Background information

Feedback from young people

Youth Centre events

Three events took place at three youth centres (both DCC and VCS Youth Centres) in different parts of the county, with around 50 young people at each event. Young people were given a range of questions to discuss in groups and key points were then marked by the young people.

The key points most frequently made included :

  • Youth centres should be open more often and for longer – starting earlier, staying open later and at weekends and in holidays – 55 responses.
  • Youth workers staying in one place for longer (Buckfastleigh area only) 47 responses.
  • Disco lights (Buckfastleigh area only) – 36 responses.
  • Access for all to county transport for use with young people – working in partnership and other resources (Barnstaple only) 35 responses
  • Help with CVs/jobs, youth employment opportunities, careers support, work experience, business links for apprenticeships – 35 responses
  • Young people representing youth centres and meeting up with other youth centres – 35 responses.
  • Funding – 33 responses.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, as the events took place in youth centres, many of the comments related to youth centre activities.  No differentiation appeared to be made between Devon Youth Service centres and voluntary sector (VCS) provision.

The activities that young people were currently involved in were wide-ranging and extensive. These were categorised into education, advice, socialising, youth club specific, music, community, technology, activities, sports, trips and miscellaneous.

  • Education/work/qualifications
    More vocational qualifications were requested along with need for more jobs to be available and employability skills courses.
  • Advice
    Only one request for more advice was mentioned
  • Youth club specific
    More activities, more facilities, free food and drink, opening up of the centres to more people with longer opening hours
  • Music
    Some interest in music was shown and suggestions that Battle of the Bands or more music education/music creation would be good.
  • Community
    Fundraising appears to take place in some areas already.  More community events were suggested. Included in this was a request for better recreational facilities including shelters and improved park facilities.
  • Technology
    No additional requests were made but a range of technology was stated as already being used such as facebook, twitter etc
  • Activities
    A wide range of activities were included under the heading of what is already happening.  Many other activities (some the same) were requested – these ranged from bingo to learning a language.
  • Sports
    A wide range of sports activities was already happening.  Other activities requested included deep sea diving, girls rugby and motor sports
  • Trips
    More trips were requested – ranging from overseas expeditions to more outdoor activities including rock climbing and trips to Crealy/Alton Towers.


Targeted focus groups

Although few focus groups took place with a facilitator many different areas completed the questionnaires with their clients.  Questionnaires were received from the Youth Offending Service (YOS), Y-Smart, Devon Personalised Learning Services, Housing Associations and Trax. It was apparent that few of these young people attended organised activities unless they took place on premises where they lived.

Much more information surrounded services that were used by the young people, and key feedback themes were:

  • It was clear that these young people were involved in a range of services within the County including housing, YSmart and the YOT.  The vast majority stated that these services were useful and that they felt that they benefited from contact with them. Many would recommend these services to friends or relatives if they had problems. One commented that you got more help if you were in the criminal justice system.
  • Some commented that some services wouldn’t help people with substance misuse issues.
  • The only instance when youth centres were mentioned was when one young person stated that she was banned from using it
  • 26% of those who responded to the question in this group are or have been in care.
  • Of those who responded to the question 82% had had contact with YOT.
  • Additional services that they felt were needed included:
    • Support on the streets, places in the community where young people can get support/advice as in drop in around health/sexual health.
    • New skate park/refurbished skate park (as promised)
    • Better anger management services
    • More counselling/mental health support – CAMHS not enough (or not helpful)
    • More after school activities for older young people
    • More jobs advice
    • More jobs
    • Speech and language therapy
    • More schools for kids with special needs
    • Activities that are affordable
    • In one area appears that have a lot of facilities have closed down for young people (Bideford)
    • More 1 to 1 support

Schools questionnaire

Responses were received from two schools.  The questionnaire asked 6 open ended questions. Amalgamated responses scoring over 20 from all responses were as follows:

In relation to what they currently do:

  • Young people use technology for a range of activities in their free time.  This technology included PS3, facebook, twitter, Xbox etc.  (94 responses)
  • Young people spend time with their friends (73 responses)
  • Many of the young people stated that they play sport (65 responses)
  • Many also watched TV (34) and went to town (22)

In relation to what they would like to do:

  • 50 would like to spend more time with friends
  • 36 would like to do more sport or use sports areas

When asked what services, facilities and activities they use:

  • 34 stated that they use sports areas
  • 20 stated that they use swimming pools
  • 70 stated that they didn’t use any facilities, services or activities

When asked why they use the current facilities:

  • 47 stated that they used them for fun and enjoyment
  • 23 used them for sporting activities

When asked what you would like young people services/activities to do you for you:

  • 52 responded that they didn’t know or there was nothing wanted
  • 23 stated that they would like more fun activities (some stated specifically in the evenings or weekends)
  • 15 stated that they would like a specific young people’s gym

When asked what should be done differently to meet needs:

  • 59 responded that they didn’t know or there was nothing wanted.