What We Do


Supporting the youth sector across Oxfordshire

In an ever-changing economic, political, social and digital environment it is essential that those of us working on the ground with young people have the relevant skills and training and are connected to the wider range of opportunities available to young people. We work alongside youth organisations, proving a ‘working with’, rather than ‘doing to’ approach to sector support. We are surrounded by a huge amount of knowledge and expertise and believe that working together, we can better meet the needs of young people.

We work with a range of organisations from the voluntary, public and education sectors, all who strive to make Oxfordshire a great place for young people to live and grow up.

What do we provide?

We provide the following benefits to voluntary, public and education sectors:

  • Bespoke sustainability support
  • High quality training and networking events
  • Support with organisational development and governance
  • Inspiring leadership and youth participation opportunities
  • High quality youth activities
  • DBS service
  • Support with Quality Assurance
  • Knowledge and access to local and national partnerships, research and policy around children and young people

What do people say?

“We wouldn’t be where we are now without Oxfordshire Youth! We would not have been open! Their support over the years has been incredible”

Watlington Youth Club

“Our charity is a member of Oxfordshire Youth and we have found our membership invaluable when setting up as an organisation. Your advice, training, conference and online support has been so helpful”

Youth Challenge Oxfordshire


All of this can be accessed at heavily subsidised rates if you are a voluntary sector organisation. Please visit our membership page for further details.

We know that youth organisations are facing continued reduction in funding 1 (Children and Young People Now; 2017) and are needing to adapt and become more innovative in order to become sustainable.

We know the workforce across our membership is predominately volunteer-led which echoes the national picture of the youth sector currently. A shift from what was previously a largely statutory sector to a largely voluntary sector. 2. (Increasing Impact Report; 2017) It is important now more than ever, that we come together.


Sector Map

Oxfordshire Youth Training

Oxfordshire Youth Networking

Oxfordshire Youth Development

Oxfordshire Youth Governance

Oxfordshire Youth Safeguarding

Oxfordshire Youth Advice

Oxfordshire Youth Activities

Oxfordshire Youth Quality

Find out more about membership

Youth Leadership & VOICE

Supporting young people to be the best they can be

What do we provide?

Oxfordshire Youth believes that every young person should have access to opportunities to develop skills and raise their aspirations, whilst gaining recognition, including accredited training.

Our youth committee Voice sit at the heart of what we do, they meet monthly to work alongside staff to plan, deliver and review three events a year and they sit on our Board of Trustees to offer a young person’s perspective on key issues discussed and raise Trustees awareness of issues facing young people.

Oxford Young Leaders is a residential programme that supports young people to build their confidence and believe in themselves and their capabilities. It develops leadership and team skills, enabling them to take responsibility and be the best they can be in their current and future roles.

Oxfordshire Youth currently provide three youth leadership and participation opportunities:

  • VOICE – Oxfordshire Youth’s youth committee.
  • Oxford Young Leaders –an ILM accredited Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team skills (same level as a GCSE).
  • Oxfordshire Youth also work with Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford University Hospital School to run VOXY, the voice of Oxfordshire’s Youth.

Find out more:

What do people say?

“Oxfordshire Youth have run the Young Leaders Programme for Year 10 and 11 pupils at Rye St Antony. This has been a most worthwhile initiative. The skills, experiences and responsibilities that pupils have developed over the year are significant. The pupils have been mentored and encouraged by Laura Dennis and her team effectively, professionally and with great empathy. The pupils really enjoyed the residential weekend and met various challenges with great style, coming back to school with increased self-confidence and new friends. I recommend the course fully.”

Alex Neil, Deputy Head, Rye St Antony

“The Institute of Leadership and Management is proud to support the Oxfordshire Youth Young Leaders programme run in partnership with Insight Management Solutions. ILM recognises the innovative approach Oxfordshire Youth have shown in designing and delivering such a unique young leaders programme. The quality of delivery by Oxfordshire Youth has been exceptional with the young people deservedly gaining qualifications in team leading. The learners’ reflective comments confirm a particularly beneficial experience and outcome.”

