The Rossendale Children and Young People's Trust had identified a specific gap in relation to the provision of activities for young people in Rossendale on a Friday evening.
This gap had been identified through a number of ways: Within Rossendale we have 4 Neighbourhood Forums where local people have the opportunity to come together with statutory agencies to identify what are the issues in their areas and how can we work together to address some of the issues. Further, through our annual Democracy week, we engage with young people during that week to identify what matters to them and what would they like to see in their area, plus the Borough Council's communities team work within the community with a range of different groups. This information plus the evidence from statutory agencies gives us a good picture about the needs of our area.
Having identified the gap, the Children and Young People's Trust worked together to deliver Fusion a low cost weekly programme of activities for teenagers for 11 weeks. The project is delivered in partnership by a number of agencies within Rossendale.
The Rossendale Leisure Trust provide the venue at Haslingden Sports Centre and a range of activities appealing to a the different interests of young people including dance, sport but also gaming session with the x-box kinnect and free running are available. The event is support by staff from the Trust, the Borough Council and the Youth Service. In recognition that some young people just want some where safe to hang out, a squash court is used as a crash pad.
Following the success of the project up to 40 young people attended per night, further funding has been bid for and it is hoped the project can now be run until next March. Initial evaluation has been positive. Young people who have attended have said they would be either in their bedrooms on the computer or hanging out with mates in the park, having experienced a new sport many have been signposted on to the many clubs in the area, the cost of £1.00 means that Fusion is affordable for most young people. A number of safeguarding issues have been identified and a further positive outcome is the arrangement of a development session between social care and Council staff to build their confidence in taking the lead role, dealing with issues, and ensuring that young people are supported by the different agencies and not referred to social care unless this is necessary. Other agencies want to now become involved in supporting the project and the next stage is to involve young people in delivering the project so it becomes a project for young people delivered by young people.
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