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Council and Community First uniting to support young people feeling isolated

Five of Wiltshire Council's area boards are working together with a local charity to support and improve engagement with young people, particularly those who might feel isolated due to living in a rural area.

Published 3 August 2021
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Five of Wiltshire Council's area boards are working together with a local charity to support and improve engagement with young people, particularly those who might feel isolated due to living in a rural area.

Community Engagement Managers, Councillors and younger residents identified a need in rural areas for more activities for young people such as regular clubs or one-off events.  Access to positive activities for young people can be a little more difficult in rural areas. This new project will involve research and consultation to identify the best solutions for young people during the initial phase.  A second phase will see projects set up with the help of community groups and partners to deliver positive activities for young people.

The area boards of Amesbury, Pewsey, Tidworth, Southern Wiltshire, and Warminster have each contributed £5,000 to the programme, which will see Community First engaging and working with young people.  The Area Boards have worked closely with colleagues at Wiltshire Council including Children in Care, Child and Youth Voice and the Employment and Skills team. The programme will further strengthen Wiltshire's resilient communities with support from Area Boards.

Community First, an award winning charity that has supported people and places across Wiltshire and Swindon for more than 50 years, submitted a successful bid to run the project. The programme, set to get underway in August, is initially for one year and, if successful, it is hoped it can continue beyond that, but this would require further funding.

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Area Boards, said: "We've all experienced tough times over the last 16 months or so, but the pandemic has had a particular impact on young people, and those who were maybe feeling isolated even before it struck will likely have only seen that negative situation worsen. Therefore, it's the perfect time for a programme like this to get underway to help provide opportunities to bring young people together with shared experiences that we hope can provide the foundation for more positive experiences and improved wellbeing for them.

"We're looking forward to working with Community First on this programme, and their expertise and experience will go a long way to helping it be a success."

Lynn Gibson, Chief Executive of Community First said: "We are really pleased to be working with the Council on this project which brings together our own Community Development and Youth Action Wiltshire teams alongside other partners to develop positive opportunities for young people at a very local level."

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Published 3 August 2021