An exploration of young people’s contribution to the type of service provision provided by their RAPID area based youth clubs.
The main focus of this study was the exploration of young people’s (YP) contribution to the type of service provision provided by their Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development (RAPID) area based youth clubs. Through this exploration it was envisaged that an argument would be put forward that as competent members of their community YP living in disadvantaged areas should have a say in decisions that will impact on their lives. More importantly, a key objective of the study was to highlight YP living in disadvantaged areas as competent members of their communities with a unique perspective on the issues impacting on their lives. A second key objective of the study was to highlight the competence of the YP living in disadvantaged areas to identify solutions to issues impacting on their lives. By highlighting these two objectives it was envisaged that an argument would be put forward that YP living in RAPID areas as competent members of their communities should be included in any decisions that will impact upon their lives.A key driving force for study was the relaunching of the RAPID programme in October 2017 by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The relaunching of this programme brought with it the possibility for organisations engaging with disadvantaged YP to secure funding for youth facilities and play/recreation spaces. As this funding will have an impact on YP’s lives it was imperative that the study highlighted the importance of including YP in decisions making process in relation to how organisations utilise this funding.In an effort to achieve this the study engaged with a youth service who managed youth clubs within the RAPID areas in a Midlands town. As part of this engagement, focus groups with YP were held in three separate youth clubs. A total of fourteen YPattended these focus groups. Additionally, three youth workers (YW) employed by the service were interviewed. Key findings that emerged from this study included, the competence of YP to identify issues that are impacting on their lives such as lack of facilities for YP in their areas and no support for secondary students. One group in particular were very aware of issues in the community such as anti-social behaviour, violence, gangs and the negative reputations on their estate. Additionally, the vi findings showed that the YP identified viable solutions to the issues that were impacting on their lives; however, they lacked awareness of how to have their voices heard at a local level in relation to the issues in the community. The implications of these finding show that YP have a unique perspective on issues that are impacting on their lives; hence their voices must be heard in relation to the allocation of funding that has a potential to impact on their lives. Additionally, it showed that YP need to be made aware of how they can have their voices heard at a local level in relation to the issues in the community.
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