101 Things to Do on the Street by Vanessa Rogers

Sunday, April 1st, 2012 Book Review by Valerie Jackson

Vanessa Rogers has worked in the industry of which she writes. This is always a good sign. ‘Been there; done that’ works well when writing helpful texts for colleagues. Her website provides more details about her and the work she has completed as well as her availability for training, conferences etc.The contents page lists the different tasks and exercises so that the reader can go straight to what they need. There is very little preamble – always a bonus.

The first section of the book deals with the whys, whats and whos. Why choose street work, what it entails and who are the youth that will come along. She advocates the importance of developing and sustaining partnerships with other community-based groups such as police, health workers (including sexual, mental and addiction), charitable organisations and community leaders. There is a passage about the funding and expectations of each group. Vanessa Rogers remains realistic about the risks, the temporary nature of street work and the hoped-for outcomes.

She talks about a basic kit bag, which should contain amongst other items a mobile phone, ID, personal alarm, paper, cards and a host of other resources.

The book fits well with the national play movement in this country, which has gathered momentum over the past five or six years. The specimen risk assessment agreement allows for some risky play to be developed whilst maintaining the standards of health and safety required.

The activities and tasks recommended cost very little and can be developed within minutes. There are many creative exercises such as quick photos, tie-dye, Halloween lanterns and some more challenging situations and quizzes, for example, how much do you drink, leaving home, exploring attitudes.

The book has different examples of quick evaluations so that the workers can see what works and what does not with their different groups of young people.

This is a book that will be used time and again. I would also recommend this for teachers and counsellors, as some of the exercises are excellent for getting those difficult conversations started.

Rogers, Vanessa (2011) 101 Things to Do on the Street – Games and resources for detached, outreach and street-based youth work

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

ISBN: 9781849051873

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