Ainsley Teenage Action Group (ATAG) ran from 1979-1984. Young people were encouraged to think about what their concerns were, why these existed and to take action. During the five years the young people were visited by and liaised with local councillors and the police. They campaigned for their own youth club and got a porta-cabin placed on the estate. They visited other youth clubs to learn about running youth facilities and successfully ran the youth club on the estate for themselves and younger people. The story doesn’t end there. 25 years later, researchers found how enduring these changes were for those who took part.
A young person affected by the installation of a mosquito device in his local town centre decided that he wanted it removed for both his benefit and that of other young people. Supported by a young people’s participation worker he contacted the local press, reported it to the police and registered a complaint to the council. The council, who had installed the device, removed it the next day.
Young people identified racism as an issue within this multi-cultural area and wanted to improve relationships within their community. The project identified a suitable training course for the young people who met regularly and invited other members of the community to join their project. The young people organised and helped run a fun day to bring all members of the community together. The young people feel that they have improved relationships between different cultures in the area.
Some members of the community were concerned about young people just ‘hanging about’. The council consulted with everyone and found that young people wanted a safe warm space to meet friends. In response the Westside initiative was started, held at the local comprehensive school, every Friday for young people. Over 200 young people regularly attend, anti-social behaviour in the area has been reduced and partnership working has increased.
In autumn 2003 shoppers at the Galleries Shopping centre began to express concerns about disruptive groups of young people. These young people were approached and a meeting held to discover what they felt needed to be done. It was found that there was little for young people to do in the area and that a youth centre was needed. The Washington Youth Group was formed and premises identified. The project was then outsourced to Oxclose and District Young people’s Project. The Galleries shopping centre has reported a 70% decrease in nuisance behaviour from young people. Some of the young people who attended the group are now training to be youth workers.
Following complaints from local residents the Youth Inclusion Project facilitated a young people led consultation with local stakeholders. Young people felt that they had nowhere to go to meet and hang out with their friends, that they were being bullied by the police and the community and that they did not feel safe. It was agreed that a local area, Conka Island could be used by young people as a safe meeting place. Litter bins and benches have been provided and football takes place three times a week during the summer.
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.
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.
Young people in Camborne did not have enough to do. A meeting between a local police sergeant and a professional choreographer led to the idea of setting up a dance club. A local business man offered the free use of one of his nightclubs and financial gifts and donations from various sources enabled the creation of the TR14ers Community Dance Team. The group holds two-day workshops every school holidays and has regular practice sessions. It has a membership of over 400 young people.