Local young people are getting set to take part in a programme to empower them to make a difference through social integration and social action projects.
Blackburn Youth Zone and its local partners is relaunching its Youth Ambassador programme for local 12-16 year olds.
Blackburn with Darwen is made up of people from a whole range of different backgrounds, and this project will bring variety, culture and character to the Borough through the voice of young people.
The Youth Ambassadors project has been funded through Blackburn with Darwen’s Our Community, Our Future social integration programme. It aims to provide young people with the opportunity to become more involved in their community through social action and team building, and working with other people their age from different parts of the borough.
The Youth Ambassadors project is in its second year and is being delivered by a broad range of partners from across the borough bringing together a range of skills, knowledge and expertise.
The partners are; Blackburn Youth Zone, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, BwD Young People’s Services, Healthy Living, IMO, One Voice Blackburn and Youth Action.
The programme will bring young people representative of the Borough’s population together and equip them with the information, inspiration, practical advice and guidance they need to tackle challenges they see around them.
They will showcase their talent, leadership, and resilience, and alert others to their abilities and ideas to make a difference through social action.
Zaffer Khan Interim CEO at Blackburn Youth Zone, said. “We are thrilled to be leading a very strong youth partnership in delivering a key social integration project in the Borough.
“We hope to continue the success of the first year of Youth Ambassadors by developing a programme of projects which instil community values among young people. Blackburn with Darwen is a diverse and successful community and Youth Ambassadors augments that proposition.”
During year one 235 young people benefited from the project. Gaining the confidence and credibility to take action to improve social integration of their communities through social action.
Tyler, 11, is a former Youth Ambassador. He said: “Through doing the Youth Ambassador Project I gained the confidence to believe that I could make a difference in my community.
“I bought myself a litter picker and set off around the streets, all together we have collected 44 bags of rubbish. When I finish doing my local area I want to go into different areas and make a difference there.”
This year, young people will be involved in a variety of activities delivered by a range of experienced local partners, from outdoor pursuits to exploring our local culture. Young people will have the opportunity to work within their local community making a real difference.
Previously the programme was run over a 10-week period however, this year the programme will be delivered over four weeks. Taking into consideration safety, the decision has also been made to reduce the group size from 30 to 10 young people, this will ensure the project is COVID safe.
The project last year was delivered at two central locations however, this year will be delivered at various locations throughout the town. This will provide more accessibility opportunities for young people who access the programme, alongside making a direct difference to the community they live in.
Rebecca Ramsay, Blackburn with Darwen’s Interim Head of Prevention & Neighbourhoods, added: “We’re really proud of what the Youth Ambassadors project achieved in its first year, involving over 230 young people in this innovative approach to social integration.
“Many of the young people who took part gained the confidence and skills to take a lead in projects to make things better in their local areas.
“Now, as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, this project has a vital role to play in inspiring our young people to work together and to help make our borough stronger.
“I’m excited to see what our partners in this project can achieve this year!”
The Youth Ambassador project will run six times throughout the year. For more information on the Youth Ambassador Project email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01254 292000.