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InteGr8 Project Evaluation Report

Year One


Introduction This report informs communities, young people, stakeholders and other interested agencies about the first-year delivery of the InteGr8 project in Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane areas in Somerset, by Youth UnLimited CIC.

Youth UnLimited is a community interest company based in Somerset, established in 2014, which offers the following: ▪ ▪ ▪

▪ ▪

Safe and professional, fully inclusive youth services for all young people in Somerset Development of meaningful, trusting relationships with young people through voluntary engagement in a range of youth work activities Provide informal education on issues affecting young people in order that they can make informed choices. Issues such as emotional health, alcohol and substance use, sexual health and relationships. Provide young people with information, advice and support Developing resilience and confidence with young people to enable them to be more mindful in achieving their potential.

We deliver youth provision in Taunton, East Bridgwater, Stogursey, Cannington and Kingston St. Mary through youth clubs and projects. Additionally, we work with individual students who are marginalised at school and risk exclusion. As well as the InterGr8 project, we have previously delivered street-based youth work in local communities.


InteGr8 is a street based, youth work project funded for 3 years from November 2018 by the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Major Grants scheme, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). Grants are awarded for projects, measures or initiatives that help to mitigate impacts felt in local communities from the construction of Hinkley Point C; or which help members of the community to access its opportunities.

Street based (sometimes known as ‘detached’) youth work is all about engaging young people where they choose to meet – be it a park, shopping precinct or urban housing estate – and working with them to an agreed outcome. It is about empowering and supporting young people within their community and should not be used as a tool for social control or trying to get ‘kids off the streets’. Detached youth workers literally enter the ‘space’ occupied by young people, and the dynamics are different to other youth work interventions. The key to success is in the positive relationships built and this requires time, commitment and good negotiation skills. InteGr8 youth workers visit areas when young people meet, from late afternoon to late evening and interact with them to understand their needs and vulnerabilities. The desired impact of the project is to minimise social disorders such as crime and anti-social behaviour which add pressure on existing services; build resilience in vulnerable young people and develop community cohesion, tolerance and a respect for equality and diversity


Av. number of young people per session

7

381 84

days

69

towns and villages

hours direct delivery

1087 148

males 11-13 yrs

females 17-21 yrs

Summary Since the InteGr8 project went live in March 2019, over 10 months, it has worked in 7 towns and villages, delivering on 84 days and 403 sessions and visited between 4 and 5 (on average) local areas each session. This has resulted in 381 hours of direct delivery to young people, which is an average of 4.5 hours per session. The detached workers have encountered* 5773 young people on the streets in their communities on average 69 young people per session (on average 26 females and 42 males per session).

The most encountered group are males aged between 11 to 13 years (1087 in total) - an average of 32 per session. The least encountered group are females aged between 17 to 21 years (148 in total) - an average of less than 5 per session. For the purposes of this project, the definition of an encounter is when a detached youth worker is in close proximity to a young person or people, makes contact with them which may or may not be reciprocated by the young person/people. From October 2019, it became apparent that relationships were embedding, and workers were being greeted by name and young people catching up on previous conversations. For this reason, from year 2 the workers will count direct engagement with young people, rather than the introductory encounters of year 1. * Based on 5773 encounters, not individuals; the project focuses on building relationships with young people on the streets and therefore the workers would expect to meet the same young people on return visits.


Beneficiaries encounters with young people

5773

leading to safe and trusted relationships; signposting to quality information, advice and support; reducing risky and antisocial behaviours and working in partnership with other community stakeholders to provide positive activities

403

sessions held in local areas where local communities have benefitted from detached youth workers

4.5

average number of hours detached youth workers worked with their local young people


Community Impact The workers also visited North Petherton, Burnham-on-Sea, Stogursey and Cannington and held one session in each area but did not encounter enough young people to justify a return visit

The workers originally visited the areas of Apex Park; ASDA/Tylers Way; Moorlands area and Tanning Way in Highbridge; and have continued to work in all 4 areas as young people were more prolific and social issues were more prevalent.

These areas have benefitted from 54 sessions from the project. 4

13

14

The workers originally visited 14 areas in Taunton; however, they honed their attention on 9 specific local areas where young people were more prolific and social issues were more prevalent. These areas are the Hamilton Park, Boundary Park and Moorfields area; ASDA and Viridor Green area; Victoria Park; Lyngford Park; Wellsprings Park; Dairy Field; Halcon Estate; Town Centre and Priorswood shops and park area.

