The government’s Champion for Safer Active Communities met Young Advisors at a project in Sefton, Merseyside, and heard the issues that concern them most and how they are successfully raising them with local decision makers.
Young Advisors - typically aged between 15 and 21 - show community leaders how to engage young people in community life, and get their input into improving local services. There is now a national movement of young people around the country with over 800 Young Advisors trained so far across 43 projects.
A key area of concern for young people involved with the Netherton Park Neighbourhood Centre in Sefton has been on community safety and crime.
The team devised a questionnaire collecting over 200 responses and brought together those leading on community safety policy to debate its findings and establish how they could work together to ensure young people could feel safer on the streets. They sat on a number of influential panels and The Merseyside Police Authority consulted the Young Advisors on their 2010 to 2011 Merseyside Policing Plan.
This first piece of research and the subsequent working with the local police and other agencies resulted in:
- a 49 per cent decrease in the number of young people who had said they didn’t feel safe in their own community
- a 64 per cent decrease in those who had said felt unsafe going out of their area
- a 45 per cent increase in those who said they would contact the police if they had a problem
Following a discussion with young people from Netherton Park, Baroness Newlove said:
“We don’t always acknowledge the fact that many of our young people want to get involved and make a real difference to where they live. They have an important voice and it’s heartening to learn of the success they’ve had in being listened to and that their advice has been acted upon.
“Everyone should be given the opportunity to get involved and help influence local decision making and the Sefton young advisors have shown a real enthusiasm for making an active contribution and having a say in their local community.”