Engaging Young People - Presentation
Engaging with Young People
A presentation was given by Luisa Knust who was volunteering at the Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre as part of her time with the European Solidarity Corps which has volunteers between the ages of 18 & 30 and aims to create a more inclusive society.
The average age in the UK is 40 but younger people are not included in the decision-making process and yet will live with the impact of the decisions made for longer. She suggested that young people are very concerned about these issues and recent demonstrations in the UK and in Germany showed the strength of feeling. There is a need to encourage more outdoor education and to empower children and young people to speak up for themselves.
The outdoor centre is an opportunity to allow young people to stop and look at what the National Park is about in the hope that it will inspire them to become involved in the preservation of the landscape, if they are not aware they cannot be engaged.
Luisa had looked at the best ways to engage with young people and found that some of the more popular forms of social media only engage with those already aware of the topic/content. Use of on-site information, posters, newspapers or sticker campaigns can be more effective when trying to reach young people.
Luisa asked the Forum to consider:
• How to support young people – especially to overcome barriers to accessing the countryside.
• How to make contact with young people with information about events.
The Forum thanked Luisa for her excellent presentation.
Sarah Wilks (Head of Engagement, PDNPA) introduced a presentation regarding the Generation Green project which had been running across all English National Parks with the PDNPA taking a leading role. The focus of the project had been on encouraging school visits, working with teachers and youth leaders to build their confidence in the outdoors, and encouraging others to look at how to engage young people and hear younger voices in decision making.
Some organisations have Junior Rangers or Junior members of decision-making bodies. Work was ongoing to bring more young people into the decision-making process. The funding for the Generation Green project had now ended. Other areas of work included responding to the section of the Glover Review which suggested a night under the stars and which was being coordinated by the Youth Hostels Association, Scouts and Girl Guiding working with outward bound organisations.
The LAF then discussed the issues around engaging with young people, and opportunities to hear the needs, hopes and concerns of younger people in its work. Challenges included the impact of the current cost of living crisis which had led to reduced funding for such initiatives, and which can make travel and taking time out of work difficult.
The PDNPA is planning to create a Youth Voice, but this was in its early stages. Charlotte Leech noted that the Authority and other LAF Members have several apprentices who could be engaged to bring a younger voice to meetings. The NPA would explore opportunities further. Gill Millward said that the Derby and Derbyshire LAF (DADLAF) had appointed student members in the past and was currently looking to fill this position again. The Peak District LAF agreed to explore these opportunities to engage younger voices in its work in future.