Youth Consultation on ‘Understanding & Tackling Child Poverty on Peabody estates’ Report
Published by the University of York (Pleace: 2012)
Throughout the ‘Our Say Our Way’ project Peabody has witnessed an increased dialogue between our young people and our organisations. It has been a great opportunity for our young people to easily discuss issues with us regarding their estates and how Peabody can implement services to encourage cohesion amongst our communities. The objective of creating youth steering groups is to continually involve our young residents in influencing and shaping Peabody’s policies and strategy; ensuring their voices are heard.
A few weeks ago six Peabody residents came to our head office in Waterloo to give their feedback and opinions on the recently published report about child poverty on Peabody estates. The report proposes recommendations that could help reduce child poverty on Peabody estates gathered together from interviews with experts, frontline workers and parents. However, noticeably absent from the report are the views of young people who live on Peabody estates. We were keen to find out what exactly our young residents thought in response to the child poverty report and its’ findings.
We held the conference in one of our boardrooms and used our new voting software ‘Turning Point’ to gather data from the young people. Each person was given their own individual handset and asked to vote on certain aspects of the report (just like ‘ask the audience’ on who wants to be a millionaire) saying whether they agreed, disagreed or felt indifferently. The report makes recommendations such as increasing police presence on streets, increasing discipline in schools and increasing access to affordable childcare could all contribute towards reduce child poverty on our estates.
The consultation involved lots of discussion about issues surrounding poverty in the UK. We discussed engaging young people through education, in their communities, as well as crime, personal safety. Also the young people highlighted how Peabody could work closely with young people to set up social enterprises and small businesses on their estates by using small unused spaces on Peabody estates. By the end of the consultation we had created a list of solutions that Peabody could implement to help towards reducing child poverty.
The open forum structure of the discussion, coupled with the interactive elements of the turning point software created an inspiring atmosphere which stimulated debate around a subject which is emotive, taboo and also largely unaddressed outside of academic circles. Those who attended also had the opportunity to see the inner workings of the community development department of Peabody from which the report was developed.
The young residents were asked if they would attend another youth consultation at Head Office and they all positively expressed attending more youth consultations in the future. Peabody now plans to use this consultation as a new template to regularly and effectively involve young people and residents in discussions relating to identifying issues and implementing services on specific Peabody estates.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the young people who gave up their time to attend the consultation, and contributed so impressively. The whole experience has been incredibly valuable for all those involved and has enforced our belief that young people should be continually and effortlessly interacting with their housing provider and their opinions should inform Peabody’s future research, policies and strategic planning.
Pleace, N. Rhodes, D & Quilgars, D. 2012. Understanding and tackling child poverty on Peabody Estates. University of York, UK.