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OPEN Youth Trust Providing opportunities that make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk. Youth Engagement Strategy 2015-2020 Ben Burt December 2014


Introduction Established in 2005, the OPEN Youth Trust has a proven track record of making a positive impact on children and young peoples lives. The OPEN Youth Trust is a UK charity devoted to providing opportunities that make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk. We have gained knowledge and understanding of how a variety of activities, support and programmes can make a vast difference to young people’s lives. We have seen a significant impact on the health and wellbeing, confidence and self esteem as well as aspirations and educational attainment of those who have partcipated in our provision.

Introduction Our Impact Youth Engagement Strategy Impact of Engagement Who we are and our approach Participation Employability Learning Progression How we work Our Reach Our Investment Our Commitment

We are passionate about helping all young people achieve their full potential in life and we have achieved this by developing and delivering high quality positive activities, support and opportunities. Youth engagement is not always the sole end in itself, but, used effectively, can be a vehicle for realising many positive changes in a young person’s life. We know that our work changes young people’s lives for the better, and everyone at the OPEN Youth Trust are committed to this goal.

Young People and staff on a trip to London

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Our Impact Youth Team The OPEN Youth Trust has had a huge impact on the local community with a focus on young people. The Trust’s Business Team have made a large impact on external organisations working with young people and the Trust’s Youth Team have had great success in providing provision with incredible positive outcomes for young people.

Business Team

Children and Young People Since July 2012, an estimated 10,000+ children and young people have engaged in a variety conferences, events and programmes held at OPEN.

Youth & Community Organisations In the past two years, over 125+ youth and community organisations have used the OPEN venue.

Volunteers & Staff The Trust’s Business team have worked with over 35 volunteers and staff who are under 25.

Children and Young People Since July 2012, over 4,500 children and young people have engaged in a variety of funded youth programmes and projects.

Sessions The Youth Team have delivered over 3000 sessions for children, young people and their families.

Mentors, Champions & Volunteers We have engaged with over 100 young people who have become young mentors, champions and volunteers at OPEN and in the community.

Programmes & Projects In the last two years we have delivered 20 different funded projects and programmes with a lasting impact for young people.

Events and Bookings


We have hosted over 1000+ external events and bookings for children and young people in the past two years.

The Youth Team have engaged with children and young people from 48 of 49 postcodes in Norfolk as well as working with young people from Suffolk and further afield.

Outward Focus From networking, business meetings, relationships and partnerships, the Business Team are able to communicate the issues faced and achievements made by young people and influence key leaders in Norfolk’s economy.

Accreditations The Youth Team have delivered over 800+ accreditations to children and young people who have accessed the Trust’s provision.

Youth Engagement Strategy

The OPEN Youth Trust’s Youth Engagement Strategy sets the direction, methodolgy and priorities for the Trust’s work with young people over the next five-year period 2015-2020. As a result of an evaluation process which included both internal and external consultation, it enabled us to take stock, reflect on our progress and identify the direction we now need to take. Set out in this strategy we offer a simple overview of our vision and ambitions. The economic, social, education and youth work landscapes have rapidly changed in recent years. Children and youth based services are experiencing new challenges, with significant pressures on the voluntary sector to delivery more for less and pick up many elements that local authortities and government no longer fund. To ensure that we continue to have the greatest impact on children and young people’s lives and the best possible return on investment, the OPEN Youth Trust is taking action. The Youth Engagement Strategy at the OPEN Youth Trust is an ongoing process and this five-year plan provides a framework for our strategic development. This will be updated regularly in line with emerging priorities.

Young People from Ignite Street Dance

Impact of Engagement

Engaging with young people shows you want to invest in them as the foundation of the community.

Providing ways to support them through a transitional stage to adulthood is crucial in helping to make a positive difference to their life. There’s not just one way to do it and the outcomes for each individual may be different. What’s important is that is you simply engage with young people in a way that offers them the opportunity to grow, develop and reach their potential.

By doing this you will have the greatest impact on their lives and enable change for the future.

Michaela, Young Ambassador, OPEN Youth Trust

At the OPEN Youth Trust we believe passionately about our work engaging with young people. We have seen the lasting impact has and how it can benefit the local community. Engaging with young people enhances personal abilities, develops healthy lifestyles and develops leadership qualities. Engaging in a diverse fashion is a powerful way of having the ability to change young people lives. It can raise aspirations, inspire others and build positive relationships.

