The words young people and festival usually conjure up images of youths wearing wellies in large open fields with music, tents and food vans. Well this virtual festival was not exactly that but we did have fun. We celebrated the achievements of young people, youth workers and groups who have taken part in the Young Placechangers and shared the learning and toolkits from the programme.

Why involve young people?

It’s a tricky business getting people engaged in decisions about their local places - particularly young people. We have become used to system that makes it difficult to engage, notices attached to lampposts and daunting council websites where it is not obvious how to start. Our work on community placemaking identified young people were all too often the missing voices in greenspace, place and public realm consultation – and that was the beginning of Young Placechangers.

To demonstrate how and why we should be engaging with young people the Festival brought together a wide range of views and approaches. Alongside the Young Placechanger projects we also heard from a charity championing including girls in place planning Make Space for Girls and a national park project in Scotland that used Minecraft as a way to engage the Cairngorms Youth Action Team in sustainable community planning. 

How to involve young people

The Young Placechangers approach combines greenspace scotland’s experience of working with community groups on placemaking with Youth Scotland’s experience of youth work and supporting young people to take the lead. To encourage more youth workers and youth groups to give young people a voice in improving their local places we have created a suite of short films, toolkits and resources. Rather than explain in words this short film gives a quick overview of Young Placechangers.

The Young Placechangers Toolkit helps you to inspire young people to take the lead in their local community, to voice their opinions and help make positive change happen in a fun interactive way.

This Must Be Our Place is a resource created in partnership with the Rumpus Room it’s designed to support young people to take ownership of places through creative investigations, interventions and actions.

You can hear directly from Lambhill Stables in Glasgow, Connect Berwickshire and Alyth Youth Partnership on how they involved local young people in their projects and the benefits this brought.

All this helps give young people an insight into local governance such as planning and the decision making process. It gives young people an opportunity to have their voices heard at a local level and importantly helps shift the mindset from young people being the issue to young people being at the heart of the solution. 

Next steps

With Local Place Plans included as part of wider planning reforms it is important that young people’s views are not missed. We hope these tools will help local authorities, national agencies, third sector and community organisations to include young people in discussions and decisions about place. You may not be quite sure where to begin but these just might give you a welly booted foot in the door.

If you are interested in getting involved contact Angela Houghton, Young Placechangers Development Officer.

Email Angela

The Young Placechangers Programme is a partnership programme between greenspace scotland and Youth Scotland. It is funded by Scottish Government, The Gannochy Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.