OPEN: Delivering positive activities for young people on Friday and Saturday nights
Increasing positive activities for young people on Friday and Saturday nights is a key Government priority.
However, in spite of unprecedented investment in youth facilities and positive activities (more than £900m in the current spending round), nearly one third of young people still do not currently engage in any form of structured activities and negative public perceptions of young people hanging around remain high. To improve this position, the Government wants to ensure that opportunities are available and accessible to young people at times when they want them.
Having consulted young people and communities, we know that the times they most want and need positive activities are Friday and Saturday evenings – the times when they are least likely to be available at present. Providing positive activities at these times can prevent young people getting involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. 66% of young people told the Time to Talk consultation that more activities would do most to keep them out of trouble, and 58% of adult respondents to the Casey review reported that Friday nights were the most important time for teenagers to be provided with activities.
The resulting cross-Government Open drive seeks both to influence local areas and providers to deliver activities when young people and the community want them, and to promote them consistently in order to increase participation, particularly by those young people who currently do not access positive activities and who are most at risk of poor outcomes. Sports providers and Arts organisations have an important role to play in this initiative, providing experiences which have good quality content and which are often the most popular choice of activity among young people themselves. There are already examples of the way that arts and sports organisations are responding to this challenge and we want to see more happening.
The DCMS wants to encourage Sports providers and Arts organisations and those who might be commissioning them to embrace Open and become part of their local partnership delivering positive activities for young people on Friday and Saturday evenings, and promoting the offer to young people and the broader community. Your local youth service should be able to give you further information about how the Open drive is being implemented in your area.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families leads the Positive Activities for Young People agenda, and is working closely with the Department for Culture Media and Sport to align work on the sports and cultural youth offers. If you would like further information about DCSF’s work to increase Positive Activities for Young People, please contact either Matt Collins or Norman Hole at the Department for Children, Schools and Families via the DCSF public line on 0870 000 2288.