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West Northants one of beacon sites for a national programme to build a model of co-designed youth services

10 January 2024

A group of young people talking to each other

West Northants one of three areas in England selected as a partner for the National Youth Agency (NYA)‘s Routes to Community Success programme. The programme, made possible with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), aims to pilot a collaborative and youth-led approach to designing youth work services over the next two years.

Cornwall, Norfolk and West Northamptonshire are the three test-bed areas, along with a strand focussing on digital youth work, which is being overseen by the NYA.

The NYA has been awarded funding of £495,155 from the NLCF to deliver Routes to Community Success with the aim of gathering evidence to inform a model approach for boosting the capacity of the youth sector, through the co-design of services with young people and building the skills, capacity and resilience of grassroots providers.

We are delighted to oversee this initiative which will help build the evidence-base for creating a more cohesive youth offer, to ensure it responds to need, is high quality and more sustainable. The programme complements the work of the Young People’s Foundation Trust which is also providing support through its Local Partnerships Fund to build more effective collaboration across youth organisations.Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive, National Youth Agency

Through the project at least eight local organisations in West Northants will put in place organisational development plans, leading to training and capacity building opportunities, identified in partnership with the local young people who will benefit from their services.

Each area has been awarded seed funding from the Routes to Community Success programme to help leverage match funding to embark on their youth work development activities.

15 local Youth Ambassadors will be recruited who will engage with young people across the area, to ensure that their needs and aspirations, relating to their local youth work offer, inform the development plans.

Youth Ambassadors will benefit from in-person training, mentoring and peer support drawing upon the expertise, tools and development frameworks of the NYA, to develop their knowledge of community engagement, youth voice and effective youth participation. The lottery funding is also enabling an independent evaluation of the programme.

Local practitioners and volunteers will benefit from training to build their skills in areas such as youth participation, in line with feedback from young people to improve the quality of their youth work services.

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