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.
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 were elected to the Isle of Wight Youth Council on a manifesto of developing things for young people to do in the local area. After persuading local county and parish councillors of the need for youth provision, they worked with councillors, surveyors and builders on a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). The MUGA has been completed and is open to young people. It is a well used and safe area for young people.
Young people said that they wanted somewhere safe to meet in the evenings. The youth council proposed a youth cafe which was agreed by the town council. The cafe called Barcode was opened in October 2005. Barcode has been a great success and regularly hosts music nights and a range of entertainment for young people in the local area.
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.
Nottingham Youth Council raised the issue of the negative portrayal of young people in the media. Nottingham Evening Post staff were invited to meet with the youth council to discuss their concerns. As a result the Evening Post agreed to create a youth column in the paper, to seek the opinion of young people and to cover youth events in the future.
Gloucestershire Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) discovered that there was a general lack of awareness amongst young people about their employment rights. They decided to produce an employment card outlining important employment rights and providing details where young people could obtain advice find out more information. The card has been endorsed by Gloucestershire County Council Human Resources and is circulated throughout the county and within the Southwest UKYP network.
Eastleigh Borough Youth Council (EBYC) decided that it wanted to do something visible to prove that young people can make changes. EBYC wanted to start a dance night that would be a success from young people’s point of view. Research, petitions, media campaigns and the ‘must have’ black out screens, all contributed to the development of the ‘Fing’, a monthly dance night. As well as music, there is a graffiti wall, karaoke and a chill out room. The venue is used to provide information for young people, and young people from deprived areas are helped with the cost of attending. The night has become so successful that it is now completely self funding. EBYC won a Wavemakers Award for its work developing the night.
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.