Involving children and young people in developing social care
Case study 2: Fernhill Youth Project
Service provided by organisation
Young person-led community project established in 2000, with a focus on peer education. It includes a cyber café providing a drop-in facility, social activities, training and community development activities.
Characteristics of children/young people involved
123 children and young people aged 11-25 from the local community. Even gender mix. Majority of users are white.
How participation has been developed
The project was developed in an area of high deprivation following consultations with local children and young people. Young people are involved in every aspect of the project, at all levels: planning, delivery and evaluation. They help recruit and interview staff, deliver training, facilitate consultations, plan activity schedules and have control over the project budget. A variety of training, identified by young people, is delivered to them, including citizenship, children's rights, health and safety, child protection, literacy, emotional literacy and conflict management.
The staff within the project are employed to facilitate the young people's involvement in the project. While much of their training is provided by the young people at the project, they have also received specialist external training by Dynamix and Funky Dragon. Participation is emphasised to staff when they are inducted, in their training and in their job descriptions. A Memorandum of Association serves as a charter for participation. The impact of the project on young people, the community and partner agencies has been comprehensively evaluated by Save the Children.
Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation
- Project members sit on the Community First Board and the Junior Health Board where they feed into agendas. The project has also been involved in the local Crime Prevention Panel.
- The project worked with sexual health clinics to increase the availability of condoms and sex education. It has now developed its own materials and visits local schools to provide sex education.
- Young people have enhanced the appearance of the project venue by encouraging local DIY stores to donate materials.
- Evaluations have found that involvement has increased young peoples' confidence, raised their aspirations and developed a wide variety of organisational skills.
Evidence of outcomes from participation
The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:
- evaluation report about process of developing participation and its impacts
- Memorandum of Association highlighting project objectives
- job descriptions that include reference to the importance of participation.
Contact person and role: Les Davis (project manager)
Address: 8 The Shops, Fernhill Estate, Glenboi, Mountain Ash, RCT, CF45 3EE
Telephone: 01443 476 487