These areas have benefitted from 147 sessions from the project.

The workers originally visited 13 areas in Bridgwater; however, they honed their attention on 10 specific local areas where young people were more prolific and social issues were more prevalent. These areas are Westover; Sydenham/Parkway area; Wilstock; Stockmoor; Coronation Park; Bower Park; Kingsdown; Town Centre/Clink area; Chamberlain Park and Wembdon Park.

These areas have benefitted from 188 sessions from the project.


Involvement with the police and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO):

Engagement with schools:

Local PCSOs and the police are interested and supportive of the project. We have experienced some frustration where, due to the lack of joined up communication, we have been contacted by numerous police staff asking for the same information. The police are also keen to join us and work with us and we will be developing this relationship as the project progresses. Although this support is appreciated by the project, we have to decline some engagement as ‘being seen out and about’ together in the community could seriously conflict with our development of trusting relationships with young people, some of whom are the most disaffected and marginalised.

We have had a mixed experience with schools; generally, we have not had much direct involvement with the schools; but we have had occasions to communicate with them and attend meetings on site. Only one school this year has been unwilling to allow us access to support one of their students.

We have made the following community relationships… Work with local shops: InteGr8 workers are helping to foster improved relationships in areas where shoplifting and antisocial behaviour has caused frustration and anger.

Work with local libraries: Young people have been welcomed into a safe environment to meet workers and use the computers for CV writing and job searches.

Working with Bridgwater Town Council: InteGr8 workers have had access to key stakeholders and community leads and both agencies have had a greater understanding of the issues facing young people.

Work with Live West: IntrGr8 youth workers were able to support LiveWest with a community consultation in Highbridge. This event helped to promote InteGr8 and engage with young people and their families. Picnic style food was purchased by LiveWest which was used to encourage discussions about eating habits and hunger among young people.

Work with café owners: Better community relations have been fostered and has led to a couple of cafes offering their space for young people to meet with workers.


Case studies To combat the risks that workers have encountered, they have been able to build relationships with young people in all the areas they visit which has led to trusted relationships, young people knowing that they are ‘safe’ adults; being able to signpost to local activities and resources; being able to have conversations about safe sex and offering condoms. They have been able to support community events and have discussions about healthy lifestyles. The workers have been able to refer young people to youth cadets and

other positive activities, clubs, boxing organisations, and carnival clubs. Meaningful relationships have begun to build that will benefit the young people and give some solutions to the identified issues. For example, reporting vandalism and drug related litter to district councils means that intelligence is shared with another organisation for action. In Highbridge, the workers have worked with Live West to support a Chill’n’Chat session and provide food to young people who are presenting with high levels of food


poverty. They have shared resources to maximise the impact of their work and more sessions are planned. In Sydenham, the workers have shared intelligence with PCSOs and supported them in a community football match. Shop and café owners have welcomed the project, especially in 3 local areas – and this has led to café owners offering space to run youth drop ins. Bridgwater library has supported workers who want to make seeking employment easier for young people. The food bank in Bridgwater was able to signpost our workers to new local areas where it was suspected that young people were

vulnerable to some of the homeless people. Bridgwater Town Council has taken a keen interest in the project – holding a community meeting about engaging with the project and their staff ‘shadowing’ the workers on sessions. This has led them to have a greater understanding around the issues being encountered by the young people in their communities. All of these opportunities will continue into year two of the project and the learning from them will help to build new relationships with key community stakeholders in other local areas.


‘X’ is a 17-year-old female who the workers got to know through a group of ‘hard to engage’ with females in the town centre. She has been in and out care throughout her childhood and has a difficult relationship with her mother who is vulnerable to exploitation and known to agencies. ‘X’ is suspected of drug running by the workers but no hard evidence; the presence of older males (‘mum’s friends’) who ‘collect stuff’ from her, has occurred in front of one of the workers. It has taken a while for the young people to trust the workers and feel safe in their presence. In late autumn 2019 the relationships had grown to a point that workers could engage with the group about their aspirations. ‘X’ didn’t believe that she was capable of working, due to her lack of qualifications and low self-esteem. She was encouraged to try, and workers offered to help her write a CV; and she finally wrote her own CV. The next time the workers met her she had found a temporary retail job for Christmas and her confidence was greatly increased. Over the seasonal period workers popped into the shop she was working in to encourage her and acknowledge her success. In 2020 workers will continue to encourage and challenge the whole group to progress their ambitions and use ‘X’ as a good example.


