Youth and Play Services - Young Manchester
- Meeting of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 6th November, 2019 10.00 am (Item 48.)
Report of the Director of Neighbourhoods
This report provides an overview on the progress of Young Manchester, an independent youth and play charity, and its contract with the Local Authority to commission the city’s Youth and Play Fund Programme. It presents an update on progress made since the establishment of the fund in April 2018, focusing on outcomes for children and young people and the growth and development of the city’s youth and play sector.
The Committee received a report of the Director of Neighbourhoods which provided an overview of the progress of Young Manchester, an independent youth and play charity, and its contract with the Council to commission the city’s Youth and Play Fund Programme. It presented an update on progress made since the establishment of the fund in April 2018, focusing on outcomes for children and young people and the growth and development of the city’s youth and play sector.
Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report which included:
· Background to the Youth and Play Fund;
· Impact and outcomes;
· Feedback from children and young people;
· Further investment in children and young people;
· Building a national platform for Manchester; and
· Youth and Play Fund 2020.
The Ward Councillor for Hulme welcomed what had been achieved despite the budget cuts. She emphasised the importance of tackling knife crime and requested further information on the next commissioning round.
Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
· The importance of universal youth services;
· That a lack of facilities such as toilets and changing facilities in parks presented a barrier for parents and grandparents wanting to take children to the park, that better information could make people aware of facilities in park cafes but that, where available, these were still only open for limited hours;
· How funding could be identified for work such as repairing swings in parks; and
· How smaller organisations which did not have expertise in writing bids could be supported to obtain funding.
The Strategic Lead (Parks, Leisure, Events and Youth) informed Members about a new website which was being developed which would provide information on all youth and play services across the city and which would be integrated with the MCR Active website. He advised Members that this would enable the Council and Young Manchester to have a better understanding on where there were gaps in provision. The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure outlined how this information would be gathered at a local level.
The Strategic Lead (Parks, Leisure, Events and Youth) reported that individual park plans were being developed for each park to identify the highest priority work that needed to be done in that park, following which sources of funding could be identified. He advised Members that the Council was releasing £12.5 million to invest in its parks and that his service was looking at ways to reduce demand on the parks budget and to generate income.
Justin Watson from Young Manchester reported that part of his organisation’s role was as an infrastructure organisation, supporting organisations, particularly smaller community organisations, so that they were in a better position to access funding, not just from Young Manchester but from other sources. He informed the Committee that Young Manchester had just launched the new Youth and Play Fund 2020 and he offered to share information on this with Members, as well as more details of the rationale for previous decisions which had been made about funding.
Toni Good, a Youth Worker from Barlow Moor Community Association, outlined what her organisation delivered and how it and the young people she worked with had benefited from working with Young Manchester. She informed Members that the Youth and Play Workers in her organisation did not have expertise in areas such as art and drama but that through the network meetings organised by Young Manchester they had been able to make links with people with that expertise and provide new opportunities for their young people. She also informed Members about a social action project their young people had taken part in through which they had been able to achieve some of the improvements they had wanted to see in their local area. She reported that this had made them feel that they were being listened to and keener to make their voices heard in future.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure reported that this year’s Make Your Mark ballot had identified youth violence as the top priority for young people. He advised the Committee that this needed a multi-agency approach and assured Members that the Council would play its part in this.
The Chair noted that the report recommended that the Committee receive a further report in November 2021 but requested that this be received in November 2020 instead.
1. To recommend that a further report be brought back to Members in November 2020, which focuses on qualitative and quantitative data, evidence of impact, outcomes and young people’s feedback relating to the Youth and Play Fund 2020/2022.
2. To note the offer fromJustin Watson from Young Manchester to share information on the new Youth and Play Fund 2020 with Members, as well as more details of the rationale for previous decisions which had been made about funding.
3. To request that clear information on the availability of toilet facilities, for example, in park cafes, be included on signage in parks.
[Councillor Alijah declared a personal interest as chair of the Hideaway Youth Project.]