The Conservation Volunteer’s partnership with People’s Health Trust began in 2011. Since then TCV has received over £2,400,000 from People’s Health Trust to deliver 55 projects in communities across England, Wales and Scotland.
In January 2015, TCV and the People’s Health Trust launched the Local People Programme. In six places across England and Scotland, we’re working together with local people to identify challenges in their community and develop ideas to help address them. The programme is bringing neighbours together to empower people to take action on local issues, which are important to them.
It’s great to see people of all ages talking about how they might be able to address the lack of opportunities for young people. There’s a sense of excitement among residents because they are in control of the changes being made.
Jessie Cooke, TCV’s Local People Programme Officer
During 2015, the Local People’s Programme carried out local community surveys in South Wigston, Leicestershire. Results showed that 90% of residents identified a need for activities for children and young people and to help tackle anti-social behaviour in the area. As a response, the Local People Programme brought together local residents who formed a partnership with Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, local churches, local schools, Oadby & Wigston Youth Council with support from Voluntary Action Leicestershire and Young Leicestershire.
The Step Out Youth Group was soon formed, with the aims of supporting and empowering local young people, encouraging social connectivity within the community and providing the young people with a safe and secure environment in which they can relax and learn.
The group has eight local committee members and was constituted in June 2016. The Local people Programme has helped those volunteers become trained in first aid, safeguarding children and young people, food hygiene, gain accredited training in youth provision together with other training in setting up and running community projects.
Following and a ‘taster’ event which attracted 200+ local young people, and some taster sports and craft sessions to identify which activities the young people would enjoy, the Step Out group now delivers sports, arts and crafts, games, dance and music. The group is open twice a week to all children aged 6 – 16 years in South Wigston.
Jessie Cooke, TCV’s Local People Programme Officer said “The most common thing to come up (in the community survey) was the need for more opportunities for children and teenagers locally. It’s something that’s been a very contentious issue in the area for some time. The Local People Programme gives residents and local organisations a chance to do something about it. Step Out gives neighbours of all ages a chance to catch up, meet new people and talk about opportunities for children and young people in South Wigston. It’s great to see people of all ages talking about how they might be able to address the lack of opportunities for young people. There’s a sense of excitement among residents because they are in control of the changes being made”.