26 June 2022

Youth workers listen to young people on Bemerton Heath to shape their plans for the future

The results from a detached youth survey carried out by youth workers at the charity Rise:61 have been revealed. The project aims to build relationships with young people on Bemerton Heath estate and provide a listening ear.

After receiving two grants from the Wiltshire Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund, youth work charity Rise:61 have been using some of the money to conduct a detached youth project on Bemerton Heath, Salisbury.

Ben Crouch joined the team as Lead Youth Worker in In April 2021 and part of his role was to run the detached work.

The project sees youth workers walk around Bemerton Heath estate finding young people and engaging with them in conversation, and helping them where possible. Ben and his volunteer Ayo, a trainee youth worker, carry a backpack filled with a torch, bike pump, football pump, first aid kit, card games and a multitool.

Ben Crouch

The main purpose of the work is to build relationships with young people on the estate and provide an encouraging presence and listening ear to any that want to engage. The detached work also makes them feel safer and more aware of groups and facilities that they can access.

Ben explains, “Rise:61 was founded on detached work and it’s been great to give us a regular presence on the streets again to meet young people where they’re at.”

Over the summer a big focus for Ben and the detached team was to survey the young people on the Heath. Rise:61 wanted to find out how they have been affected by the pandemic and what they felt about their community: what was good, what could make the Heath even better, and what did they wanted to see change in the future.

From May to July Ben and the team gathered over 100 young people’s answers to the questions.

Young people told the Rise:61 workers that what they most want is a Youth Café – a safe place where the young people can spend time, and where they are wanted. The second favourite thing the young people would like would be a gym they can access, without the barriers of cost or having to travel. The third highest desire was for more Youth Clubs. 81% of the young people surveyed also expressed a desire to engage with creative activities after school.

Off the back of the survey results, Rise:61 are passionate about trying to give young people these positive opportunities and activities. They are dreaming about creating a purpose-built Youth Hub on the estate, utilising their already successful Creative Hub and Active Hub activities to allow more opportunities for young people in the Heath to thrive.

Rise:61 has applied to Wiltshire Community Foundation again for some funding to carry out a feasibility study on whether they could create this Youth Hub out of shipping containers, in a central location on the estate. The charity will be using their ‘Young Leaders’ group in this next stage of the process by taking them on trips to other shipping container projects and listening carefully to their ideas to get an outcome genuinely shaped by the local young people.

A spokesperson for the charity added, “If you have skills in architecture, planning or building work and leases and would like to be part of an action group please do get in touch with Rise:61’s Creative Hub manager Becks Crouch at becks@rise61.org. Or if you’d like to find out more, or volunteer with the charity please do not hesitate to get in touch.”

Find out more about Rise:61 here.

Written by
Beth Doherty
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Written by Beth Doherty