Community and Youth Work

Contact details for the Youth Club & all our youth activities:

– Marc 07784 950308
– Debbie 07969 114592
In March 2023 Zebra launched a new youth night for 11-16 year-olds, seed-funded for 5 months by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner. There was immediate take-up by Devonport young people, so we sought and secured further funding from the People’s Health Trust which has enabled us to continue the work for a further 18 months (up to spring 2025), and to expand the work to include more trips and some team training.

Our children’s & youth work is:

* Strengths-based – believing in and drawing upon everyone’s resourcefulness, strengths, interests, aspirations, meanings and values (rather than focusing on deficits and ‘what’s wrong’)
* Trauma-informed – recognising that, where children experience adversity – such as abuse, neglect, poverty and discrimination – this is likely to impact on them and to show up in their behaviour; we aim to be responsive, supportive, relational and restorative (rather than reactive and punitive)

Our ambition is to develop a broad, responsive children’s and youth programme which:

* can provide a bridge between individual children & young people and opportunities – locally, citywide and beyond
* holds spaces for and with them in which they feel safe, respected, nurtured and valued, and over which they develop a sense of ownership
* is inclusive, recognising and responding well to difference, especially those differences which are commonly associated with discrimination
* promotes active citizenship, e.g. engaging young people in pressing issues such as the climate crisis
* extends to the children’s & young people’s families

Our children’s & youth work benefits from the voluntary input of local people (including some Zebra members). We provide full induction, individual and group supervision, termly team meetings and training opportunities. If you’re interested, contact Debbie or Marc on the numbers above, or email

Contact details for the Community Cancer Champions project, 2024-27:

– Niqui 07421126522

After years of developing community initiatives in partnership with Macmillan, Zebra is pleased to be hosting this action research programme, exploring an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach to addressing the fact that people living in low income communities tend to have a significantly poorer experience of the cancer journey, from pre-diagnosis through to post-treatment.

Macmillan has designed a large-scale programme to test this approach in selected communities here in Plymouth, beginning in Devonport and Stonehouse. Zebra is leading, and collaborating with Age UK Plymouth and the social prescribing service at Wolseley Trust.

For more details on this project, email 

What Zebra brings

Good things happen when people get together to run our lives and our communities ourselves.

The Zebra line-up includes qualified and experienced youth / community development workers and others who are life-long community activists.

And Zebra itself has been active in community work, e.g. creating and developing Plymouth’s community and voluntary sector infrastructure organisation, POP, from 2013 until late 2016 when it became an independent entity owned by the sector; developing time banks in the city, 2011-2017 (when that too became an independent social purpose org); running VSO’s Global Xchange programme (cross-cultural youth working in community development) between Surkhet, Nepal and Plymouth, UK, in 2011-12.

Community projects

We are always looking to create, join and support community projects that reflect our values and approaches, putting our values and principles (e.g. equality, inclusion, sustainability, solution-focused) into practice.

We have a long track record of working with community associations and activist groups to support and enhance their work, e.g. through running training & development workshops on topics identified by the groups themselves.

Where such groups approach us but don’t have the money to pay for our services, we can support them to attempt to find funding sources, and where that’s not possible we will consider working with the group at no cost. Our decision to legislate that Zebra does not distribute its profits amongst its members, but instead uses them to enable free or subsidised work, allows us to do this.

Solution-focused community development

Solution-focused principles are central to our community work approach:

  • The community must request, want and lead the work
  • The primary focus is the community’s best hopes
  • Building a rich picture of what the realisation of those best hopes will look like
  • We focus on what’s strong (not what’s wrong); focusing on, drawing out – and thereby helping the community to notice – its strengths and resourcefulness, the assets (activists & leaders, existing connections, resources, social capital) at its disposal, progress (what’s already good or getting better) etc.
  • Looking at what “one step closer” to the best hopes will look like, and focusing on taking that step

We see a close fit here with Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), and we believe that the two approaches are synergistic.

Radical Help

We believe that community development is a social justice issue. Many communities are held back by socio-political challenges, constraints and oppressions such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, globalisation and displacement. We believe in naming these forces of social injustice, bearing witness to people’s struggles, always devoting a proportion of our efforts to protesting these injustices, and then working hard with such communities to progress towards their best hopes despite (“given that”).

We are inspired by the work of Hilary Cottam and her organisation Participle, as presented in her book Radical Help, that explores possibilities for radical alternatives to the current shape of Britain’s welfare state, especially health & social care. Again, we see a close fit with solution-focused thinking and practice, and plenty of clues for change.

For enquiries or further details please email