Family, friends and colleagues were today (18 May) paying tribute to Jean Case, a play and youth worker who dedicated her life to helping others.

Jean, 49, died suddenly at her home on 21 April. Her funeral was taking place today at the Heart Church in Nottingham, followed by a celebration of her life at Bulwell Riverside.

A play and youth worker for 12 years, Jean made a huge impact on the communities and the young people she worked for – helping to organise activities for thousands of young people in the city over the years.

Jean had a successful career in IT but moved to full-time youth work to be able to make a difference to children and young people after her experience of volunteering at the Tardis (Birken Patch) Voluntary Play and Youth Group and the Street Reach Project.

She started work with the City Council’s Youth Service in 2005, working on projects which supported children and young people from an ethnic minority background.

From 2010, Jean became a Play and Youth Specialist, where she was responsible for all aspects of play and youth practice and provided a range of support to frontline staff, managers and partners.

Jean was an effective advocate for participation and young people’s social rights and led on an exchange project to the Strasbourg Parliament and local youth service to share and learn new ways to achieve these aims. The young people who participated showcased the work on their return to parents, carers, colleagues and councillors. This work continues through the Youth Council and other projects across the city on a weekly basis.

In 2011, Jean received the Jean Varnam Community Award from the Notts Police Chief Constable for her work with the Oliver Hind Youth Club, which provided facilities to keep young people off the streets. She was praised for her work to secure £10,000 to provide a summer programme for the youth club, making it possible for children to try water sports, visit Alton Towers, Drayton Manor and the National Climbing Centre.

Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children and Adults at the City Council, said: “Through her work in our service, with partners in the voluntary sector and through her church, Jean touched so many people’s lives and was a champion of positive activities and opportunities for our children and young people. She was a fearless, larger-than-life character who worked tirelessly on behalf of Children’s Integrated Services.

“Her death will be felt by not only her family, friends and colleagues but also by everyone whose life she touched throughout her many years at the council.”

Comments from young people who were supported by Jean included:

  • “Jean you kept me strong, when I thought I would fail.”
  • “Jean you will be missed by us all, loved our talk.”
  • “Dear Jean, You may be gone but not forgotten, we will miss your bossiness around the club and the warm presence you bring when you entered the room, miss you lots.”
  • “Jean showed us how to love and care, now we will do the same. Was in our lives now in our hearts.”
  • “Thank you for all your help, hugs and love, you were like the aunty I never had, always kept it real.”

Jean helped to organise the City Council’s annual Play and Youth Celebration event in March. A ‘Jean Case Award’ is now being planned in her honour for the next event to recognise outstanding achievement among young people to help and support others.

A book of condolence has also been set up at the City Council for colleagues to pay tribute to Jean.