Children and young people wanted to stop a planning application for an access road that would have destroyed a long standing play area. They formed an action group made up of local residents, organised a petition, wrote formal letters of opposition and attended planning meetings. The decision has been deferred whilst an alternative access point is found.
The Youth Opportunity Fund and the Youth Capital Fund are designed to involve young people in decision making by giving them control over funding and more choice and influence over youth provision and facilities in their area. Bolton’s YOF and YCF funds were distributed through the Cash Panel made up of young people who considered applications and decided where to direct funds. Young people within the borough applied to the panel for money to fund various projects. Three projects that have benefited from the funding have seen young people with disabilities attend a music scheme, a project further promote its work engaging a broad section of young people and a school for young people with disabilities engage safely in water-based activities.
As part of the Partners for Change programme Swindon Library Service has been involving young parents and looked after young people in the development of its services. Young people wanted more space for the proposed young people’s section of the library and young parents felt that the library offered nothing for them. The children’s section of the library has been redesigned. Young parents from two local housing associations are able to use the library as a neutral base for their Getting Connected courses. A young people’s section of the library has been developed, and the youth forum continues to strengthen its links with the library service.
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.
Following incidents of anti-social behaviour library staff decided to involve the young people who used to congregate outside with the renovation plans for the library. Young people said that they wanted comfy seats, a listening post and DVD’s. In addition to the changes that have been made in terms of facilities, relationships between the young people and library staff have vastly improved, demonstrated by an increase in library usage of 12% over the year.
As part of the national ‘Ask Us’ project Solihull Council Parks Department trained young disabled people to act as researchers and be involved in the design of local play areas. The young researchers gave presentations to council officers and their representatives. Funding through the children’s fund was granted to make local parks accessible. Three local parks were redeveloped on the recommendations of the young people to make them inclusive and accessible.
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.
The Young Tenants Forum raised the issue of accessibility with the council in relation to the housing services interview rooms. Young people provided a practical demonstration of the issues using a pushchair and made recommendations for change. The council has now rearranged the furniture and fittings for greater ease of access for both pushchair and wheelchair users.
The Young Tenants Forum was invited to comment on the multi-storey charter that was in operation for new tenants. Young people said that the document was hard to understand and was often received after tenancy had begun rather than prior to moving in. The council has now changed the document so that it is easier to understand with the help of the forum and it is given out with the offer of a flat so that young people are aware of the expected agreement in advance.