Paul Burgess, External Verifier, Institute of Leadership & Management

“Insight is delighted to support the Oxfordshire Youth Young Leaders Programme. This ground-breaking programme sets new standards for the way young people are encouraged to engage with workplace leadership. The very high standard of work and commitment to their learning achieved by the young people completing this ILM qualification is impressive, and delivers very real benefits to any prospective employer.”

Terry Linehan, Senior Director, Insight Management Solutions


The most popular external benefits of a quality mark identified were:

Demonstrating quality to funders/commissioners (74%) and reassuring stakeholders about the quality of services (68%). The most popular internal benefit from working to quality standards was service improvement (79%).

(E. Brodie (NCVO) and G. Anstey (NCVO) with T. Vanson (OPM) and R. Piper (NCVO) “Scoping study – Quality Assurance in the Voluntary and Community Sector”, April 2012, P 5 and P 18)

The Ambition First Steps award assesses the essentials for working with children and young people. Oxfordshire Youth is funded by the Big Lottery to support our members to achieve the First Steps award. For more information please contact our membership team or click here.

The OY membership programme seeks to establish a self-certifying standard of quality across the youth sector in Oxfordshire. At the point of joining as a member, groups are required to declare that they have the policies and training that we believe are the minimum standard of safe and effective working. For more information please access the membership form.

Discover more about Membership


How do we ensure young people are kept safe?

We work in partnership with both Oxfordshire Children’s Safeguarding Board (OSCB) and Oxfordshire Adult’s Safeguarding Board (OSAB) 

We sit on OSCB/OSAB Joint Training Subgroup and work with OSCB to ensure that all training provided by OSCB is accessible to the youth sector, including through delivery of the Generalist Safeguarding training.

We provide FREE training ‘Introduction to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Training’ for schools in Oxfordshire

Plus, we provide a high-quality full DBS service to aid a safe recruitment process.


Policies and Documents

Our members have access to our online resource library containing Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Data Protection and Whistle Blowing policies.

Discover more about Safeguarding

Supporting Oxfordshire to be mental health aware

Oxfordshire Youth works with a pool of trainers to deliver ‘An Introduction to Children and Young People’s Mental Health’ training across Oxfordshire.

Our trainers are skilled practitioners working for a wide variety of organisations and have trained over 800 staff and volunteers since February 2018.

Working in partnership with Oxfordshire Mind, our Youth in Mind mental health conference is a must for anyone working with children and young people.

We are also part of an innovative new partnership, the Mental Wealth Academy, which focuses on supporting young people aged 18-25 who have experienced mild to moderate mental health issues. Our contribution to this project is the Mental Health Ambassador programme as well as mental health training for parents and carers.

[Youth in Mind] was a triumph…for the sector as a whole. Meticulous planning and timing; great variation, pace and content; really stimulating and the best networking opportunity for the third sector that I seen in 10 years as LL. Many congratulations!

Tim Stevenson OBE

Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire

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Young People’s Supported Accommodation

We have joined forces with mental health and housing charity Response to provide an innovative new approach to supported accommodation in Oxfordshire for young people aged 18-24.

Placing young people at the heart of the service, this is a co-designed model which has a grassroots youth work approach at its core.


Discover more about our new service:


DBS Checks with Oxfordshire Youth

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.

Oxfordshire Youth provides a full DBS Service which includes advice on levels of required clearance, form checking, identify verification and application submission.


Discover more about DBS:

Youth Awards

The Youth Awards is a celebration of young people from Oxfordshire. The event will shine a light on Oxfordshire’s outstanding, hard-working and talented children and young people who deserve to be celebrated.

They are organised by our Events Committee, which is made up of enthusiastic 16-21 year old young people.

Discover more about Youth Awards:

Sign Posting

Oxfordshire Safeguarding referrals: http://www.oscb.org.uk/

Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adult’s Board: https://www.osab.co.uk/

Oxfordshire Mental Health referrals: https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/oxon/

Children’s Rights website: https://rights4children.org.uk/

Activities Oxfordshire: http://oxme.info/cms/

For voluntary youth organisations please see our map of members