Co-production is at the heart of YMCA North Staffordshire’s approach to youth work. They believe that services designed to help young people to thrive and grow work best when they are designed and developed in partnership with them.
YMCA North Staffordshire’s project at Edinburgh House captures this spirit. Children and young people felt valued and valuable in the project’s design, coming up with ideas for the best use of the spaces and making it truly accessible, and the YMCA has also helped them gain new skills along the way, like podcast training and bid writing.
North Staffordshire YMCA’s new project is funded by a Youth Investment Fund grant. It’s part of a city-wide strategy to increase access to youth provision for children and young people, collaborating with partners to maximise the opportunity presented by the fund.
A new space with more equipment and better facilities that has young people more involved in the design will increase confidence and help with mental health. It’s creating a positive space where children and young people can make friends and learn new skills. It’s also good that we are being listened to and rather than someone saying this is what’s happening, we are involved and shows young people in a positive focus.
One of the young people involved in the project’s co-design.
The team at Edinburgh House cannot wait to get started on developing their project, which should reach another 350 young people and be a valuable space for other agencies across the city.
The Youth Investment Fund grant will enable the YMCA to both renovate their existing building and add a vibrant new extension. Using modern methods of construction and maximising the provision already available on site to offer value for money and sustainability, the new site will offer spaces including an arts station, digital technologies, quiet spaces and will be fully accessible to all children and young people. It is being developed using sustainable energy sources, and the extension can both add more much-needed space for youth work activities, as well as offering valuable and accessible space to partner organisations to deliver their own activities.
The Youth Investment Fund project will also have the added benefit of generating more volunteering and employment opportunities as part of the youth offer, building on existing work including social action, career pathways and partnerships with local colleges and universities.
The new project will help us reach a wider net of young people and offer unique experiences and activities that our young people do not currently have access to. It will help us accomplish our goal of providing activities to help young people thrive.
YMCA Go Project Lead