Beyond Brexit: the impact of leaving the EU on the Youth Work Sector?

Annette Coburn, Sinead Gormally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the context and potential impact for youth work, in light of the result of the UK referendum on whether to remain or leave the European Union. Having voted to leave, the article considers potential problems and possibilities for youth work practice within a post-‘Brexit’ Britain. It notes a continual erosion of resources across the UK that has led us to note that youth work had reached a ‘tipping point’ in its evolution, where austerity measures have curtailed capacity for youth work in a range of settings. The article goes on to articulate the potential impact of Brexit on continued professional development among staff and a reduced social return on investment, due to loss of EU funding. This is particularly cogent in communities where acute conditions and effects of poverty and unemployment are important drivers of community and youth work practices.
Recognising that this is entirely uncharted territory, our assertion is that despite inherent concerns in shifting funding and mobility contexts, this decision also creates conditions for renewal of youth work practice as a creative and resilient sector within social and informal education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYouth & Policy
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017


  • Brexit
  • youth work
  • young people


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