This report highlights the need for proactive social action to ensure that children and young people have access to green space and the positive impact and change this will create for communities.
We need to do things differently as adults, get the maximum bang for our shrinking buck and pay much more cognisance of young people’s priorities and motivations. We’ve identified three keys to success:
- Digital disruption: with an increasingly threadbare fabric of local youth provision, there is a need and opportunity to support existing and new voluntary groups to adapt their approaches to secure the involvement of young people in a less ‘managed’ more networked way. Digital media provides huge potential in this respect. Rather than being seen as a driver of individualism, we should embrace the ability of young people to build networks and drive campaigns online which can deliver practical ‘offline’ benefits in terms of volunteering, consultation and rapid decision-making. The digital sphere also allows young people to make connections between local, national and even international campaigns.
- Focusing investment: helping young people plan and drive projects to improve parks, create new recreational facilities or take over the management of community assets or services can stimulate significant cross-cutting benefits which, in turn, can realise savings across a range of hard-pressed service budgets. The challenge lies in providing evidence of the potential benefits and changing the way services are commissioned.
- Making citizenship pay: we need to work hard to ensure that engaging in community projects or social action is attractive and rewarding for young people. Understanding the motivations of young people and designing models of engagement that help them realise their aspirations are central to unlocking talent and creativity.