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Detached youth work: engaging with young people on the fringes

Detached youth work, which is rooted in Christian tradition, can be a great way on reaching and connecting with and supporting socially excluded young people, detached work can be more than that.

Fr Gregory Boyle suggests that ‘we don’t go to the margins to make a difference. We go to the margins so that folks at the margins make us different’.

Detached youth work meets young people, who are often excluded from society, where they are, on their turf. In doing so it creates space to learn what things look like from the edge and discover from that place what positive transformation and good news might look like for the young people we find there.

This equipping day draws its material from a variety of sources including: The Grove Booklet Detached Youth Work by Steve Blower, which can be purchased at grovebooks.co.uk/collections/youth. I also draw upon the book Meet Them Where They’re At by Richard Passmore and the blog How to Start a Detached Youth Work Project: A Step by Step Guide, which can be found here.


  • What is Detached Youth Work? And What Detached Youth Work is NOT?

  • The Aims of Detached Youth Work

  • A Theology of Detached Youth Work

  • The Benefits and Challenges of Detached Youth Work

  • Practical Steps/Getting Started

  • Ground Work: Key Considerations and Essentials

  • The Process

  • Tips for Cold/Initial Contact

  • After the acknowledgement phase

  • Establishing and Developing Relationships

  • Youth-Led Action

  • Exploring Spirituality

  • Staying safe on the streets

  • Books, Blogs and Useful Websites

  • Q&A

  • Closing Devotional

This course is also available as a