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Gravesham Big Feet Little Feet Project Review Carried out by and report produced by the members of Dartford and Gravesham Young Evaluators Project 2010 - 2012

July 2012


Contents Foreword 3 Background and brief 4 Aims and objectives 4 Challenges and approaches 5 Our findings 6 - 10 Course content 6 Delivery and approach 7-8 Check in 8 Responsibility & expectations 9 Outcomes 10 Our recommendations 11 Conclusion 12 Gallery 13 - 14 Acknowledgements 15


Foreword We know young peoples’ participation is the key to the improvement of services that are provided to them in Dartford and Gravesham. By involving young people in evaluating the services young people use, frequently results in benefits for young people, staff and organisations. The Dartford and Gravesham Young Evaluators Project focuses on the principles of peer research where those that use the service are involved in its evaluation and improvement. We used the brief provided by The Big Feet Little Feet project that included the key objectives of the review, as the basis to design our consultation that was to be carried out with the young people who took part in the project out with, to collect their views and recommendations. This piece of work and findings report has been the third piece of peer research commissioned work for the Young Evaluators Project and our work with the Big Feet Little Feet Project highlights their experiences and so the findings are valuable for future service improvements. It is an honest reflection of their opinions, ideas and recommendations. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the young people who took part in the consultation and review of the Big Feet Little Feet Project. The Young Evaluators Project

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Background The Gravesend Big Feet Little Feet Project is an 18 week programme which commenced on January 17th 2012, aimed at reducing the risk of teenage pregnancy in the local area. The project was run by one main facilitator with two additional support facilitators. Participants are referred to the project by their school. Most class-based sessions take place at North-West Kent College and include sessions such as drug awareness, personal responsibility and implications of teenage pregnancy. Practical sessions took place in nursery settings where young people were allocated a child to look after.

Brief The brief stated that the Young Evaluators were to conduct a review of the project using questions that would all them to gain in depth information and views from participants of the project about their experiences of taking part and ideas for future improvement. The consultation would need to cover a number of different topics varying from course content to what they felt were personal outcomes and achievements as well as their recommendations for the future.

Aims and Objectives The overall aim and objective of the review was to provide the project organisers with the information they needed, especially around core content and approach. This would help them refine and develop the project for future delivery, so that it met the needs of young people and gave better outcomes for them as individuals and for the project.

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Challenges and Approaches We had to consider what difficulties we may face when carrying out the review and what was the best way to overcome them. Based on the information we received from the brief we developed a consultation using techniques we knew would to ensure that the review would fully meet the needs of the entire group.

Challenge A diverse range of abilities

A diverse range of personalities

Focus

Approach ! Verbal interviews used to avoid reading and writing to include everyone. ! Visual help to those with difficulties reading including the use of mind maps and other graphics ! Using games and interactive activities that meet the needs of all young people taking part ! Use of icebreaker games to help young people feel more at ease with The Young Evaluators. ! Use of buddied interviews to support those that are less confident. ! Skills matched the Young Evaluators with the participants to best suit their personalities ! During the interviews, participants were given the opportunity to take a break to reduce the effects of restlessness. ! Use of incentives; such as cake to encourage the participants to remain focused. 5


Our Findings These findings reflect the views, opinions and recommendations made by the seven big feet little feet project participants that took part in the review.

Course content

The young people were asked for their views on the course content and there were some mixed opinions. Most of the group preferred the drugs, prison and gangs session with Lennox to all of the other class-based sessions, as it was “fun and interesting”. The practical nursery sessions were also a firm favourite as they “enjoy spending time with the children”. They majority of participants said that the part of the course they enjoyed the least was the writing sessions as they found them hard to do. The participants told us that the healthy relationships, online safety and personal safety subjects in the course were useful parts of the course that should not only stay in as part of the course but should be developed further and be covered in more detail. Below are a few things that were said: Healthy relationships: “the course showed us not to be influenced or peer pressured into doing things that we don’t want to do – this needs to stay in” Online safety: “ What we did was good because it taught us that not everyone says who they really are and some people lie when they are online” Personal safety: “ it was good because it showed us how one little thing can have a big impact” There were some who thought that alcohol awareness was not covered well enough and needed to be included more in the future. It was clear that the sessions with Lennox had the biggest impact on all participants. They said they liked the session the most as not only was it was fun and interesting but it had the biggest lasting impression. A close second favourite were the health presentations. A wide range of learning styles were used throughout the project, these included mind maps, work sheets, diaries, videos, activity sheets, emotion sheets, word scramble and question sheets. The most popular learning styles were the diaries, videos and mind maps. However the least popular techniques were the question sheets and the word scramble as they were writing based. 6


Our Findings Delivery And Approach We asked the group what they thought about the way the project was delivered and the approaches used and they reflected positively on the course, with only minor criticism. The young people told us what they thought about the facilitators who lead the project and overall gave positive feedback. In general they felt the workers came across as approachable and kind. We decided to label the facilitators as Worker A-D in order to retain their anonymity*. “They are great and amazing and make you feel comfortable in a group�

The favourite facilitators amongst the group were workers A and D with 44% each, saying that they were the preferred facilitator. Worker D was the favourite due to her down to earth personality. Worker A was equally popular due to her ability to listen to the participants.

The least popular facilitator was worker C with 50% saying she was she was too strict.

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Our findings Generally the group approved of the length of the classes at the college, but thought the nursery sessions were too short. This was due to the popularity of the sessions as the young people enjoyed interacting with the small children and being given the responsibility of caring for them. Attending these classes at North-West Kent College was also praised as the experience made participants feel more adult. There is clear evidence that suggests young people are more likely to learn when they have eaten and as a result the Big Feet Little Feet program currently provides food as an additional extra. However our research shows that there was an obvious split of opinion between those that felt it was essential and those that felt it made no difference at all. The young people felt that whilst it wouldn’t affect their attendance the food was a good thing to have in place. The young people felt that the workbooks they used to support their learning through the course worked well as they felt they had something physical to look back and reflect on out of the 18 week project. The group felt that the workbook was easy to use apart from the writing element but if there were difficulties the facilitators were helpful in providing assistance.

