Wolverhampton invests £2 million in voice for youth activities

Council bosses in Wolverhampton are investing £2 million in helping young people across the city plan and set up their own community activities.

The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google
The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

The council’s #YES (Youth Engagement Strategy) programme, set up last November, now has a board of 18 young people whose responsibility is to choose activities and provisions they would like to see commissioned locally.

So far the initiative has seen the establishment of youth forums in Bilston, Whitmore Reans, Blakenhall and Low Hill, Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s cabinet heard.

Achievements to date include the creation of the WV Virtual Holiday Squad which promoted over 100 online activities ranging from art and crafts to learning, cooking, sport and music.

The online site notched up 23,135 visitors, with over 3,000 young people taking part in face to face activities prior to lockdown.

Young people were also involved in the recommissioning of the wellbeing service for schools, providing access to health check sessions for over 1,300 pupils.

Councillor John Reynolds, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is a great indication of what our young people have done over the last 12 months within the difficulties of lockdown. They have worked so well together to make things happen for themselves.”

The new funding to commission activities young people want to get involved in is supported by £370,000 with a ring-fenced pot for the most disadvantaged youngsters.

Opportunity

Leader of the city council, Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “We’ve come to the age of people telling our youngsters what they should be doing.

“What we’re doing in Wolverhampton is looking to change that around by giving them that opportunity and responsibility to put their ideas into practice.

“We are always looking at ways in which we can help our young ambassadors in their role going forward. We want to keep this connection and build on it.

“There will be no more cuts on youth services and we absolutely pledge to honour that in the future,” he added.

Councillor Stephen Simkins, cabinet member for city economy said: “The young people are a voice to help shape not just our city but also our economy, so it’s vital that we move forward – especially post-Covid – and listen to them, act accordingly and respond.”

Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, a new network of youth engagement workers will also be out in local communities as part of the programme, funded by a £1 million council investment

Alongside this, better access to emotional wellbeing services will be available following partnership funding of £400,000 between the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Headstart.

A further £200,000 has been provided to safeguard the future of The Way – the city’s youth zone – which will continue to provide additional activities for youngsters.

The #YES programme is being funded through a combination of resources including savings from existing services, grants and contributions from reserves.

Priorities for the next 12 months of the scheme include establishing youth representatives at the city’s Police and Communities Together (PACT) meetings, HeadStart consortia and place-based groups.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News