Beyond4Walls - community peer research with young people
Beyond4Walls (B4W) won the 2016 UK Housing Excellence Award (HEA) for youth engagement. Throughout 2014/15 the Beyond4Walls (B4W) youth peer research project - run in partnership between Children in Scotland and the Poverty Alliance, commissioned by Wheatley Group - involved a group of young people aged 14-21 from across Glasgow coming together to discuss and explore housing, economic and community issues in Scotland.
The young people were trained and supported in carrying out research with other young people in their communities. We adopted this approach to enable Wheatley Group – Scotland’s largest housing, care and regeneration group - to understand the communities it works in and gain a more informed perspective on how it meets the needs of the young people who live in its properties more effectively; both as tenants and as part of a household.
Our Beyond4Walls team (aged 14 – 21) did a fantastic job and we are very grateful to them for all their time, energy and enthusiasm!
Their research revealed that young people want access to good quality homes and to feel safe in their communities. It was launched on 11 November 2015 at an event in Glasgow attended by Mhairi Black MP, Britain’s youngest Member of Parliament. She said “It’s great to see young people getting involved and making their voices heard. The Beyond4Walls project is proof that young people want to be involved in their communities. Having access to accommodation which is affordable and suitable is central to meeting young people’s needs. I hope this report gives housing associations the guidance they need to start working more closely with young people to provide the support they require.”
The report showed the majority of young people believe they need additional support when moving into their first home. This included easy-to-understand forms to apply for housing. They would also like support to develop their life skills such as banking, budgeting, cooking and cleaning.
A need for good quality housing was also regarded as essential, with many of the young people believing that housing must be affordably heated, have space for them to study, have wifi and be a place they feel safe. Young people also identified the importance of having a voice in their own community and good transport links.
A number of the group expressed concern about the wider labour market, lack of opportunities and concerns about their long-term economic security.
The team made many recommendations for improving the way that young people access, sustain and enjoy their homes and feel safe and valued within their communities.
The research will be presented at the Children and Young People in a Changing World: Action, Agency & Participation Conference held at Liverpool Hope University & at the Making Space Conference in November.
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You can follow us on Twitter @Beyond4W
For further information about the project contact Jeni Bainbridge on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 313 8834