Check in

Overall the young people thought the course gave them a chance to share their thoughts openly and honestly and they felt safe participating in this activity. However, a few felt that it was very hard to open up to people that they did not know and suggested that the course should be longer and check in should not start until everyone had got to know each other a bit better. There has been some suggestion of videoing the checking part of the programme in the future, to evidence progress, impact and learning. All participants were completely against this and they told us it would make them feel uncomfortable because other people will have access to it and would be able to see it; it would no longer be a safe place to share their thoughts. “I don’t want it to be filmed, I wouldn’t be able to open up”

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Our findings Responsibility

The group all enjoyed the nursery session and felt that they gained something out of it, reporting increased maturity, responsibility and confidence gained from the experience. All of the young people were looking forward to their full day of looking after a child due to take place towards the end of the course. However only 29% of the participants felt they would be willing to have a child of their own now. When asked what their advice would be to a friend who was thinking of having a child at their age now, the vast majority said they would advise a friend against it and would tell them to wait until they were older. They went on to say that they thought the most appropriate age to have a child was between 18 and 25 with the assumption that this is the age you would have a job to be able to provide for a child and be more responsible. “I would say no because I don’t want people to look down on her and I don’t want her grades and education to be affected”

Expectations

The course exceeded all participants’ expectations. They said they had learnt more than they expected to and had learnt things that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to learn had they not taken part in the project. “I wanted to find out about career options and yes I am almost certain I want to work with children”

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Our findings Outcomes

Overall the young people reported feeling more confident and have experienced changes in their views and approach to other areas of their life such as family and relationships, since taking part in the project. Relationships with families: Participants say they now have better relationships with their families and are not getting as angry with family members as they used to. Future relationships: Participants now have greater expectations in how they should be treated whilst in a relationship as well as being more aware that “legal age does not mean you are ready�. Friendships: The most significant outcome for the group around friendships was their having the confidence to make better choices with friends and identify ones that are insincere, fake and no good for you. Attitudes: The young people felt that the project has helped them manage their frustration and they are now able to see things from other people’s point of view and are generally a lot happier. Confidence:

Long-term impacts:

All participants now feel that they have enhanced confidence when it comes to making decisions and meeting new people Long-term impacts for participants were increased, with better career opportunities, and improved understanding of different paths that can take on their route to success.

Improved resilience: Participants stated they feel more capable and prepared to take on new challenges and feel more able to cope with day-to-day situations.

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Our recommendations Recommendations Course Content

! To include drink driving and alcohol abuse as individual core topics of the program ! Real life stories should be incorporated as a part of the core content delivery ! To explore alternative methods to recording and reporting information of a written nature

Check in

! To consider extending the duration of nursery sessions in order to give participants a greater understanding of the full responsibilities of parenting ! To review the length of the check in sessions regularly to make sure it reflects what each individual group requires ! Introduce the sharing element of check in later in the course once all members of the group get to know each other better

Course Length

Approach

! To ensure that videoing of the check in sessions is not implemented in the course ! To re-evaluate the length of the course to ensure that all aspects of the core content can be covered in sufficient depth and at a pace that will meet the needs of each group ! To consider introducing a transitional element to the program following the completion of the training ! To incorporate more visual techniques such as videos to help the learning process ! To consider increasing the duration and frequency of the one-to-one mentoring sessions in order to meet the needs of each individual 11


Conclusion The Big Feet Little Feet project has clearly had a very positive influence on each participant’s outlook on life, all participants have said that they have improved confidence and it is clear that they now have better resilience and have improved their relationships with friends and family. The benefits of peer research and evaluation are obvious from the findings of this review, which clearly reinforces this. Some of the key strengths of the project is in the opportunities it provides: for young people to develop skills, confidence and resilience, as well as gain a greater understanding about the implications of risk taking behaviour, personal responsibility and relationships. Suggestions for improving the project included making the course longer and more widely available so that a more young people could work together and get the same benefits. We would support this and believe that the project has so much to offer young people that if it were opened up to more schools and services, that more young people would benefit and this would help reduce teenage pregnancy, which is one of the core objectives of the project. We believe there are two main success of the Big Feet Little Project: ! improving the skills, resilience and long term life chances of young people ! making sure that young people are better equipped with the knowledge about the implications of risk taking behaviour, how to develop better relationships that will help reduce teenage pregnancy in the future Our research has clearly shown that the young people have improved key skills in a number of areas; especially around emotional wellbeing such as confidence, communication and self-esteem. All of the young people involved in the project were extremely positive about their experiences with the project and valued being given the opportunity to express their views and opinions about the project, through the review. We believe that it is important as part of the Big Feet Little Feet Project, that an end of project peer research review should be built into the project content and delivery, so that it will continually grow and improve year after year through the views and experiences of those taking part, to make sure that it is current and that it meets the needs of all the young people involved. 12


The gallery

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The gallery

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Acknowledgements Thank you to all the Big Feet Little Feet participants for taking part in the review and sharing your open and honest expereinces, thoughts and ideas with us.

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The Dartford and Gravesham Young Evaluators Project Project coordinator Juli Dosad of Banter Limited E-mail: juli@banter.uk.net Mobile: 07834473384 Web: www.banter.uk.net This report was co-written by Becca Cooney and Daniel Johnson


Gravesham Big Feet Little Feet 2012 Peer Research Review