Updated on: 16/03/2017
Newman University has been awarded £1,000 from the Enterprise Rent A Car (ERAC) Foundation to support a street-based youth work project in Bartley Green.
The pilot programme – working title Reach Out Bartley Green – is part of the university’s new venture Newman Health & Wellbeing. Established to improve the quality of life for the residents of Bartley Green and further afield, Newman Health & Wellbeing is already offering counselling and psychotherapy services to local people from facilities on the edge of the Newman campus.
The ERAC Foundation grant will be used to part-fund outreach work with young people aged 11 to 19 in the local area.
Pete Harris, Senior Lecturer at Newman University, said: "We’re aware that youth work provision for young people in Bartley Green is decreasing rapidly.
"Issues have come to a head recently with a Dispersal Order being placed on groups of three or more young people in Senneleys Park, following a spate of violent crimes and antisocial behaviour.
"Street-based youth work specifically targets those who do not have access to existing provision and is well placed to engage with young people at risk of offending.
"During our research, young people in the area told us they were often bored and felt unwelcome in large groups in public spaces, such as parks and shopping areas.
"We hope the programme will allow us to challenge and defuse the current situation, enabling young people to explore their aspirations constructively and creating opportunities for respectful, cross-generational dialogue that will improve community relations, rather than entrenching stereotypes."
The pilot programme will run for 12 months, focusing activity around Senneleys Park, Curdale Street shops, Roundlea Road shops and Woodgate Valley Country Park.
Undergraduate youth workers – supervised by a project leader and Newman academic staff – will work with young people twice a week, engaging and challenging them to think about their roles in society and how they can provide a voice for other young people in the local community. The university will also open its facilities to young people on the programme, helping them realise their full potential.
The project will work alongside the local voluntary and community sector, assisting the development of other youth provision, and incorporate the gathering of data and information which will be analysed by researchers within the university’s Youth and Community Studies department.
For further information, visit www.newmanhealthwellbeing.org