Grassroots youth workers are passionate about their work with young people, while being uncomfortable with – and sometimes opposed to - the consequences of the policy context in which they work. In times of austerity, open and grassroots forms of youth work are facing disproportionate spending cuts, while also being threatened by target cultures, managerialism and marketisation which distort the basis of youth work as a distinctive practice. The introduction defines and discusses youth work in England within a historical context and a global field of policy change. There is a particular focus on volunteers and part-time youth workers, whose voices are rarely heard in policy or research. The chapter introduces the qualitative research methods used to undertake the study on which the book is based, and discusses the key themes that arose from the research: policy, passion and resistance. Finally, it outlines the book's chapters.
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