Big society in need of a 'radical review', says think tank http://t.co/NfX03LDvHb
Not long ago, we featured a case study that told the tale of how Sandwell Young Advisors had come back from the brink of closure, only to be rescued by inspired efforts by Young Advisor Rohim Mohammed.
We're delighted to hear his story on how things have progressed since September:
"Having worked hard to get Sandwell YAs re-established - completing all the policies, tax documents, promotional materials, etc – I sent out a mass email to all the contacts Sandwell YAs had built up in its previous life. We received a reply from the local PCT, wishing to do some research work into their Children and Young People’s Plan. Although this work was no longer a statutory requirement, the PCT were keen to continue it in order to set a guideline for their work with young people over the coming years. We carried out research into four areas: leisure, crime, family, and future aspirations. It felt great to be back in business!
Next up was hosting a young people’s event for Race Equality Sandwell, based at The Public Arts Centre, which celebrated diversity in the community through performing arts. It was attended by around 120 young people from different communities, and we were particularly pleased to have representation from young disabled people there too. It was a well received event, and participation was at the heart of it.
Sandwell YAs also travelled out to Worcestershire to visit the National Trust’s Croome Park. They wanted to see how it could be improved to attract and include more young people, and we’re looking forward to seeing how our ideas can help shape the future of their services.
We then began work on a follow-up report for George Salter High, looking into evening and weekend activities for young people. We received some very positive feedback from the school on our report, and the outcomes we included will be used to design future activities for the children of George Salter High.
We’ve also been involved in some filming work with the Young Advisors Charity. It was done to help promote the National Citizen Service, the Government’s flagship scheme aimed at getting young people involved in their local communities. ( Here's the completed film! )
Much of our time has been spent challenging (along with Sandwell Shadow Youth Cabinet) the youth service review and budget cuts which will affect young people in our neighbourhoods. We have written letters to councillors, service directors, and other local people of influence. As a result, the principle officer is due to hold a discussion forum with young people in order to hear their views, and explain how changes will / may affect them.
Our current work includes:
Conducting health research on behalf of the local PCT with looked after young people, ex looked after young people, young offenders and young carer. This is a continuation from the work started last year.
We’ve also started the South Asian Carers Project this week, where 120 carers will be interviewed on issues such as pathways to employment; Sandwell Young Advisors will help to remove barriers and get on by producing an information booklet to signpost towards available help and support.
We soon hope to announce a working partnership with another local organisation who are hoping to use our know-how in order to set up a youth forum in Sandwell, evaluating people’s views about local services and hosting events to raise awareness of what’s on offer.
Finally, thanks to support from colleagues from within our community, have also opened our own office! We’re located on West Bromwich highstreet, and now have access to a health station, gym, reception area, offices, and a training room. Come and visit us!"
Rohim Mohammed, Feb 2011