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The Young Placechangers programme

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greenspace scotland engages and empowers young people through the Young Placechangers programme.

The Young Placechangers approach combines greenspace scotland’s experience of working with community groups on placemaking with Youth Scotland’s experience of youth work and supporting young people to take the lead.

Young people from the Gannochy Young Placechangers groups evaluating their place (greenspace scotland)
Young people from the Gannochy Young Placechangers groups evaluating their place (greenspace scotland)

Young Placechangers puts young people in the lead role – bringing together the wider community to look at local spaces and plan improvements. The Young Placechangers programme used a co-production approach to develop and pilot a training and support programme enabling young people to transform both the place they live, their relationship to it and the wider community.

As part of the legacy of the programme we have created the Young Placechangers Toolkit  to help young people get involved in place discussions and decisions.

Our current programmes are supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government, The Gannochy Trust and the OVO Foundation.

How does it work?

The Young Placechangers programme has three core elements drawn from community placemaking principles and youth work approaches:

1. Young people and youth workers are given training in place evaluation making use of community placemaking principles and the Scottish Place Standard Tool. Training takes place in residential settings and in local clusters.

2. The Ideas Fund supports activity and delivers quick-win projects through seedcorn and Ideas Fund grants.

3. Support from peers and ‘place professionals’ inspires and enthuses young people to get involved in their local areas.

Why is it needed?

Young people are almost invisible in the Public Realm and are a missing voice in local place consultations. They are frequently described as a 'problem' by the wider community and the answer to the perceived threat of young people 'hanging around' is too often to restrict access to young people.

Case study – Perth & Kinross Young Placechangers

The Gannochy Trust is funding a strand of the YPC programme which has a focus on Perth & Kinross over a three-year period.

In Year One greenspace scotland worked closely with a group of young people who live on or around the Gannochy estate and the Gannochy Trust Development Manager as there was no established youth group in the area.

The Gannochy Young Placechangers developed as a group of young people who became interested in our Young Placechangers Programme after attending an initial information event held in June 2018.

The Gannochy Young Placechangers Project – the Curly

The Gannochy Trust were keen for the young people to focus their attention on a specific greenspace in the Gannochy community called the Curly, which had previously been the focus of creative consultation sessions with the local primary school.

Young people from the Rumpus Room in Glasgow out evaluating their place (greenspace scotland)
Young people from the Rumpus Room in Glasgow out evaluating their place (greenspace scotland)

The Curly is a fenced off neighbourhood park with grass and mature trees and it is situated next to an open area with a pond complete with ducks and swans. The Bowling Club and Tennis Club are close by and the park is used both by the tennis club, local young people to play football and local families for play and recreation. Access is currently through a high stile, so not accessible for anyone with a pram or with a mobility issue.

Training and support

Through participating in our training young people were supported to develop skills and confidence to engage with others in their community. The Gannochy young placechangers were also introduced to how to evaluate place with placemaking tools such as the placemaking standard and greenspace scotland’s community place evaluation.

The training included supporting the young people to lead on community consultations through a community mapping session where we looked at what is involved in engaging the wider community and provided community engagement techniques.

Training sessions and development meetings with young people took place across the summer months and enabled the group to develop their idea, host a community consultation event and prepare to present their idea to the Gannochy Trust for funding.

This involved obtaining contractors quotes for the proposed improvements to the Curly: Changing access points, the height of the fence in places, installing goal posts and benches. This was done with support from the Gannochy Trust Development Manager and Estates Manager.

Presenting their plan to the Gannochy Trust

The Gannochy young placechangers were invited to present their plan for the Curly to the Gannochy Board of Trustees in November 2018. They did it so convincingly that the Board decided to fund the improvements with a few suggestions as to how costs could be reduced. This meant that the group did not have to apply to the Young Placechangers Ideas Fund.

“It’s only been a short four months since we first met as The Gannochy Young Placechangers Group, but we have packed a lot in to that time. We have achieved 12 meetings since June and the group has developed its own questionnaire for residents, completed a Place Evaluation, designed a promotional poster, delivered its own Community Consultation event, secured 4 quotes for the work, and written a presentation of their proposals. We have also secured a face-to-face meeting with the 7 Trustees of the Gannochy Trust” quote from young participant

The Gannochy Young Placechangers group at the completion of their project February 2020 (greenspace scotland)
The Gannochy Young Placechangers group at the completion of their project February 2020 (greenspace scotland)

What happened next

Following the positive result of the meeting with the Gannochy Trust Board the Gannochy Trust Estates Manager submitted a planning application to Perth and Kinross Council to take the work forward. The planning application was successful, and the project has since been completed.

The young people also worked towards accreditation in the shape of Silver Youth Achievement Awards. As there is no designated youth worker for the group this was supported by the Young Placechangers Development officer and a Youth Scotland youth worker.

Useful links

For further information contact Young Placechangers Development Officer Angela Houghton on Angela.Houghton@greenspacescotland.org.uk

Young Placechangers Toolkit https://www.greenspacescotland.org.uk/young-placechangers-toolkit

Scottish Place Standard Tool https://www.placestandard.scot/

Youth Scotland awards for Young People https://www.youthscotland.org.uk/awards/

Ea O’Neill

greenspace scotland: Jubilee House, Forthside Way, Stirling FK8 1QZ. Tel: 01786 849 757 Email: info@greenspacescotland.org.uk.

greenspace scotland is a registered Scottish Charity (No SC034078) and a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in Scotland (No 236105)

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