Youth project scoops national award

A youth project in Liverpool which helps keep children and teenagers off the streets by engaging them in activities and play has won a national award.

Liverpool East Youth Consortium, spearheaded by housing association Riverside, won the Excellence in Youth Involvement category at the TPAS Awards, organised by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service.

The consortiumwhich covers Knotty Ash, West Derby and Yew Tree – was set up by Riverside in partnership with Liverpool City Council in response to local government budget cuts, which threatened existing youth services. The consortium is made up of four youth providers – Priority Youth, M & H Academy, Deysbrook Village Centre and SMARTYS (Mab Lane Youth Centre).

Since it was set up 15 months ago, the project has worked with nearly 3,000 young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have gone on to become mentors.

Councillor Barbara Murray said: “Like many local authorities, we have suffered severe budget cuts, putting many services under threat, including youth provision. To mitigate the impact of these cuts, we have pooled our expertise and resources, thereby maximising opportunities for young people.”

Sarah Hughes, Director of Priority Youth Project, added: “Instead of young people going to a centre, we go to the young people in their own environment, build up relationships then get them involved in activities from football tournaments and cookery classes to CV writing and interview techniques.”

Sophie Heneghan, community engagement officer for Riverside, added: “The project engages young people in positive activities which help them develop their potential and raise their aspirations whilst diverting them away from anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. By providing a positive outlet for their energy and role models they can look up to, we’ve seen many of the young people grow in confidence, make lasting friendships and take up new hobbies.”

For more information on Liverpool East Youth Consortium, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT0ApuL7Dew