We caught up with the young people who organised Nottingham's Feel Good Friday Community Festival to find out what it takes to put together a community festival as a group of young people from mixed backgrounds, joining forces with their local Groundwork Trust, Groundwork Greater Nottingham, as part of our recent #InclusiveSpaces campaign.
Gwk Y: How did you discover the work of Groundwork and Take one Community Recording Studio, and why did you want to join forces with them on your #InclusiveSpaces event?
Notts: We discovered a number of different organisations based in and around Nottinghamshire through research, such as Take One Community Recording Studio and Nottingham City Council. Through involving these organisations in our event planning, we were able to build a strong network for our Inclusive Spaces event.
We chose to join forces with a wide range of organisations because we wanted our event to be the best it could be. We realised that to do this we needed to get the local community involved in our event and get the word out! We were also keen to show these organisations what we can do and to build important relationships within the local community for the future.
Gwk Y: Why is it important for young people to find ways to engage with their local green spaces?
Notts: It is important for young people to engage with local green spaces as it allows them to get out in a safe and welcoming environment that helps those who struggle with mental health issues. Green spaces allow for people to meet up with different generations and bring people together.
Green spaces provide a way for locals to give back to their community; they are also a great stress reliever and engaging with them can help people to develop great skills to take on into later life. It’s important that young people have groups that they can get involved with, and that the green spaces are being used more often as it encourages others to get active and more involved in their local community, making green spaces more positive places to be.
Gwk Y: Why is it important for young people to try to work with groups like Take One or Nottingham Football and get more involved in their local communities?
Notts: These groups show a diverse community that can help young people and shows them a way to give back to their community.
They give them a chance to show what they can do such as running an event and helping to maintain green spaces by litter picking, learning new skills and bridging the generational gap. Joining forces also helps people to socialise with other people we may not usually socialise with.
Organisations like these bring people together and give them the opportunity to try new things and utilise the the new skills gained to help the community. The organisations we worked with understand the issues in the areas they work in and can help support local communities to overcome any barriers.
Gwk Y: How have you found the process of organising your event and how has this helped you to develop you leadership skills?
Notts: At first, the organising was rather hectic, because we were trying to find out what we wanted to do and who we wanted to do it. But once we got the place, date and time sorted, it was easy. Everyone worked hard together as a team and we pulled it off. We each did what we could and developed new skills along the way. It has helped massively towards our leadership skills, as we have all gained new skills and experience. We have been able to delegate tasks, look for suitable pictures and videos and work within a time restraint and a specific budget. We are winning as young people of Groundwork!
Gwk Y: In your opinion, what can community groups do to make young people feel more welcome to take part in them and help protect their local green spaces?
Notts: We think community groups could do more events in parks and fields to get the communities back into green spaces. Community groups can give people the opportunity to take part and let them see how their green spaces can be used to get the most out of the space. Asking people what they think, what they would like to see and explore together how local green spaces could fit their ideas would also help.
Advertising on social media, making posters, spreading the word via word of mouth and using free activities to help the local community understand what their green space can be used for is another way to open the doors. Community groups can also offer more opportunities to learn new skills and build relationships within the communities building on community cohesion and positive relationships.
Gwk Y: What was the impact of and reaction to your event, particularly for young people who came along?
Notts: The impact of our event to the young people who came along was that they learned about organisations in their communities and what they offer as well as volunteer opportunities available to them. They were able to interact with people from different age groups, religions and backgrounds too - it was a positive day with good vibes. The public learned more information about the themes of each day, and took part in workshops that looked at mental health, the environment and sports and exercise. Young people enjoyed taking part in new activities that they did not know before and they liked engaging with the local organisations within their local green space and want to come back again to enjoy the space more regularly. From the feedback we received, all age groups thoroughly enjoyed themselves, therefore we think it was a very productive exercise. It was a chance for us to help as young people ourselves on the programme to give back to the community we're part of and show what young people can do when given an opportunity.
Gwk Y: What do you plan to do next and what will you take forward from this campaign to your next project?
Notts: What we are planning to do in the future is try to put on a similar event to the previous one as we know what works well and what doesn't. We will plan months in advance next time, rather than weeks, to ensure that we are able to get everything sorted with more time. We would also like to keep the positive aspects of the day, also look at what could be improved for future events.
Guest blog post by the planning group for Feel Good Friday Festival.
This group consists of Young people aged 19-24, a mixed group of young people from all walks of life, balancing mental health issues, parenthood and everyday life struggles to be a part of a group that supports and uplifts one another, creating one amazing event after another.
Check out our young people and staff being interviewed by Notts TV about Feel Good Friday Festival - watch from 05.22 to 08.14: www.nottstv.com/programme/ey-up-notts-friday-27th-july