Agenda item

Youth Offer Consultation


Officers presented the report on the proposed Youth Offer, noting that an overview was provided to the Select Committee in January 2023. The Select Committee had requested a further opportunity to provide feedback if a public consultation was approved. In March 2023, Cabinet agreed to a recommendation to conduct a public consultation, which ran from 03 April until 05 June 2023. The consultation included an online survey and facilitated consultation groups and was also promoted through 11 social media posts. The Youth Offer strategy had a dedicated consultation page, and the consultation was also promoted with schools and community groups; included in the April Hillingdon People Extra Newsletter; and in the May/ June edition of Hillingdon People. It was noted that full analysis of the consultation responses was still to be completed.


The online consultation received 123 responses, 90 of which were from Hillingdon residents, with the remainder consisting of those who attended school in Hillingdon, and some from businesses and voluntary groups. The majority of resident respondents were aged between 10 and 15 years, and 14% of those identified as having a special educational need. The highest levels of responses had come from the HA4 postcode, and the fewest came from Harefield, Northwood and Northwood Hills.


57% of respondents to the online consultation were not currently engaged in a youth service programme. 51% had never attended a programme. Respondents indicated that they would like to see more activities promoting emotional health and wellbeing support, sports, and outdoor leisure activities.


On the service being delivered in a range of settings, 58% indicated they would be more likely to attend on this basis. 51% of respondents felt that the new offer promoted inclusivity with an additional 36% feeling it partially promoted inclusivity.


14 facilitated consultation groups took place which engaged 154 children who were currently engaged in a form of youth provision across the Borough, 64% of whom were aged 10-15, and around 50% lived in the south of the Borough. 31% of respondents wanted locality-based services and respondents indicated that they would be happy to travel across Borough to visit the right centre or activity in the right place to meet their needs.


Members thanked officers for the report, and suggested youth services being run as a type of students’ forum whereby young people could run the services. Members also noted question 12 of the Hillingdon Youth Survey, which highlighted that one of the things young people wanted from a Young People’s Centre was ‘to get out of the house’. This highlighted that outdoor facilities were important for young people. Officers noted that it was important for the service to get children outdoors, but that digital emotional support was also important.


Members referenced question nine of the Youth Offer Strategy Consultation, which asked about reasons for not using youth centres. The reasons included accessibility and meeting needs and was linked to visibility. Members also noted the lack of venues in Heathrow Villages ward and noted that it was important for residents to know what was available and where. There were a number of apps such as the Local Village Network, where users could input their postcode to find local services. Members also referenced the 154 young people who took part in the consultation groups, and asked if there was a target percentage of young people to support. Officers noted that these 154 young people were already accessing services during the consultation.


Members noted the relatively small number of responses and noted that this may affect the robustness of the data collected. Officers acknowledged a lack of visibility. A comprehensive directory of opportunities would be created and made available to children, young people, families and partner agencies in the Borough which would provide young people with greater awareness and access to positive opportunities delivered by a range of organisations. Members noted paragraph 14 of the report, noting that the directory of opportunities could be sent to schools.


Members praised the ambition of the Youth Offer and asked how the success of the Youth Offer would be measured. Officers noted that there had been lots of published papers on similar proposals, and that early intervention was important. The Youth Offer would provide a universal offer for a range of preventative, early help services. Soft results could include increases in self-esteem. If the Youth Offer was approved by Cabinet, there would be scope for it to be further improved as needs and demographics changed.


Members noted that it was good to hear there were apps available to point to services, and that the summer youth programme was full. Officers noted that the summer programme was continuing.


Members referenced the table of current delivery spaces/ proposed delivery spaces and asked about the South Ruislip and Charville Young People’s Centres which were noted to have low footfall due to the locations not being accessible to young residents. Membersasked if this was due to accessibility or awareness. Officers noted that locations were being provided both for young people and for families as a whole.


Members also noted that no secondary schools were listed. Officers clarified that this was not an exhaustive list of locations, and there may be future opportunities for this.


Members noted that funding for youth services had been reduced nationally. Officers noted that there were vacancy gaps but there had been no change in base funding, though some investment was required internally, for example for the directory and second transporter bus. Officers further noted that a strong Youth Offer could lead to additional options for grant funding. Membersalso noted that there may be opportunities for external funding from third parties.


RESOLVED: That the Committee


1.    Noted the information presented within the report; and


2.    Delegated comments to inform the consultation to the Democratic Services Officer in conjunction with the Chairman (and in consultation with the Opposition Lead)


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