Castlemilk, Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland

Partnership in Action: Castlemilk Youth Complex

In recent weeks, we’ve been showcasing some of the fantastic partnership work our Local Coordinators undertake across our six children’s neighbourhood sites.

So far, we’ve looked at creative place-making in Rigside, support for anti-bullying campaigns in Lanark, as well as collaborative action through litter picks and establishing ‘growing spaces’ in Drumchapel.

This week, Sara Vanatta, our Local Coordinator for Castlemilk, gives us an introduction to her collaborations with local youth work professionals at Castlemilk Youth Complex

Bringing the Capabilities Approach to Castlemilk

At Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, we take a partnership approach to our work in communities.

Successful collaboration ensures that we reach children and young people in spaces where they feel safe. It also highlights excellent services that already exist within neighbourhoods.

In Castlemilk, I’ve had the opportunity to engage in some very exciting partnership work with the local youth services hub – Castlemilk Youth Complex (CYC).

A school pupil chats with a local coordinator during partnership working session
Sara has been working with young people at Castlemilk Youth Complex.

Alongside Ben Murphy, one of our CNS Research Assistants, I’m bringing the Capabilities Approach to the Community Youth Work Class at CYC.

Students from Castlemilk High School and St. Margaret Mary’s Secondary School take the course to learn principles of community development in a hands-on environment.

Co-design is key in partnership working

Kirsty Chapman, a youth worker at CYC, has supported us in co-designing our session plans and co-facilitating the groups.

We play team-building games to strengthen relationships with young people. We’re leading creative reflective activities to encourage self-awareness and critical thinking. We also conduct small group discussions to identify young people’s priorities for wellbeing in their community and to envision positive change.

Running these groups at the Youth Complex, side by side with Kirsty, is really crucial. It’s partnership in action!

Youth worker wearing a mask speaking to school pupils
Working in partnership with youth workers already based in the community has been really rewarding.

We’re sharing and learning from each other’s expertise in participation and engagement. CNS has been able to enrich the programming of a local organisation that’s already offering high quality services for children and young people.

At the same time, the students are making connections between the capabilities approach and projects they’re already working on in class – like campaigning to reopen Barlia pitches, raising awareness around period poverty, and advocating for more lighting in public spaces at night.

Through this partner approach, young people are also seeing another side of community development and youth work. They’re engaging with research methodologies and observing the potential for impact.

Taking action on priorities for wellbeing

After our first session, the students voted on their top priorities for wellbeing.

Standard of living was the overwhelming favourite, followed by feeling safe, having good relationships, feeling happy/confident, learning, and being heard.

Many of these align with themes that have emerged from facilitating the capabilities approach with other groups of children and young people across Castlemilk.

Thanks to our established partnership, the Community Youth Work class provides a natural space to begin to take action on these priorities.

School pupils wearing masks taking part in a partnership session with youth workers
Ongoing collaboration with young people in Castlemilk will continue into next year.

We anticipate ongoing collaboration this year to tackle some of these issues in the Castlemilk community. I aim to be present at upcoming sessions to help students incorporate learnings from CNS research into their action projects.

While this happens at the local level, the CNS research team feed back the results of our research to Scottish Government and other institutions with the power to enact more systemic change.

Watch this space for updates on how students in Castlemilk are turning our research into action!

Want to learn more about the impact Local Coordinators can have on place-based work with children and young people? See our recent blog and Process Evaluation report.

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