An Invitation to Young People
Being young with not much to do is never easy. Opportunities to get involved with others like you and make a positive difference are not always straight forward to find. Now in over 70 areas of the UK there is something to get your teeth into that will help to create great spaces for you and your mates to enjoy. You will end up getting some real credibility, because what you and your friends help to make is for everyone in your community. The project is called the Community Space Challenge and if you are 8 – 17 years old this might be right up your street.
Is there is a bit of waste ground near you that is shabby and run-down? But you can see that it could be made to be an excellent place to tidy up with plants, benches and shelters so that it is a good place to hang-out with your friends. You can help to transform a dump into a park, or a place to grow veg that you can sell to get yourselves some money to by play or sports equipment. You might like to have somewhere to run a creative arts graffiti project or just want a safe place that whoever is looking after you, knows that it is OK to be out with your mates!
Think this is impossible where you live? Well think again! So far The Community Space Challenge has worked with 6500 young people just like you and have transformed neighbourhoods all over the country. But you won’t be expected to do this on your own, because so far volunteer adults with lots of experience have given 66,000 hours (that is almost seven years worth) of their time to help make it all a reality. They know who to talk to about the land and where to get the things you need to make it a fun place to be. They will explain to the local residents what you are doing there and how it will improve the way where they live looks, making it a much better place to live. They will help you to make sure that the special place you create is a safe place to be.
So what else can the project do for you? Well you can make new friends of any age young and old. Over 1400 of the young people who have already been involved with the Community Space Challenge in their area have got awards and qualifications in recognition for what they have achieved. If over the next 2-3 years you are going to be thinking of getting a job to earn you some pennies these can be a real help. Lots of young people who have helped the Challenge have been given further training that will help them start on a good career and if you want the volunteers can help get you some more education so you can get an even better chance of a job. And because you have made the choice to get trained or improve your education you’ll get respect for doing it.
This is all what you can gain from getting on with joining the Challenge but the best part is that the great spaces that you help to create are for you to use and enjoy.
Want to know how the Community Space Challenge gets all its clout – Well there is money from the Big Lottery fund and youth led charity, Catch22, is right at the centre making sure that young people’s opinions are listened to and acted on. Two organisations called Keep Britain Tidy and the Princes Trust along with Changemakers (another great youth charity and empowerment group) are all getting together to make sure it all happens. To top it all the Youth Justice Board are there to make sure that your rights are looked after.
Just think, when you have helped to create your green space people will be looking at you calling you an eco-hero and a fantastic person to have around. You’ll be keeping out of trouble, having fun and learning what it is like to be a valued member of your community.
Contact the Community Space Challenge team:
6 Cardiff Road
Luton, LU1 1PP
Or check them out on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CommSpaceChallenge and Twitter: twitter.com/communityspaces
Catch22, the charity that helps young people out. Many young people in the UK find themselves in seemingly impossible ‘catch 22’ situations. They believe that every young person deserves the chance to get on in life no matter what. Please help them by getting involved or donating at www.catch-22.org.uk
Images: Top left lending a helping hand in Hackney: this photo was taken at the Fellows Court Community Centre in Hackney.
Body text image: Lasses get dug in in Luton: this photo was taken at a CSC gardening event at Stockwood Park in Luton.