Breaking Down Barriers
Local Works Ltd is an alternative education provider and a not for profit company/social enterprise. It uses the medium of sport & physical activity to engage with and support the most vulnerable young people in the Marfleet area of the City of Hull. The Marfleet Ward is in the top 10% of the most deprived wards in England. It has high levels of youth unemployment a low skills base and the second highest level of NEET's in Hull. In addition child poverty is higher than the national average.
The company provides daytime provision for 11-16 year olds and evening provision for 11-25 year olds. The company works closely with the probation service, social services, schools and the health service to create a supportive environment for all participants. In particular, the programmes on offer address the two key elements of Well Being –Feeling Good and Functioning well. Through one to one support and regular progress reviews beneficiaries are encouraged to address and overcome their substantial personal problems and gain confidence and self-esteem. The approach is innovative and effective as evidence produced so far indicates.
The breaking down barriers project is a Satellite Club funded project aimed at encouraging young people to embark on a programme of activities to address their specific problems of social isolation, dysfunctional behaviour and disengagement from society. The satellite club offers predominantly football however the facility also has access to a fitness suite that was also used to engage the young people, with sessions running on an evening once a week over a period of 10 months. The young people who attend the sessions were drawn from a deprived area with all of its associated problems. As well as the physical activity the young people were also offered 1:1 support through peer mentors to gain qualifications.
A report was commissioned to understand the attitudes and aspiration of the young people involved and in particular to understand why they attend the sessions on a regular basis. The analysis represents a survey of approximately 35% of the participants.
All of the young people reported that they were attracted to the satellite club as they considered the environment in which the activity was carried out as less formal. 60% believed that they behaved differently at the sessions, explaining that they enjoyed the activities at the sessions compared to the formality of a school environment. Local Works also reported that the group seemed to thrive in a more informal environment. All participants enjoyed being able to take part in different sports and developing their skills was important to them, they also enjoyed the encouragement they received from the trained staff who supervise the sessions.
Alongside the Satellite Club Local Works have completed an Operation Plan for the Department of Communities and Local Government which examined the effectiveness of their programmes. The report contained a lengthy Cost Benefit Analysis with the assistance of New Economy and the Health Service in Leeds which demonstrated that the programme was cost effective, helps to reduce anti-social behaviour, improved health and wellbeing and made a significant difference to the people involved.
Due to the success of the satellite club in reducing antisocial behaviour and providing young people with confidence and skills to improve themselves the Police Crime Commissioner has funded another evening session to allow Local Works to support more young people in the Marfleet area. In addition, Local Works are also seeking funding to develop weekend sessions for the young people in the local area.