Who we are and our approach The OPEN Youth Trust place young people at the heart of everything we do. Providing opportunities that make a positive difference to the lives of young people can be delivered in a number of different ways and it is down to us to decide the best way we can do this, with the resources and skills we have. We aim to provide diverse and innovative ways to engage young people which focus on four key areas; Participation, Learning, Employability and Progression. All four underline the way in which we will engage with young people to make a positive difference to their lives. We seek to find flexible solutions that are adaptable to the evolving landscape of young people including their varied attitudes, backgrounds, interests and behaviours. The way we work and our culture is underpinned by our core values, ‘passion, respect, community, diversity and inspiration.’ These values help provide support, resources and processes that will enable our individual teams to work together and deliver life changing opportunities. We have clear ambitions, which outline the impact we are trying to make for young people. To achieve our ambitions, we have established a set of key objectives, which will underpin our ability to realise our ambition.

Young people learn creative expression in our ‘Your Life’ Project.


Our ambition: To provide high quality positive activities that gives over 100,000 children and young people in Norfolk the opportunity to participate.

To achieve this:

Over the next five years we will:

We will focus on the development of engaging children and young people in positive activities within OPEN and rural parts of Norfolk.

If we do all this:

• Improve the confidence and self esteem of children and young people We will have changed the lives • Provide innovative projects and programmes for children and of over 100,000 11-19 year young people olds in Norfolk. • Develop our core services within OPEN • Create effective programmes that improve health and wellbeing, advance education and offer enjoyment • Deliver a professional, supportive and empowering service provision that raises the attainment and aspiration of children and young people • Establish partnership working to deliver the best opportunities for children and young people.

Every child and young person deserves to be able to participate. Participation starts by enabling children and young people to access activities, support and services that are fun, trusted and needed. This is the core requirement that children, young people and their families need to start participating. To instill a continued enthusiasm participation needs to be followed by high quality activities that are safe and accessible. Delivering consistent and diverse positive activity is crucial for engaging with a wide ranging audience. This helps build meaningful relationships as well as help children and young people to be healthy, social and active for the rest of their lives. Having a dynamic and committed team, who have the support and resources they need is key to creating an enjoyable, inspiring and flexible environment. It is imperative that we develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of the Trust’s workplace and its volunteers to assist them to deliver an engaging, educational and empowering service provision.

Young People participating in our Ascenders Climbing Club.


Our ambition:

To achieve this:

To give young people support, opportunities and experiences that enable them to become work ready.

We will strive to become a national beacon for vocational training, support and coaching of young people in a variety of work place environments.

Over the next five years we will:

If we do all this:

• Develop innovative and exciting opportunities that place greater emphasis on support and mentoring of young to We will enable young people become work ready to make a positive economic • Deliver professional support for Trust staff with resources for contribution, gain employment best practice and become valued members • Enable apprenticeship programmes to become an embedded of their community by being element of the Trusts activities active citizens. • Build the capacity of the services the Trust provides by engaging with young people in all areas of the Trust. • Implement and establish a young volunteer, champion and mentor programme • Engage young people to be the participants of today and our employees of tomorrow.

All young people should be able to access opportunities and experiences that enable them to become ready for work. We will provide staff with the training and support through internal and external opportunities to enable them to become interactive, inspiring and inclusive role models. Whether it be through youth projects, event operations, commercial business or board decision making. Young people will be encouraged, supported and nurtured by OPEN to develop key skills needed for employability. Employability skills can be learned and applied to other spheres of life. Employers are looking for young people who can think on their feet, work well with others and understand the process of planning, delivering and evaluating performance. All departments of the OPEN Youth Trust can deliver those outcomes with young people. Developing the next generation is vital. Young people are positioned at the heart of everything we do, recognised as crucial elements of all our services. OPEN will use all vehicles possible to engage young people to be the best they can be.

Young people take part in a four week volunteering programme, which helps them build their CV and learn employability skills.


Our ambition: To support all young people engaged in programmes to achieve their potential by developing and encouraging their learning.

To achieve this:

Over the next five years we will:

We will maximize the learning opportunities in all departments of the Trust, to have an impact on young peoples lives.

