About us

Established in 1989, Youth Focus: North East is a regional hub connecting young people and the organisations and professionals who support them.

Progressive and dynamic, our award-winning organisation is rooted in the values of youth work. We support a network of over 1500 organisations and individuals concerned with improving the lives of young people.

Supporting the development of quality services – we want young people to have the best from the organisations they access and the professionals who work with them. We see the potential, not the problems, in young people.

We develop responses and demonstration projects that attempt to address big issues in young people’s lives. We also create space for young people to explore different issues and ideas; working alongside them to formulate responses. Youth Focus: North East amplifies the voice of young people so they can be heard and we open up doors to new opportunities for both young people and professionals across the North East.

Our story…

For over 25 years, Youth Focus: North East has been working across the region to improve the lives of young people. We are now based in the north and south of the region, calling Gateshead home for some time, and now having a base in the Tees Valley in Middlesbrough.

In 1989, a group of professionals from across the North East came together to establish the Northern Regional Youth and Community Development Unit (NRYCDU) – the first incarnation of our current organisation. The professionals were drawn from the statutory and voluntary youth sector, as well as representatives from the higher education institutions which delivered professional youth work training. NRYCDU was established, primarily, to support the training of youth workers across the region.

For a number of years, the training of youth workers and support for the basic youth work training in the region was a key focus of our work.

We also delivered strategic support to the youth work sector for a number of regional groups including the Regional Youth and Community Committee, the North East Principal Youth Officers Group, Regional Forum for Voluntary Youth Organisations, Regional International Committee and the Regional Accreditation and Moderation Panel (to oversee youth work training). Our strategic position as a regional hub for the youth sector and youth work development has remained a key purpose for our organisation.

In 2003, our organisation changed both its name and its legal status, becoming North East Regional Youth Work Unit and a charity/company limited by guarantee. Another significant development at this time was increasing our direct work with young people, particularly through the establishment of the North East regional Youth Work Assembly (NERYA).

Over the next 10 years, our direct delivery work through programmes such as Truth about Youth, NE Generation, My Mind Matters and Change Ur Mind increased significantly, and today, our work with young people forms the majority of our provision. In recent years, we have also increased our development work, where we take ideas that address key issues from young people’s lives, pilot new programmes, evaluate and share our learning. We now have a model which brings together the three key elements of our provision – Strategy, Delivery and Development.