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Young people with a disability accessing our Youth Zones has increased by a staggering 300% since our A Level Playing Field project began, latest figures reveal.
The total number of young people with an additional need or disability accessing our six current Youth Zones in Bolton, Carlisle, Manchester, Wigan, Blackburn and Oldham has increased from 587 at the start of the project to 2,023 young people.
This is a quality indicator that demonstrates our commitment to ensure that #everyyoungpersoncan and provides evidence that our services truly offer a quality experience of providing ‘Something to do, Somewhere to go and Someone to talk to’ for all young people.
The ‘A Level Playing Field’ Project has brought together learning from the OnSide Network in developing inclusive environments and our understanding and approach to best practices. Having a shared value and an aim to work towards bringing people together to discuss, share, debate and learn from each other has proved very beneficial and encouraging for inclusion teams to drive up standards and aim to do more to include young people.
Some key learning also came from training delivered by The Seashell Trust, National Autistic Society, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, National Deaf Children’s Society, English Federation of Disability Sport and individual training consultants. This has enabled OnSide to consider some expert viewpoints on disability and inclusion and has challenged the network to review and adapt and assess ‘why, how and what’ the Youth Zones do to engage communities, families and young people.
Project Co-ordinator Stephen Pearson commented on the success of the project:
“We have seen more young people, more regularly, access Youth Zones to take up the offer which impacts on the young person’s confidence and aspirations. Inclusion is more than a word or a carefully placed statement to describe what we are all about. It is an intrinsic value that we work hard towards ensuring every staff and volunteer member own, as part of their delivery and approach in engaging young people with a disability.”
Our Youth Zones are open 7 days a week to young people 52 weeks a year and is open double at weekends and school holidays. They are inclusive right across the week and inclusion teams work on an individual basis with every child in person centred ways to support their inclusion and remove any barriers to their participation.
If you want to find out more about the A Level Playing Field project, please visit http://www.onsideyouthzones.org/a-level-playing-field/ or contact Stephen Pearson on: Stephen.Pearson@OnSideYouthZones.org