• Nurture young people’s talents, interests and ideas • Deliver innovative programmes that support and train young people to develop, assist and lead in the Trust’s activities and services • Enable children and young people to maximise their learning by offering awards, accreditations and qualifications • Encourage young people to achieve their potential through engaging, educational and empowering experiences • Develop pathways for leadership skills through creative, sporting and participation based activities • Extend the reach of the Trust by working in new ways in all departments and by working with new partners.

If we do all this: Young people will develop new skills, become more aware and increase their ability to enjoy and succeed. This will enable young people to realise and achieve their aspirations.

All young people deserve to be supported and encouraged to learn and develop, helping them to reach their potential. All young people have the right to supportive and encouraging learning to enable them to reach their potential. Building on the momentum and success of past programmes and projects, we believe that every young person should be able to receive learning opportunities that make a difference to their lives no matter how big or small. Our focus will be to provide innovative and exciting opportunities for young people with particular elements to include; creative, music, sport, volunteering and employment. We will strive to support those young people who are most disadvantaged and will work with partners to positively influence young peoples experiences. This will include external opportunities with partner organisations and schools. These learning opportunities will be exciting and relevant to the individual as well as being informative for young people.

Children and young people learning healthy cooking and eating as part of our holiday activities.


Our ambition:

To achieve this:

To embed progression pathways in all elements of the Trusts service provision.

We will design and develop progression pathways with internal and external partners that will provide young people with the next step of engagement.

Over the next five years we will:

If we do all this:

• Deliver awards, events and showcases that celebrate talents and achievements of children and young people We will have inspired young • Provide trips, projects and opportunities that are progression people to want to be the best routes from core delivery services they possible can be. • Create progression routes internally witihin all departments of the Trust and with external organisations that allow young Opening up new horizons people to have increased experiences and helping them to make • Collaborate with the public, private and voluntary sector to positive contributions to their promote future pathways for children and young people community and shape their • Inspire children and young people to want to progress in a own life. variety of areas of their life • Establish added value activities for children and young people that are extensions of core services.

All children and young people should be able to progress to future pathways that enrich and fulfill their life. Progression plays a crucial role in a child or young persons life regardless of their background and circumstance. Whether it’s a housing issue, help with a career or simply a way to improve in an activity. However, children and young people live in a modern world that is complex, busy and interconnected in an ever-changing way. Because of this it is vital that we provide support, motivation and encouragement to help them progress to their next step in life. As an organisation with a range of facilities combined with a staff team possessing a diverse skill set we have the opportunity to work with children and young people in a wide range of ways. We will work collectively to facilitate participants progression which will enrich and fulfil their lives will include showcases, trips, residentials and external next steps. This will providing children and young people with movements, transitions and evolutionary pathways which will add to their experiences and opportunities.

Young people show their progression by performing at our showcase event.

How we work

We use the oganisations five core values to underpin all our work with young people, ‘passion, respect, community, diversity and inspiration.’


We our passionate about developing, caring and supporting young people in all areas of their life.

We: We seek to provide innovative, required and accessible opportunities for young people that make a positive Deliver services with a belief, passion and commitment to difference to their lives. children and young people. We champion, engage and empower Champion the voice of young young people to enable us to meet people. their needs. We aim to maximise our impact by collaborating, supporting and developing partnerships with others to achieve greater outcomes for young people. We do this along side partners in sport, music, advice and guidance, health, education and business. Our focus is to work with others where possible, broaden opportunities internally, continue core services and fill identified gaps in provision.

Involve children and young people all in areas of the Trust. Empower young people in decision making at all levels of the Trust.


Community. Diversity.


We respect young people’s needs, ideas, abilities, backgrounds and circumstances.

We value, care and support our community. This includes young people, their wider networks, organisations, businesses as well as our staff and volunteers.

We build, design and deliver provision that is diverse in its nature as well as enabling it to access and reach a diverse audience.

We aim to inspire young people, organisations and general public who engage in the Trust’s provision by giving professional, unique and enthusiastic service.





Promote equality, diversity and cultural understanding.

Inspire young people and the community by our commitment, approach and ethos.

Enable young people to develop Collaborate with organisations an understanding of themselves who have synergy with the Trust. and others. Support local needs and build Engage young people with non community cohesion. judgemental methodology. Provide services for children, Educate young people in a young people and their wider manner that helps build respect. support network.

Encourage children and young people to try a variety of new activities.

