Young People’s Consultation Wickham Community Centre
The Trustees of Wickham Community Association recognise the importance of children and young people in their community. They realised that the children and young people were the future, yet they were not as active in the community as they could be and no one had really asked them their views on any of the issues affecting them or their local community.
Wickham is set in a beautiful, natural, rural environment where the Parish Council and local youth organisations help to provide facilities for young people but,
- Do the young people like what they find?
- Is it what they want or need?
- How can the Association keep in touch with them?
It was these questions that the Community Association felt were most important so in the Autumn term of 2008 the Community Association designed a short questionnaire to find out.
The Community Association initially worked with the local detached youth work team who worked with a group of young people to design the questionnaires. The Association then worked with other local agencies such as the Parish Council, Scouts and rifle club as well as the local schools to disseminate the questionnaires.
The target age range was 8 to 15 years. The 2001 Census for Wickham Ward gives 236 children or 9% of the total population in that age bracket. The Association managed to obtain the views of 155 young people (66% of the target population), the bulk of whom fitted into the target age and geographical criteria.
Following the consultation, a comprehensive report on the findings was written which was sent out to all local stakeholders working with children and young people to help inform them of some of the local children and young peoples views. The Association also sent a personal letter of thanks to all those children and young people who participated.
This consultation has helped the Association to build stronger partnerships with the local young peoples services team and school. The Association are now working with these and other local stakeholders to bring together a nucleus of ‘Listeners’ to ensure this work of listening to and involving children and young people in decision-making continues. The Nucleus of listeners would:
- Consist of those local organisations that take an interest in issues concerning Young People who can nominate 'listeners'.
- So that work is not duplicated a programme of listening will be decided upon.
- The youthgroups will be given advance warning of a visit and can co-ordinate the listening into their programme of events.
- Having listened to a group, the information would be disseminated to the nucleus.
The Community Association are acting as advocates for the young people as well as trying to act upon the suggestions that the children and young people bring forward. For example, one issue raised was in relation to the football goals in the recreation ground and a lack of equipment at the skate park. The Association has taken these ideas forward to the Parish Council who have installed a new piece of equipment in the skate park and are in the process of repairing the football goals at the recreation ground.
The Association them selves are planning on running some activity days in the summer to give the children and young people more things to do in their local area but also as another thank you to those who took part in the Survey.
This work is contributing to the Every Child Matters outcomes of
- Be healthy
- Stay safe
- Enjoy and achieve
- Make a positive contribution
It is also contributing to the Hampshire children and young peoples plan priorities of :
- Securing children and young people’s physical, spiritual, social, emotional and mental health, promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing inequalities.
- Providing vocational, leisure and recreational activities that provide opportunities for children and young people to experience success and make a positive contribution.
- Removing barriers to access, participation and achievement and not tolerating discrimination and abuse.