Five years ago there was no youth provision for Sunderland south. Local young people attended a public meeting and formed a youth forum with the aim of developing a local youth centre. Young people were supported by detached youth workers, but the project was led by the young people right from the start. Recently a disused community building was renovated by the young people with the funding of a ‘Here to Help’ award. The young people opened their Box Youth Project in November 2006. This provides a place for young people to meet friends but also get help and guidance if they need it. The Box Youth Project now holds the main contract for Sunderland south youth provision and has also gained local extended schools contracts.
The Herd is a group of young people who wish to make changes for young people in their local community. Supported by their church group Pioneer People, the Herd have previously provided a mobile skate ramp until a permanent build was secured from the council. The Herd wished to continue with the mobile aspect of their work, as they wanted to bring youth facilities to where young people are gathering. The Herd with the support of Pioneer people applied for the Youth Opportunity Fund and were able to fund and refit a double decker bus. The Herd are providing sports competitions, art projects, environmental projects computer games and film nights from the bus for other local young people.
A group of young people ran a consultation, via questionnaires with other young people on their estate. They found that respondents wanted more facilities for young people, inlcuding a multi purpose sports area, a skate park, seating and shelters. They presented their findings to a group of local decision makers. A multi use game area enabling young people to play basketball and football has been built. A new shelter and bench area has also been created.
Street Dreams worked with young people in the Betchley area to investigate the issues relating to local racist attacks. Young people identified the key themes of parental influence, territorialism and the development of youth facilities. In response to this young people now have the opportunity to use the football facilities once a week at a local school as long as they form a racially mixed team. Violent racist attacks have significantly reduced a month after the project started.
Doncaster Youth Council identified a need for safe accessible facilities through consultation with young people and decided to use its Youth Capital Fund allocation to develop suitable facilities. An existing youth facility was identified as a suitable base. A steering group of young people worked with a wide range of professionals including architects, builders etc in order to ensure that young people’s needs were taken into account. The refurbished area is now open. Facilities include computer equipment, a healthy eating programme allowing young people to cook and sell healthy food and a basketball court. Use of the facility has increased from 70 young people in the first month to 360 young people.
Young people from the traveller community had been telling their detached workers on the local estate that that they were getting into trouble for fishing illegally. The Youth Opportunity Fund in Wiltshire (WYPOF) offered a way to legalise the activities that people were already engaged in. Young people applied for YOF funding to secure 10 licences, fishing and camping equipment.
Young people originally wanted to revamp a bus stop that they regularly used as an unofficial youth shelter. This proposal was rejected because of concerns about noise and litter. At the same time the church council felt that the church buildings were underused and offered the undercroft building as an alternative venue for young people to meet. Local Network Funding helped to ensure the site was fit for purpose and equipped with facilities. The Welland Youth Group have agreed a contract with the development group of the church and have enjoyed the use of the undercroft for a number of years.
Young people who used Mesnes Park complained to detached youth workers that the park was unsafe and had few facilities for them. The detached team challenged young people to do something about this; in response young people formed a youth action group. The action group raised the issue with the council and worked to gain the opinions and support of other young people. As a result the regeneration of the park has become a prominent community issue. Temporary lighting and a skate ramp has been put in place for the short term, and the action group is involved in the planning for the longer term regeneration. The experience of the youth action group has reinvigorated the youth council. The process has highlighted the importance of young people’s participation and the council and other organisations are increasingly seeking to involve the young people in their work.
Young people in the village had been using a bus stop as an informal youth shelter. This had generated tensions with some residents living nearby. As a result of the tensions the parish council invited young people and local residents to a round table meeting. This established the need for young people to have a meeting place of their own. Connexions and Young Farmers worked with the young people in developing their plans whilst the council sought a suitable place to locate a youth shelter. The council supported the young people throughout the lengthy process and the young people now have a straw bale construction that they can call their own.
Young people identified, during a consultation that there was nowhere for young people in Darton to hang out. A group, Parklife was formed with young people to look at ways in which parks in the area could be improved. Parklife organised a number of events, one of which was a trial skate park. The skate park was a great success and after applying for and receiving funding a permanent skate park is about to be built.