The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has today (3 July 2019) launched a major report looking at young people’s perceptions of provision and opportunities in Suffolk.
The University of Suffolk were commissioned to compile the report by the Bishop and a consortium of sponsors. It provides in-depth qualitative research investigating the views of young people in Suffolk about their opinions of their communities and the challenges they face.
The consortium consisting of the Diocese, the Suffolk Community Foundation and the Ipswich Opportunity Area funded the research in an attempt to ensure that young people felt they had a voice in identifying issues and helping to inform possible solutions.
Bishop Martin said, “It is vital young people living in Suffolk with some of the problems that have been widely publicised have a platform to be heard about, both on the issues and the solutions. This report by the University of Suffolk will make a significant contribution to our understanding of their lives and views. What is clear is that they do have clear opinions and perhaps surprisingly, a very common and coherent set of views wherever they are in the county. It is also very clear that the needs they have are ones that we as county should be able to address. In terms of next steps, it is my role to challenge those with influential voices in Suffolk to work together and respond quickly and meaningfully. We will also be looking at some new funding streams to help.”
The Suffolk Community Foundation and the Police and Crime Commissioner attended the launch and announced details of new funding opportunities to address some of the issues raised.
Katie Tyrrell, Research Associate at the University, the author of the report said “Young people are often consulted in a tokenistic way, this research was a way to actively engage with young people meaningfully, with their voice at the centre. They were pleased to be asked, to give their views and responded enthusiastically. There are clear messages in the report and it is vital that young people continue to contribute to the identification of issues and the development of solutions.”
Young people, aged 11-18, volunteered to participate in focus group discussions with creative mapping activities across Ipswich, Claydon, Leiston, Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Haverhill.
The research identified the need for:
- Safe social spaces across the county
- Adequate transport and better information in order to access existing provision
- A greater understanding of young people’s needs across the wider community
- Involving young people in identifying the issues they face and informing the solutions.
Katie said “Young people told us there were frustrated with the lack of things to do within their local communities, this was especially so for those in rural communities, where there was a difficulty in accessing provision. There was also a view that there is a barrier in gaining work experience and employment opportunities.”
“The fear of crime, violence and gang activity was clear in negatively influencing young people’s movements. Many described feelings of disconnect and social exclusion and the groups expressed a desire to have a safe, indoor social space to not only spend time with friends but also to seek support from a variety of services.”
The report can be downloaded from https://www.uos.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Youth-Intervention-Full-Report_1.pdf
The Executive Summary can be found at https://www.uos.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Youth-Intervention-Summary_1.pdf
University of Suffolk Press Office
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