A group of teenagers in Eastmoor, Wakefield, have come together in recent weeks on a mission to revitalise their local area and make it feel like a better environment to live in.
They’ve been supported by Eastmoor’s Community Ambassadors Programme (CAP) – a scheme delivered by The Youth Association, working with our partners Next Generation and Lightwaves Leisure Centre. Eastmoor CAP is supporting young people to become active citizens in the community and deliver social action and sports coaching projects. Activities between April and July have included painting murals on public walls, planting flowers in community raised beds and developing ‘satellite’ sports clubs. The scheme builds on successful street-based youth work projects developed by the TYA team over the past couple of years.
Social action work takes place regularly, focusing on what young people can do to rejuvenate the area. This teaches young people crucial teamwork, communication and arts skills, while also encouraging them to respect their area. Through this, the project aims to improve community relations.
In June, the group decided to repaint three storage containers at Stanley Royd Playing Fields, after consulting local residents, who complained about the unsightly look of the units. The group was supported by Mikk Murray, a youth worker at TYA and professional Urban Artist. They chose the design and slogan ‘Growing Yorkshire’s future’. Local residents were delighted with the work and praised young people and staff, noting how much better it looked: “”It’s great to see young people doing something positive. They are improving this space, they get a lot of bad press, the papers need to hear about this” (John, local resident of Eastmoor Road).
The young people have reported that the project has helped them improve their image in the area and have relished the opportunity to do something useful and fun. “I feel proud”, said Zidane, age 12. “I feel like we’ve done a really good job, being an active citizen means you respect the community you live in”
Mikk Murray of TYA said “It’s always great to see a group get immersed in the whole process. Everyone was enthusiastic and put their own touch into the projects. It felt like a community coming together”.
The Community Ambassadors Programme is a scheme that brings social action and sports coaching to street level. The project has received fantastic backing from the #iWill campaign and the Housing Association Youth Network, led by Clarion Futures. In addition to this Wakefield and District Housing, Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Leeds Community Foundation have contributed supplementary funding