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September 17th, 2010

Safe – Youth Provision

We have been working for the last 18 months on a local myplace bid. It is called the Spotlight Youth Centre  and will be in our local area on the Langdon Park School site. We have have been working on consulting young people about what they would like both in relation to the design and look of the centre and secondly the services within the centre and reporting this back to Poplar HARCA the lead provider.

One reflection from this process has been that young people have consistently said that they want the environment to be a ‘safe’ one. Young people have said that this can take a variety meanings, from physically safe – no fights for example, to emotionally safe, care about handling young people’s personal information for example . When asked 100% of the young people said they felt safe in the Canaan Project club.

We have been purposeful about how we work with young people in order to give them an environment that they feel is safe. We ensure that we all (volunteers and staff ) are checking behaviour and attitudes and challenging if appropriate, in order that we keep it a safe place.

An example of this is, before summer we had a group of boys aged 15/16 that were constantly racist, especially toward there own culture and white people. We worked hard with this group, several of the volunteers challenged this behaviour and asked questions and listened. These young people no longer access our provision any more, but toward the end they knew what was appropriate in front of us, in terms of their attitude toward others. Maybe the fact that they left is that in challenging them on their attitudes and they felt uncomfortable and left or maybe this is about they got older and moved on (who knows!).

We feel this is important in fact essential because we want young people of all ethnicities to access our provision and feel it is a safe place to do so. Safety is key…