The Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project (SNYP) was first established in the summer of 2017 and consists of five members who meet every Wednesday.
The purpose of the youth council is to make sure that the young children from SNYP and the Southwick area have a voice and to encourage others in the community to make a difference where possible.
The group identified that Bristol was named the Green European Capital in 2015 and therefore wanted to explore how they involved young people in work to encourage eco-friendly living. SNYP had discussed doing an environmental project and having recognised the title given to Bristol, the youth council have now booked a trip to visit in the May half term holiday to see what ideas they could bring back to improve Southwick. They also hope to learn about eco-friendly living so they can bring it back to SNYP and share with their peers, other young people and also to the community within Sunderland.
The children, aged between 12 and 17, have been in contact with the Bristol Youth Council and have arranged to meet with the group. They have together planned a programme of activities including visiting gardens and farms and looking at the young people’s services and their environmental impact.
In June 2017, funding was secured for the youth council and therefore they were able to formally establish a group. The summer holidays were used to bring the group together to plan what they’d like to do and focus on teambuilding. The group were also involved in a project called ‘Putting Southwick on the Map’ where they came up with their own story about SNYP – available to read at www.southwickmap.com.
Ruth Oxley, Manager of SNYP said: “We are looking forward to going to Bristol. Taking the young people into a new city will be an experience they will never forget and hopefully they’ll pick things up that they can apply to their lives and implement within SNYP.”
In February of this year the youth council met with representatives from Sunderland City Council, where Southwick was awarded £4,000 for Easter and May school holidays to help alleviate holiday hunger and provide activities that have a positive effect on young people’s mental health and well-being.
The youth council have been involved in a number of activities designed to promote the positive contributions young people make in Sunderland.