Issues Workers have been able to identify specific issues affecting each local area:

Drugs The use of drugs has been the most prominent issue, and evident in most areas worked. This evidence has ranged from finding drug debris (wrappers, needles, syringes, foil, spoons and other drug related paraphernalia) to young people openly smoking cannabis, evidence of being ‘stoned’ and evidence of drug related deals happening.

11 of the local areas worked are prevalent for drug risks and they are all parks; putting all children and young people using the parks at risk of being exposed to the harmful effects of drugs. Some of the concerns are from young people alarmed by drug use of adults or being approached by adults to obtain drugs for them.

So what are we doing about it? InteGr8 youth workers are reporting incidents and concerns to the local councils, the police, the One teams and Together teams. Concerns are also raised at community meetings which are attended by the InteGr8 project manager. InteGr8 youth workers issue useful resources and information on local and national young people’s services. InteGr8 youth workers offer additional time to support where this is required. This has recently been offered as a separate group project, to a vulnerable group of young people in Bridgwater. InteGr8 youth workers are running a programme tailored to the needs of the group; and drug, alcohol and substance use is a prominent feature of this programme.


Alcohol In 7 of the local areas there are encounters involving alcohol; This ranges from observing young people drinking; seeing young people anxious about adults drinking and a group of drunk young men in Taunton, aged 15 years telling workers that one of them gets drunk daily.

So what are we doing about it? Due to the informal, voluntary, trusting relationships, InteGr8 youth workers can engage young people in honest, challenging conversations highlighting personal, social and future risks from using drugs, alcohol and substances. InteGr8 youth workers offer support to specialist services or GP appointments.

Anti-Social Behaviour In 12 of the local areas there is evidence of anti-social behaviour including vandalism, fly-tipping, car meets, drunkenness, fire setting, shop lifting and hate crime (homophobic language); Where young people have engaged with workers about these issues, they almost always explain the behaviours due to not having enough to do in their spare time.

So what are we doing about it? InteGr8 youth workers respond to incidents appropriately and communicate concerns to appropriate people who may be able to support or influence the situation. Examples: Parish council and community centre manager informed of young people’s comments of “there’s nothing to do here” and feedback ideas suggested by the young people. InteGr8 youth workers can discuss consequences of anti-social behaviour with young people. Example: Discussion with young people around smashing glass bottles in public areas and how this could be particularly dangerous to animals and young children. Youth workers have good knowledge and provide information on what activities are available or suggest ways that they can be involved in their communities.


Education In 9 of the local areas encounters have led to engagement with young people about school issues; these range from general conversations about dissatisfaction with school to poor attendance, exclusions and bullying incidents that schools have not dealt with appropriately. In Bridgwater town centre, workers have observed school-age young people not in school during school hours.

So what are we doing about it? InteGr8 youth workers raise these concerns at community meetings and multi-agency meetings. The confidential nature of the relationship can make it difficult to discuss individuals unless young people give specific permission or are at risk of harm. InteGr8 workers are then able to advocate for young people, directly with the school if appropriate. Often a conversation with the youth workers enables a young person to reflect and consider possible solutions to barriers. .

Aspirations In 4 of the local areas workers have been able to support young people to discuss their future hopes and aspirations. This has included discussions about a young person struggling with their gender, encouraging NEET (not in employment, education or training) young people to use their local libraries to prepare CVs and look for jobs and generally to allay fears about future plans and give encouragement.

So what are we doing about it? InteGr8 youth workers have been well equipped to offer a great deal of support in these instances. Example: A young person struggling with gender identity issues was referred to 2BU – a specialist Somerset organisation for young people who are LGBTQ+; and the youth worker attended the initial meetings in order to encourage and support the young person. Example: We are currently running a programme for a Bridgwater group to address a range of concerns. Supporting their access to education, training and employment is one of the areas we are addressing.


Adults In 7 of the local areas problems arising from adults have been expressed by young people; This includes homeless adults using drugs and alcohol, poor parenting, under age females being drunk in the company of older (possibly homeless) men, male adults approaching under-age young men for sex and county lines activities from older young people.

