Young People in Rural Areas
In 2014/15, the Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP) undertook research into young people living in rural Somerset, including their views on volunteering. In summary:-
- Young people understood the value of volunteering but also see practical barriers to volunteering that arise from living in the countryside - travel to the volunteering placement can be impossible / costly and limiting to choice.
- Young people had ideas on promoting volunteering opportunities to young people - and not just focused on social media.
For more detail, please see the Somerset Rural Youth Project page.
Somerset Children and Young People Survey (2014)
Children and young people behave positively out of school, and participate in their communities and in decision making. The Somerset Children and Young People Survey (SCYPS), carried out in early 2014, featured a question covering the subject of volunteering.
- When asked what they did after school the day before the survey, 5% of girls and 5% of boys of secondary age said they 'helped and volunteered outside the home'.
National TellUs surveys (2008 and 2009)
The former national TellUs surveys of schools provided some learnings about Somerset children making a positive contribution.
- Tellus 4 (2009): When asked ‘what would make your area a better place for you to live in?’, the top 3 answers were better parks and play areas, better shops, more activities that all children and young people can do. 70.6% of young people in Somerset reported participating in positive activities, in comparison to 68.1% regionally and 65.8% nationally.
- Tellus 3 (2008): Year 8 and 10 were asked whether they felt their views were heard effectively within their local area; the Somerset picture in general appeared unfavourable when compared with the national average with 63% stating not very much or not at all in comparison with 57% nationally. When considering whether young people’s views are listened to in the running of the school, Somerset’s response for a great deal and a fair amount combined is 63% compared to 59% nationally.
A PoP uP Consultation in 2010 also provided information about the attitudes of children towards activities outside school:-
Participation in the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Scheme
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities, designed to support the personal and social development of young people aged 14-24 years. It offers an individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time.
It has three progressive levels – Bronze (for those 14 and over), Silver (for those 15 and over) and Gold (for those aged 16 and over). Somerset County Council (SCC) hold the Operating Licence for the scheme within Somerset and support about 50 DofE centres throughout the county in schools, colleges and community groups.
In 2014/15, there were in Somerset:-
- 2,100 people starting a Duke of Edinburgh programme
- 947 completions – 129 for Gold, 158 for Silver, and 660 for Bronze
- at least 20,000 volunteer hours contributed by these DofE participants
- About 400 volunteers involved in operating the scheme
For more information about SCC's work or the volunteer roles, please contact the DofE office on email@example.com
Somerset UK Youth Parliament
The Somerset UK Youth Parliament is part of the national UK Youth Parliament. Somerset has three Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) representing the county at national level. Nationally, the UK Youth Parliament enables young people to use their energy and passion to change the world for the better. The 600 young people are elected representatives of their constituents and attend the Annual Sitting (held in July) to produce a national manifesto that is presented to the Government, informing them of the beliefs of young people across the country. The Government formally responds to this and often invites MYPs to key meetings on specific issues.
All the young people involved in the UK Youth Parliament are volunteers, who receive no payment for the many hours of work they put in.
Somerset is spilt into three constituencies (Mendip & Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Taunton Deane & West Somerset). The three MYPs each has a deputy and together they are supported by an Advisory Group of about 30 young people; the UK Youth Parliament. The MYPs each have a manifesto issue on which they campaign locally. This year’s manifestos focus on:
- Young people for a safer community
- Promoting and empowering young people’s voice
- Young people’s health and wellbeing
Somerset UKYP also acts as a representative voice for young people in Somerset, with members taking part in decision making (such as youth grant giving), consultations, interviews and much, much more. Click here to visit the website for more information.
In 2013/14, the UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group:
- Committed over 3,000 hours of voluntary work
- Allocated over £74,000 worth of funding for disadvantaged young people and local youth clubs
The Group is funded solely by Somerset County Council, but also works with other organisations to ensure that young people’s voices are heard. If you’d like to contact the group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Somerset County Council's Youth and Community Service, Somerset Youth!
- The Somerset based Volunteer Network (formerly known as the Somerset Youth Volunteering Network)