Adi: leading global youth work in Bolton

Youth Worker Adi Davies has worked with Y Care International on lots of global yout work projects. He shares his passion for global learning with young people in the YMCA.

Bolton YMCA is situated in the heart of Bolton and for over 125 years has been supporting young people through community projects ranging from physical activity, sexual health to volunteering and international development. For the past few years Bolton YMCA has worked with Y Care International’s Global Youth Work team so young people could explore global issues.

We caught up with Adi Davies, who spent eight years working for Bolton YMCA and now is situated in Kosovo and he let us know about the value, challenges and opportunities that Global Youth Work brought to his local YMCA.

What was your first experience of Global Youth Work?

Bolton have been working with Y Care International’s Global Youth Work team for a number of years but my first experience I remember was my manager saying “we’re involved in a project called Guns, Gangs and Knives and we need to you to work on it for the next five weeks!”. On that project we worked with young people in the YMCA and in a nearby youth offender’s institute. The project was about taking their experiences of gangs and looking at the causes of gang culture in the global south.

Which other projects did Bolton YMCA collaborate with Global Youth Work ?

We hosted a global youth work Roadshow on fair trade and invited partners from the town and North of England. We looked at fair trade’s roots and had various activities on the day. Obviously Bolton being a fair trade town it was a great example for young people to identify, and make the global links.

Adi Davies, Youth Worker

Adi Davies, Youth Worker

You then applied for funding through the Global Youth Work in Action project. Tell us how the young people went about choosing which global issue they wanted to explore?

It all started when young people showed their passion for different issues. For example, a young person said that we had given his kebab away to a homeless person and he wanted to look at homelessness and this idea of giving. We knew that homelessness is bigger than Bolton and bigger than England so we saw there were opportunities to explore the global aspects.

We had a young person called Gwali visit the YMCA to speak about his journey from Afghanistan across Europe by boat and on foot. Some of the young people had been kicked out their homes but they had learnt that had he and his family had been forcibly removed due to war and living as an asylum seeker. Hearing about his story had a much bigger impact on the young people than I or they could ever imagine!

What the difference between Global Youth Work project and a youth work project?

I think it’s about making young people global citizens. They understand that their behaviour has an effect on other parts of the world. I feel that because we are part of the YMCA movement, it makes sense to make connections there in the Global South, Eastern Europe and everywhere really! It’s about learning and understanding the world is bigger than Bolton.

Through all the projects (Gangs, Guns and Knives; Fair trade; Drug Trafficking, Homelessness) is was about choice, hearing about how young people in other countries want better lives but often don’t have any choice and it was about the young people saying “that’s not fair let’s do something about it!” and so we provided a space for them to learn, to raise awareness, fundraise, write to MPs and to take action.

If you want to receive information, training opportunities, resources and news about Global Youth Work join our Youth Workers Network or email



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