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Students help young people get their views heard

Friday 27 April 2018

YOUNG people are having their views heard about how their area should be improved – thanks to a group of University of Salford students.

The students went out to speak to young people in the Irlam and Cadishead areas of Salford to ask them what they thought about what was currently available for them to do in their neighbourhood and what they wanted to see.

The group, who are mainly studying on the University’s Social Work programme, talked to young people aged around 14, on the street and in venues such as youth clubs and skate parks.

What can be done better?

They then developed an interactive consultation, asking questions such as what they were concerned about in the area, what they did for fun, and where they thought things needed to be done better.

The students carried out their work after the University was approached by the Salford Children And Young People Trust, and they have now produced a report about their findings which has been presented to Salford City Council.

Findings from the report are now going on to help create a plan for the area that the council is developing in partnership with Talk Talk.

This includes the main finding, that young people in the area wanted to be involved in all elements of youth provision including running their own clubs.

Making a contribution 

Johannah Winstanley, who graduated from the Social Work programme last year, said: “Having lived in the Irlam area for 12 years, and in Salford since I was born, it's been an honour for me to aspire to something better for young people and make this contribution to bring about positive change in the community." 

Before this project I had never worked with young people. At the start I was apprehensive, not knowing what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The aspiration that these young people have is incredible and I am happy to have been involved in allowing them to express it.

Current student Sophie Jinks said: "Before this project I had never worked with young people. At the start I was apprehensive, not knowing what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The aspiration that these young people have is incredible and I am happy to have been involved in allowing them to express it."

Motivating young people 

And student Jonny Glen added: "We found that creating an open and honest environment allowed the young people to flourish. The young people could express their thoughts and ideas through group work, drawing, writing, or working individually. This freedom and open atmosphere seemed to really motivate the young people."

Jameel Hadi, Programme Leader in the MA Social Pedagogy at the University of Salford, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage directly with young people and play a key role in something that is vital for any community – making sure that youth provision is as good as it can be.

“The group of students learned invaluable skills that enabled them to apply their knowledge in a practical setting and learn from their experience.”