Dewsbury young people focus on their 2020 vision

Thursday 1 August 2019

Young people from Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, have created a toolkit that will help adults make youth activities more meaningful and youth spaces more welcoming, thanks to a grant from the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

Care leavers, young people with mental health difficulties and young carers are among the young people who came together in Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, to improve access to a community space, and to build a resource that will improve future youth work and youth spaces for their peers.

Almost 300 young people including members of Trillz Youth Group, Barnardo’s Young Carers, Take Ten Youths and Chickenley Junior Youth Club joined forces under the Kirklees Youth Alliance to devise improvements to the local Crow Nest Park.

Funded through a £6,509 grant from our partnership with Government on the Building Connections Fund Youth strand, they’ve done this and more by devising activities to make more regular use of the park, and creating ‘Vision 2020’. This is a toolkit for professionals on local how youth services and youth spaces can be improved.

Giving young people a voice

Kirklees Youth Alliance is an umbrella organisation for community-based groups providing activities for young people in the local area.

Recognising their local park was underused, they brought together local organisations and consulted almost 300 young people about what would make the space work for them. The aim was to tackle loneliness and build connections across a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, and from a community with significant socio-economic challenges.

Youth workers used activities like orienteering sessions and cooking lessons to encourage young people to get creative and share their views. This also helped to break down barriers between young people, helping them create a sense of community and make new friends.

Advocating for change

Young people came up with a range of activity ideas that will see Crow Nest Park better used over summer, including a weekly youth club and relaxation sessions for the mental health support group. 

This passion from the young people has also been shared by their parents, many of who have now offered to help with the summer projects, inspiring a new volunteering programme.

And longer term, 17 emerging young leaders from the local area have used everything they’ve learned to create the Vision 2020 toolkit to help improve how local professionals support young people through activities and community spaces. 

Susan Greenwood, Kirklees Youth Alliance Development Manager, said: “Crow Nest Park sits in an area that has lots of disadvantaged communities nearby. Young people want the community buildings in the park to be used for the benefit of young people from these different areas and they also want to contribute to making the changes happen”

Visit the Kirklees Youth Alliance Facebook page for more information on their work. 

Read about current support available from the Co-op Foundation, or subscribe to our blog to find out first when new funds are announced.

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