Nottingham Just Ask – run for young people by young people – closes

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With youth participation embedded at all levels of delivery, the service reached 1,521 young people through 84 different projects over four and a half years - among many other achievements.

01 September 2014

Just Ask, an information service for young people run by young people funded by The Big Lottery Fund from 2009-2014, has closed.

The Nottingham service enabled young people to provide advice to peers about the issues that affect them, and develop information campaigns in response to local and peer concerns.

‘I felt like I was part of the making of the project and my ideas were listened to.’

Young person

Catch22 developed the service with 14 to 25-year-olds to ensure youth participation was embedded at all levels, with 59 young people overall having experienced being a member of the youth management committee, which worked with Young Advisors to learn how to advise other services on becoming more accessible to young people.

From 2009-2013, 211 young people became ASDAN-certified peer mentors, with a 95% pass rate, and the website set up and run by a team of young people achieved 250,000 visits. 32 young people participated in the youth forum, representing different areas of Nottingham and surveying peers to highlight need and inform project design.

Service highlights include:

  • winning £50,000 funding from the NHS to deliver the Smoke Free campaign and peer mentoring
  • working with Nottingham Police to ensure young people’s views were heard, particularly around ‘stop and search’ – and in 2011 helping to make an awareness-raising film
  • winning a Philip Lawrence Award (Feb 2012) for oustanding achievements in good citizenship by young people and taking a group of young people to Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament
  • enabling 78 young people to achieve qualifications including action planning, youth participation, budget and event management
  • working with 10 partner organisations to embed youth involvement and improve service design
  • reaching 1,521 young people through 84 different projects, each one planned and led by young people.

97% of young people who evaluated their participation felt the service had increased their confidence, communication and presentation skills.

A Headteacher who worked with Just Ask on embedding peer mentoring into the school said:

‘The project has supported us with a range of activities but its greatest impact has been to develop the confidence and citizenship of our students.’

A young person who received advice from Just Ask peers said:

‘I was having so much trouble at home, which affected my school life. I didn’t tell anyone for ages but Just Ask really helped me out.

Many participants have now gone on to further education, employment and volunteering – with some working at the 2012 Olympics.

Catch22 continues to work in Nottingham, offering Study Programme, a vocational pathway for 16 to 18-year-olds, Route to Work employability training and part-time, alternative Key Stage 4 provision. Catch22 include has also just started working in the area.

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