This year, our youth workers have been in the Sutton Park estate of Halton, Leeds, working closely with young people and their community and making the local area a safer place to spend time. The impact on the community has been huge
Youth workers discovered that young people, parents and other members of the community were reluctant to visit Sutton Park due to a group of young people from another area who were being threatening and using intimidating behaviour.
“We don’t want our kids down there, they get picked on, we can’t speak to the police because they will put our windows through” (parent from Carden Avenue).
To address this, youth workers built trusting relationships with the young people, parents and the community. They also attended meetings, advocating for them and sharing their concerns. As a result PSCOs were asked to patrol the area more regularly.
Next steps involved flooding the area with provision and outside agencies, one of which was the local fire service. They were able to informally educate young people at street level about the risks of antisocial behaviour and fires. This exposed the young people to positive role models, as the Firefighters shared information with them about routes in to employment with the fire service.
The Community Ambassadors submitted a funding appliction to Clarion Housing and were successful. They were awarded agrant for a local football project, which tbrought Leeds United’s ‘Kicks’ project to Sutto Park. Community relationships were strengthened as parents, members of the community and young people from outside areas attended a community football tournament planned by the community ambassadors.
In addition to the football training TYA hosted the annual Eat on the Street project, where many of the same faces attended. Parents and young people took a lead on delivery of activities and distribution of food parcels.
Clarion Housing Neighbourhood officers have since commented on the reduction of anti-social behaviour in the park area, a result of multiple agencies working in partnership with TYA complementing the delivery of the project.
The project was inclusive and saw young people of all backgrounds using the park for positive engagement. It helped young people to realise they have a say, and they will be listened to. The community Ambassadors have decided to reapply for the grant, this time for a Rugby project!
The project has seen young people and parents go from distrusting of youth workers and outside agencies, to understanding that they have the power to make positive change.