So what are we doing about it? These concerns are shared with local councils, the police and the One teams and Together Team managers.

Risky Situations Other risky situations and behaviours were encountered in 10 local areas and range from poor road safety, being in unlit areas, trespassing, self-harming including eating disorders, using unprescribed medication and very young children being in the community at night.

So what are we doing about it? Young people often choose to be in vulnerable places, away from others and hidden from view; sometimes they are ‘moved away’ from safer public spaces. This is a useful topic of discussion for the InteGr8 youth workers. Encouraging young people to consider risks and consequences, building resilience by asking questions – like, how would they respond in certain situations.


Other Considerations Recruitment of workers We struggled to recruit youth workers initially. We believe that this was due to the limited hours offered, the unsocial hours of the project and the unorthodox nature of the role. We also experienced the resignation of two youth workers within the first few months of running the project. Both workers stressed that their reasons for leaving were due to personal circumstances. One started a full-time job which meant they couldn’t commit to evening work. The other worker also found it difficult to commit to evening sessions due to childcare arrangements and the development of their own business. Both workers stressed that they had very much enjoyed the work and would have liked to have continued if it had been practically possible.

Numbers of vulnerable young people we encounter (children looked after; children with vulnerable parents) Due to the confidential and informal nature of this project, specific personal data is not collected. Collating personal data would impact on the development of trust in the relationship. InteGr8 prioritises, and generally targets, disadvantaged communities. This means that the number of vulnerable young people we engage with is high.


High prevalence of substance misuse This is consistently a concern and our youth workers have frequent conversations with young people around the risks of using (socially, legally and to their health). The concern is more around ensuring that young people are aware of the risks associated with exploitation and their being vulnerable through the use of substances. We are also aware of young people supplying drugs and we are currently engaging with these young people.

Food poverty

Homeless issues

This has been identified by youth workers as an increasing concern. This was highlighted when InteGr8 youth workers supported a community consultation in Highbridge. Picnic style food was used to encourage consultation participation but also prompted discussions about eating habits and hunger. InteGr8 youth workers have had similar conversations in other areas and hearing the same concerns. This has also been echoed in conversations with food bank staff.

There have been an alarming number of young people identified as being homeless or at risk of being homeless in the encounters made by our youth workers. This includes young people not being in stable accommodation, staying with friends or relatives and a concerning number of young adults sleeping rough. Although InteGr8 youth workers engage with these young adults (generally male), we do not prioritise engagement with this age group.


Working with Somerset Community Foundation Somerset Community Foundation have consistently been a strong source of support. They have offered encouragement and understanding of Youth UnLimited and the desire to provide professional youth services for vulnerable young people. Somerset Community Foundation have provided support through regular meetings and communications. Somerset Community Foundation have provided opportunities for Youth UnLimited to promote the InteGr8 project including networking events. InteGr8 feels valued by Somerset Community Foundation, we hope that this positive relationship will continue, to ensure that our work can progress and develop longer term.


Next Steps 1

Amend monitoring sheets in order to identify number of engagements, rather than encounters.

2

Continue to build strong community links so that the issues facing our young people can be approached in a trusting, robust and cohesive manner.

3

Better hear the voice of the child and young person so that their experiences can be captured and used to benefit more young people and their communities.


Conclusion The first year of the project has enabled us to identify the most vulnerable communities; the prevalent age groups involved in risky behaviour and the issues that young people and their communities are facing. This has enabled us to structure our approach to these young people and their communities so that we are able to offer the right interventions and support to them, which should be evident as we move into Year Two of the project. Thanks are extended to all the agencies and young people we have worked with in Year One, who have helped us in launching the project.


For more information on this and other Youth UnLimited projects, please contact: Telephone: 07895 224 000

Email: hello@youth-unlimited.co.uk Website: www.youth-unlimited.co.uk

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InteGr8 Project - Y1 Evaluation Report  

InteGr8 Project - Y1 Evaluation Report: Youth UnLimited CIC. This report informs communities, young people, stakeholders and other intereste...

InteGr8 Project - Y1 Evaluation Report  

InteGr8 Project - Y1 Evaluation Report: Youth UnLimited CIC. This report informs communities, young people, stakeholders and other intereste...

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