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Young Hackney represents a significant change in the way we do youth work. It brings together the skills and expertise of the Youth Service, Youth Support Team and Youth Offending Team into Young Hackney units – self directed, multi-skilled work teams where expertise is shared.

A single front door

The system is designed to give young people and their parents easier access to services. Young people will be able to start their journey wherever Young Hackney workers are based: whether this is at a youth centre, at a school, or within a youth health clinic.

Units will be based in the new Young Hackney centres and at other venues in the community, where they will work closely with schools and other universal services. Staff at each of the four neighbourhood centres, linked to the central hub at Forest Road, will work to develop partnership arrangements with other youth providers to ensure a local youth offer that is:

  • diverse
  • meeting the full spectrum of young people’s needs
  • available at times when young people want to access services


The nature of partnerships with other agencies varies according to circumstances on the ground, but can involve

  • the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • the Integrated Gangs Unit
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Probation Services
  • voluntary and community sector providers
  • education, training and employment services

Some Young Hackney units will be assigned specific functions, doing family, court, partnership triage, custody triage and resettlement work.

The Young Hackney approach

Young Hackney is founded on the belief that all young people in the borough have the ability to achieve, regardless of their background – and given the right set of circumstances, and a positive range of influences, they will reach their full potential.

The challenge for Young Hackney is to provide opportunities for all to thrive, while giving appropriate support to those young people who need it, when they need it. We recognise that some young people will require more intensive and persistent support than others. Under these circumstances, we expect the new service to be able to intervene in a more effective way.

For some, the level of support required will need to be intensive and persistent. For others, positive contact with their peers and the opportunity to contribute to the development of the community will be sufficient. In all cases, we will seek to ensure that young people have the opportunity to influence, shape and improve the services on offer to them.

In providing support, Young Hackney workers will always start by looking at the ‘whole’ young person, identifying the positive networks and influences that already exist in their life, and finding ways to reinforce these networks. More often than not, this will be other young people they know, and we will always try to make sure young people are guided by the constructive influence of their peers.

The increased importance of young people’s peers is a natural part of the transition to independence. By identifying with peers, adolescents start to develop moral judgment and values, and to explore how they differ from their parents. Their ability to act independently – their agency – develops over time.

Young Hackney recognises that the shift in the adolescent’s social world from family to peers does not lessen the importance of the family in his or her life. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to support not only the young person but also his/her family through change.

We also believe that young people are not the passive recipients of circumstances; that they play an active role in shaping the context in which they operate. Influences are bi-directional and effective relationships are collaborative.

Young Hackney is therefore committed to reaping the positive benefits of group work, understanding that it provides a context in which young people can help each other. It can enable them to influence and change personal, group, organisational and community problems.

Youth Provider Networks

Youth Provider Networks (YPNs) are made up of organisations and young people that come together to discuss issues affecting their local area. In drawing together organisations from the public and voluntary sectors, the YPNs aim to create a co-coordinated approach to local decision-making, making the most of the skills that exist within the borough.

Youth Provider Network meetings

YPNs hold quarterly meetings in each of the four neighbourhoods within Hackney: Stoke Newington, Shoreditch, Homerton and the North East. Each neighbourhood Provider Network is chaired by a representative from the voluntary and community sector.

The current Chairs for the neighbourhood networks are:

  • Homerton Gabin Sinclair, Director, Rising Tide
  • Shoreditch Gail Mistlin, Director, Skyway
  • Stoke Newington Ida Scoullos, Hawksley Court TRA
  • North East Simon Donovan, Manor House Development Trust

If you’d like to find out more about the Youth Provider Networks or find out when the next meetings will take place, email

Community Empowerment Network

Young Hackney also works closely with VCS organisations through the Community Empowerment Network (CEN), run by Hackney Council for Voluntary Services. CEN is the umbrella organisation for a number of networks that relate to youth provision.

Page updated on: 9 December 2019

Young Hackney


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