Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Youth Provision Reviewed

Hebden Royd Town Council held the first meeting of a new working party last Thursday December 3rd attended by representatives from Calderdale Young Peoples Service and Lifeline Calderdale.

As part of its work, Lifeline Calderdale fronts two key initiatives for young people – Branching Out, a confidential alcohol and drug service for ages 10 – 21 years and Step2, a project for young people between the ages of 11 and 18 in the upper valley which aims to reduce anti-social behaviour and street drinking in the local area. The Young People’s Service runs youth projects on the park, in the town centre, at Calder High School, Salem Mill, Dodnaze Community Centre and Mytholmroyd Community Centre. These include projects, activities, and an information and advice service.

There is a perception within the media and amongst the public that there is not a great deal for youngsters to do in the evenings across Hebden Royd and one purpose of the meeting was to focus on how to determine exactly what facilities and activities are available. The meeting discussed the many aspects of known youth provision in Hebden Royd and in addition tried to find out what, if anything, was available in terms of information/support for parents as well.

Although there does seem to be an improvement in the range of activities for young people it was felt that a central information source would be beneficial to everyone involved with youngsters in the area. Deputy Mayor Robin Dixon said “The young people in Hebden Royd show their energy and talents in so many ways and we want to celebrate this, whilst at the same time broadening and improving the overall picture.”

The multi agency meeting agreed to carry out a comprehensive audit of both Local Authority and voluntary provision. When complete this information will be held by both Hebden Royd Town Council and Calderdale MBC Young Peoples Service and be available for access by all.

Councillor Lesley Jones said “Should any voluntary organisation that provides activities for young people feel that they would benefit from improved visibility and wish to make sure they are included in this audit please contact me direct via Hebden Royd Town Council.” (lesley.jones@hebdenroyd.org.uk)

It is intended that future meetings will involve young people themselves from as many organisations as possible and an event is planned for the Spring, with the format driven by the youngsters themselves. Lorraine Daber from the Young People’s Service stressed the importance of involving young people in the design and development of facilities and resources in the area.

A key issue for the meeting was that the work of the new group will be for all young people and the hope is that more of them will become involved in the many activities and organisations on offer, whatever their interests and aspirations.

The next meeting has been planned for Thursday 4th February. This will be an open meeting to which members of the public and young people are invited to attend and the venue and time will be publicised nearer the time.

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