HYPE Merseyside work with young people aged 9-24 years across Wirral. Their team of staff and volunteers deliver a range of sessions to young people on a daily basis to support them with health employment and education. They work with organisations from the voluntary, public and private sector to deliver a range of different projects that engage many hard to reach and vulnerable groups in various communities across Wirral.
HYPE's project Park was funded by #iwill and was match funded by One Ark Housing Association, in order to engage local young people aged 15-24 years throughout the summer holidays and continue to support them to make a positive impact within their communities. The project addressed the youth apathy and unemployment in Wirral, and provided exciting voluntary opportunities working alongside an established youth provider, such as redeveloping and preserving urban parks. This encouraged young people to understand the value of social action and voluntary work.
The Park Project was based on the 6 principles of quality youth social action:
Project Park was focused on the establishment, maintenance and growth of community gardens and parks across the Wirral and Liverpool. Following on from 18 months successful management of the 'Park Inner Park' section of Birkenhead Park, HYPE expanded its provision and supported the set-up and delivery of an educational gardening group, with a focus on growing their own healthy and sustainable produce. By linking this objective with HYPE’s young person’s volunteer development programme, HYPE enhanced community spaces whilst developing community leaders.
The young people we involved had access to HYPE’s 6-month volunteer development programme, and the mentorship of existing HYPE staff. Young people learnt the value of social action, volunteer work, community initiatives and dedication. In order to deliver the project, HYPE recruited local people to fill 3 positions, including a full-time apprentice. Overall, HYPE engaged with 221 young people across the Liverpool City Region, each supporting regular events and activities within local parks and green spaces.
Upon completion of Project Park, a sample of 41 young people completed an impact questionnaire with results as follows:
• 83% of young people volunteered for 20 hours or more
• 93% seen an increase in confidence
• 70% had improvements in their physical fitness
• 59% seen an improvement in their overall health
• 88% learnt new skills
• 24% improved their digital and IT skills
• 76% felt more socially included and felt more pride in their local area
Upon completing the project, the following progression routes were captured:
• 61% progressed into further education or good quality training
• 27% progressed into employment, including paid apprenticeships
LIAM, aged 19, Birkenhead
Liam has been involved in the project as volunteer and has supported the transformation of part of the Birkenhead Park in, he said, “a beautiful piece of land has been created by young people for further projects for young people, I’ve also got an apprenticeship with HYPE through the project”. Liam has also been involved in the organisation of events with schools and his passion and hard work had an immense impact on both other young people and the park and for this reason Liam is today a full member of the HYPE staff.
CHLOE, aged 20, Woodchurch
A video of the experiences of the young people involved has been created and is available here.