Deliver a diverse range of opportunities that are accessed by children and Deliver all services with a polite, Identify and share best practice young people. dignified and proactive of work with young people both approach. internally and externally. Develop unique, innovative ways to engage with children and young people.

Support young people through consistent and flexible provision. Design innovative and engaging provision with lasting outcomes for young people. Showcase young people talents, opportunities and achievements.

Our Reach UK

We aim to lead, support and inspire young people and those who interact with them. To do this, we need to engage with them in all areas of the Trust, with both the services we provide now and the new services we develop for in the future. We must remember to never become complacent in the ever changing needs of young peoples lives.


Our reach ranges from: • •


Individuals and groups of young people accessing the OPEN venue in Norwich. Networks of partner organisations, providing provision together both inside the venue and by outreach programmes in Norfolk. Social media platforms, online technology and future media communications that give accessibility within the UK.

We use our approach to service provision to impact on young peoples lives across Norfolk and we communicate to the nation the achievements they have made. We are recognised locally as a key provider for young people and we have a profile on a national level to increase and influence the way in which you can work with young people. We have been delivering unique, innovative programmes, projects and provision for young people for over 10 years and have received recognition from national, regional and local levels. We intend to continue to push the ways in which we can work with young people and the impact we have on their lives, their wider networks and their community.





Creative Suite

Our Investment

We aim to transform facilities within OPEN. By refocusing the need, with demand and redistributing our resource we will be able to do more, have a greater impact and invest in young people further. We will develop an Active Zone. This will replace the existing Media Lab and will utilise the space with interactive, exercise and sporting equipment that will enable young people to become more active and healthier citizens. We will not lose elements of the Media Lab, instead we will enhance it by shifting equipment to a more active and committed space that will become our Creative Suite.

By transforming both these spaces we will be able to engage with an even greater number of young people, increase opportunities and development and provide the community with an even greater resource. The whole of this transformation process will involve young people from start to finish and will become an incredible asset and engagement tool for the Trust.

Active Zone

We will transform current unused attic space within OPEN by building a computer suite, installing art storage and investing in creative equipment that will allow young people to explore creative expression in a variety of forms in a light, flexible and dedicated space.

Our Commitment

Children and young people are inspired as they meet Darcy Bussell.

To enable young people to reach their potential, we must reach our own individual, group and organisational potential.

The Trust’s challenge is to do that in the best possible way for young people. It is not simple and has become more complex in a ever changing modern world. We cannot take it for granted that young people will engage, and we must show them passion, respect and inspiration by giving them diverse opportunities that benefit their communities.

Russ Dacre MBE, Chair of Trustees, OPEN Youth Trust

We must build on the momentum we have gained. The OPEN Youth Trust is proud of its role within the community, the service we have provided and the impact we have had over the last 10 years. This engagement strategy reinforces that work and is designed to give a clear direction of how we will build on the success and impact of recent years. Our vision on how this can be achieved is to put young people at the heart of delivery in everything we do. We believe this can be realised by engaging, educating and empowering young people to drive the Trust, enabling us to provide opportunities that make a positve difference to their lives.

The OPEN Youth Trust will strive to provide every young person in Norfolk with the opportunity to transform their life, whatever their age, ability or background. For some time, we have been working hard to ensure that services have continued in what have been tough economic times. It is now that we must use the momentum we have, work with others, listen to young people, develop our staff team and ensure we can help make Norfolk a great place for young people. Ben Burt, Activities Manager, OPEN Youth Trust

We are determined that the OPEN Youth Trust can play a leading, supportive and dynamic role in making a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk. To engage with young people in the first instance is the start of helping transform their lives.

OPEN Youth Trust Providing opportunities that make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk. 20 BANK Plain Norwich Norfolk NR2 4SF T: 01603 763111 E: info@opennorwich.org.uk www.opennorwich.org.uk Follow us on Twitter: @opennorwich @openactivities Find us on Facebook at OPENNorwich Registered charity number: 1108712 Registered company number: 5320333

Profile for OPEN

Youth engagement strategy 2015 2020  

The OPEN Youth Trust’s Youth Engagement Strategy sets the direction, methodolgy and priorities for the Trust’s work with young people over t...

Youth engagement strategy 2015 2020  

The OPEN Youth Trust’s Youth Engagement Strategy sets the direction, methodolgy and priorities for the Trust’s work with young people over t...