OPINION: Developing partnership is working on projects for young people - Connecting Ripon
Youth services can be a vital lifeline providing a safe space for young people and positive, trusted guidance.
Building relationships is important so young people are able to contribute ideas and experiences and have their voices heard to shape services. Like all of us, young people need to feel valued and included in their local area, able to have a say about what matters to them, with a positive focus on what they can contribute for a bright future.
Young people have faced a range of difficulties throughout the pandemic. There has been the impact of isolation, schooling from home and increased financial pressures with young people losing jobs, strains on personal relationships and mental health.
The pressures faced by young people will continue to have an effect in years to come. Connecting Ripon Network member charity Ripon YMCA, alongside a range of partners, recognised this and have been successful in bringing some youth work projects back to the city.
Due to cuts and funding in recent years youth work has become scarce, but a new partnership is working hard to identify new opportunities for the young people of Ripon.
The new Ripon Youth Work Partnership held its second meeting in April, sharing ideas, developing projects and identifying key places where young people go. The partnership formed following a meeting in January 2021 about anti-social behaviour of a small group of young people in Ripon.
Local councillors, the Police, North Yorkshire County Council Early Help, the Community Safety Hub and those delivering or interested in youth work got together online to explore the challenges faced and potential solutions.
The partnership is open to new members and the aim is to establish a forum to share information and develop a strong base of youth work in Ripon. Jess Ward, Founder of Inspire Youth said: “The Youth Work Partnership is an excellent opportunity to share the successes, challenges and future plans for youth provision in Ripon with a wider audience.
“It enables us to collate and celebrate the current services on offer but also use this space to highlight gaps in service delivery and work together to explore and develop positive and engaging activities to meet the needs and wants of young people in Ripon”.
Ripon YMCA has committed to coordinate this group after developing a range of services for young people in the past year.
Lucy Gratton, Ripon YMCA CEO, explains: “Covid presented us with a range of opportunities to apply for funding for projects to engage with young people. We are now leading the delivery of youth work in Ripon alongside several partners.
The Partnership Meeting is a great development and will ensure we create sustainable projects for young people.” Sergeant Clare Mayes from the Ripon Neighbourhood team said: “I thought the last few meetings have been really positive.
“We are definitely working in the right direction to make a real change for the young people in Ripon”.
There is information about Youth Work Projects and Achieve Employability courses, for 16 to 25 year olds who are not in education, employment or training, on the Ripon YMCA website www.riponymca.org .
Services for young people will be just one of the issues we’ll be covering in the Connecting Ripon Network meeting this week.
The network comprises voluntary, community and faith sector organisations coming together to identify what is special about community life in Ripon and surrounding villages and working together to help strengthen volunteering and community connections. Find out more at www.hadca.org.uk/ConnectingRipon