core question of the new project. The Foundation P&V wants to encourage this current discussion among youth work and youth-relevant sectors, the government, public opinion and young people themselves.

Project phases

Study day

To get the project off the ground, the Foundation P&V organised a large-scale seminar in Brussels on Friday 10 December 2004 under the title "Accessible youth work: research, visions and practical experiences". The results of the seminar were used by the Foundation P&V to finalise the outlines of the new project and, in addition, as input for the youth forum that was formed afterwards.


In April 2005, the P&V Foundation published the book "Better together? Young people for accessible youth work".

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum, which is about 35 Dutch- and French-speaking young people from Belgium, with a heart for youth work. They responded to a call from the P&V Foundation to participate in a long-term project on accessible youth work.

These young people, aged between 16 and 23, were given the opportunity to explore together the issues of (in)accessible youth work. Questions such as "what is youth work", "who does not participate" and "what is diversity" were answered together by talking to experts and visiting various types of youth associations in different Belgian cities.

They independently developed a vision of accessible youth work, and together worked out selection criteria for the Foundation's call for projects. One and a half years and 12 fascinating meetings later, the Youth Forum has successfully completed its mission.

Project call

On 27 June 2006, the P&V Foundation launched a project call. For a year and a half, the Youth Forum worked out the vision and selection criteria for this large-scale project call. From no fewer than 174 candidate applications from all over Belgium, they selected 19 laureates. Together, these youth organisations will receive EUR 300,000 in support from the P&V Foundation for their submitted projects.

The announcement of the laureates marks the conclusion of the multiannual project "Better together? Young people for accessible youth work!" of the P&V Foundation.

The laureates include vzw Jong from Ghent, Association Repère from Sint-Gillis, MSC Ahlan from Antwerp and asbl Epona from Momalle.

1 January 2007

With the support of logo pv group