Thirteen has launched a project that will give young people a chance to have their say on life in neighbourhoods in two areas of Middlesbrough.
The housing organisation is looking for young people in the Hemlington and Grove Hill areas to join the Boro Youth Action project to come up with ideas that could be used to help tackle problems they have faced during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The initial work – which is part of Thirteen’s commitment to investing in neighbourhoods and regeneration in the Tees Valley – was halted in March due to the virus restrictions. The organisation is now asking young people to get involved in virtual sessions as part of a joint research project with Teesside University.
Susan Borrow, employability support service manager at Thirteen, said: “Although we need to adapt some of our ways of working due to the lockdown, it’s vital that we all remain connected to keep working with our communities, so we’re proceeding with this project by asking people to join in with activities from home.
“We already have a number of young people from Hemlington and Grove Hill involved in the project and we’re hoping that if other people have a bit more time on their hands at the moment, they will get involved and benefit from the experience.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to tell Thirteen about any problems they have faced during the lockdown, and to come up with ideas to tackle these issues.”
Activities on offer include scrapbooking sessions using materials developed by Teesside University to produce a visual image of what it has been like for young people during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Other activities will include telephone interviews, and sessions around employability and their future plans.
As well as being given a voice, the young people involved will be offered support to help them into jobs, apprenticeships, training, and volunteering opportunities, and consider the achievements they can realise in the future.
The university will be sending scrapbooks and art materials to the young people with the first sessions due to start in the week commencing 8 June.
Dr Helen Moore, Research Fellow in Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law, said: “This project is funded through UK Research and Innovation which helps organisations to research a range of issues for the benefit of local communities.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to carry on with this project as it will help to give us some valuable information into the effects of the lockdown on young people in our area, and provide insights to tackle issues and help people in the event of similar occurrences in future.”
Participants will receive a £20 voucher for getting involved in the sessions and be in with the chance to win a year-long cinema pass.
The initiative is part of a number of UKRI projects across the Tees Valley with the aim of carrying out research to generate new ideas and help develop services that people need to make the area a better place to live.
The project is open to people aged 16 to 24 living in Hemlington or Grove Hill – anyone looking to get involved can email Thirteen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01642 947840.