Wiltshire Publications

Issue 490 – Young people voice their opinion on future strategy

YOUNG people in Westbury have been making their suggestions on how youth services can be improved, as part of a county-wide consultation.

With over 400 young people in Westbury consulted so far, it is hoped the views of young people in the town will be well represented.
A draft of the Wiltshire Children’s Trust commissioning strategy for young people aged 13-19 has been issued for consultation. This strategy outlines plans for improving services for the 13-19 age range. So far, 412 young people in Westbury aged between 11 and 17 have responded to the consultation through sessions at Matravers School and Westbury Youth Centre.
On Thursday 16th June, a group of young people from the town came to the meeting of the Westbury Area Board to present a summary of the most common responses which have been gathered.
They reported that young people in Westbury want to have more places to go, want to grow up being able to deal with issues in life, want to get a good education and a job, and want to be able to understand their rights and be respected.
When considering the 11 commissioning priorities for services for 13-19 year olds set by Wiltshire Council, young people in Westbury have said they most value the priorities of helping young people do better at school, helping young people move into employment and training, improving services for young people involved in risky behaviour, improving services for disabled young people, and ensuring maximum participation and involvement of young people.

Young people skeptical of campus model

Wiltshire Council’s campus programme is seeking to deliver campuses across the county to house council facilities – including youth centres – in a move that could potentially save 40% in operating costs. Next year, meetings with the community for Westbury’s own campus are expected to commence.
But with the potential of having to move from their own centre to a new facility, young people in Westbury have already raised concerns over the programme.
58% of the young people consulted said it would be acceptable to move from the youth centre to a campus, provided facilities were similar. 62% agreed that “the space doesn’t matter, as long as we have good workers”
What was clear is that young people want to be involved in any campus that went ahead. 99% agreed that there should be a space for young people on every campus, while 95% said they need to be involved in designing and planning any space they are going to use.
While accepting that being a part of a campus development and local management arrangements could give them new resources and facilities and potentially open up doors to more money, young people are concerned that it would also result in them losing control of decisions and having less of a say. They also emphasised that they have put a lot of work and ideas into their current home and want to keep the same youth workers.

The consultation continues

The consultation closes on the 5th August and is available at www.wiltshirepathways.org or via http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal
The draft commissioning strategy has sections on the national and local context for young people, local needs and services, an analysis of the current position from the points of view of young people as well as staff and managers who work with teenagers. The commissioning priorities include some suggestions on the future delivery of youth work services in Wiltshire.
Feedback is sought on the priorities the draft sets, which include maximising the participation and involvement of young people, improving education attainment, supporting both employment and volunteering opportunities, improving transport, and increasing the availability of affordable housing.
The final strategy will be presented to Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet in September, along with a report making specific proposals on future plans for youth work.