West of Scotland Housing Association wanted to develop more effective ways of engaging young people as active participants in their tenant communities. They had expressed desire to go beyond a one-off consultation and instead to invest in building capacity to support an ongoing dialogue in relationships with young people – and between young people and others in the community. They also wanted to create new sustainable processes for meaningful and collaborative action with young people.
The housing association recognise that resilient communities are underpinned by strong relationships. They wanted to build stronger connections between young people and older people to share skills/reciprocal support in communities – and they wanted to hear how young people thought this could be achieved. In the initial programme 13 young West of Scotland Housing Association tenants were engaged as consultants to offer ideas and recommendations for the development of the housing association’s holiday activities for young people. As well as the value of gathering ideas during the process, the housing association hoped to offer a work-related learning experience that was inspiring and valuable for young people.
The youth-led group were enthused when they realised that the housing association team was genuinely interested in their ideas, and prepared to see them through. The young people were very motivated at the prospect of bringing their own ideas to life, seeing the projects through from start to finish.
Throughout their experience, the young people explained that they empathised with the younger children in their area, remembering their own experiences of ‘kicking about’ at the same age, and wanting to take responsibility for activities that younger children would find fun and interesting.
Beyond the initial consultation work, some of the young people saw their ideas through into action. During the summer holidays the young people worked with the housing association to organise and run a football tournament for their local peers in the tenant community.
"Teamwork; everything is not always going to work – it’s about getting through."
"[We hope that] Everybody stays involved to the delivery point of the ideas and continues to generate future ideas – volunteering for the association."