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Gloucestershire Business News

Cotswold Young People scoops £290,000 Lottery investment

Young people in the Cotswolds are set to benefit from a range of new opportunities and activities over the next three years thanks to a National Lottery application submitted by a partnership of youth organisations working in the Cotswolds.

The application led by youth & community organisation World Jungle and including key partners Community Mentoring & Support Service (CMASS), inclusion charity Active Impact, Tetbury Area Youth & Community Trust and Black Cat Community Café, will give young people new opportunities for development, support and recreation.

The project called 'Cotswold Youth' will include mentoring support for young people at risk of exclusion in schools, support to youth clubs, summer activities aimed at those making the transition from primary to secondary, leadership and work experiences as well as training and support for organisations and individuals who support young people.

Ben Ward, World Jungle director, said: "We are absolutely delighted by the news. Young people in the Cotswold miss out on a whole range of experiences and opportunities due to the rural nature of the district that other young people in the county take for granted. Also with the impact of lockdown, school closures and loss of other key services, young people are finding life harder than ever and we must mobilise youth services as soon as we can safely do so.

"We really hope that we can work alongside young people to identify activities and support they feel they need; be it training, more things to do, work experience and much more. We'd love to get young people involved in deciding how we design the programme and in promoting opportunities to those around the district and would love to hear from young people keen to be involved from the start."

The project, also supported by Cotswold District Council and the Cotswold Youth Network, has been over ten months in development.

Cllr Tony Dale, Cabinet Member for Skills and Young People at Cotswold District Council, said: "This is the most exciting development we have seen for young people in the Cotswolds since the new leadership was elected to Council in 2019. It successfully brings together youth organisations, Local Activity Partnerships, council providers, businesses and schools to benefit the young people who most need to develop these skills.

"World Jungle has taken a huge leap in winning this bid to provide our communities across the Cotswolds with mentoring, teaching, experience, learning and activity practice to promote a whole generation of new leaders from amongst our Young People. Well done Ben and Jane! A mega thank you to all our local volunteers and council officers who have helped to make this happen."

The Cotswold Youth Network is made up of voluntary and community organisations, district, town and parish councils, sports clubs, arts provider, play organisations and housing associations all committed to improving the lives of young people and this group will be key to ensure the widest number of young people benefit and hear about the opportunities.

The difference it is hoped the project will make:

  • Over 700 young people, each year will take part in a meaningful and participatory process exploring their experiences of growing up in the Cotswolds. This will be shared with over 50 key stakeholders throughout the year and through an annual Youth Voice event bringing young people, youth organisations and decision-makers together to respond directly to their concerns and issues.
  • Over 600 young people, each year will take part in high-quality inclusive youth sessions. Young people will benefit from weekly youth sessions, unique & special youth holiday experiences and support to see their ideas through.
  • 40 organisations and individuals will be more resilient, more strategic and better placed to support young people as a result of direct training on issues such as fundraising, committee development, consulting with young people and inclusion by the end of the project.
  • 30 young people will be supported to develop leadership skills in an area of their choice across the life of the project.
  • 20 youth organisations are more inclusive and have received the Inclusion Award each year.
  • 10 youth-led projects will be supported to take their ideas forward each year through a budget held by the partnership.
  • 10 communities will be strengthened by having regular inclusive youth opportunities which meet the needs of all young people by the end of the project.
  • The Cotswold Youth Network will be a youth-led, strategic, influential and well-resourced partnership with a strong focus for the delivery of exceptional youth services in a challenging rural environment.

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