Young at heart of developing youth services in Norfolk

Benjamin Foundation senior development worker Anastasia Twigg. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

Benjamin Foundation senior development worker Anastasia Twigg. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

Young people are set to be given a leading role in developing youth services throughout Norfolk.

Teenagers will be tasked with shaping non-formal education and recreation opportunities offering them a greater opportunity to influence their future lives.

The county's seven Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) are set to be at the forefront of the changes proposed by Norfolk County Council.

The boards, which play an important role in commissioning and finacing services, will be re-focused as young people led partnerships.

Funding levels are pledged to be maintained following a review carried out by the local authority.

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Young commissioners already play an important role on the seven YABs in partnership with adult board members.

Children's Services Committee chairman Roger Smith lead the Task and Finish Group set up to look into the issue.

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'This is a really positive outcome for the Youth Advisory Board,' said Mr Smith.

'The findings from the Task and Finish Group clearly showed the benefits of young people chairing their own boards whilst having a budget to shape their local services.

'Norfolk County Council and relevant local agencies and organisations will act in an advisory capacity to ensure YABs are given guidance when needed. Facilitating this type of decision-making allows young people to have a genuine influence on their future lives.'

The North Norfolk YAB is managed by The Benjamin Foundation charity.

In the past year the board has commissioned projects to help young people deal with bullying, provided mental health support in partnership with YMCA Norfolk, promoted anti-bullying and domestic abuse projects and launched an initiative assisting young people to stay safe online.

Benjamin Foundation senior development worker Anastasia Twigg said: 'There will be a restructuring in how funding is spent, with a potential loss of resources for directly commissioned services.'

She added: 'The council wants to support the development of young commissioners and increase the participation of young people. It is going to be more about allowing them to decide how they want money spent and developing their leadership skills.'

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