Mapping for Change is working with four partners across Europe to address the lack of civic engagement among hard-to-reach youths in urban areas. CIVACT is a new EU-funded, two-year project which aims to empower young people to become protagonists through observing and analysing their neighbourhood’s resources and challenges and be the driving force for change.
The Effects of Social Exclusion
Social exclusion has a major impact on young people, especially for those in disadvantaged areas. As young people make their transition into adulthood, they must deal with a number of challenges and those from marginalised groups are often faced with more adversity. This means they don’t have access to the same resources as others and lack the opportunities and services to enable them to contribute to society. As a result, they feel that they can not influence their community and have little or no impact on policy decisions directly affecting their life. This is becoming an increasingly big problem as it can have a detrimental effect on young people’s well-being and future.
CIVACT will work to improve the social engagement of youth at risk of social exclusion across Europe. Project partners will develop and test new methodologies for engaging disadvantaged young people, increasing participation, belonging and ownership so that they can actively contribute to the development of the communities in which they live. Partners will share their expertise and experience with youth workers in five pilot neighbourhoods and train them to use these engagement methods. These specially trained youth workers will use their new skills and knowledge to give the young people they work with new experiences with civic engagement and the confidence and tools needed to propose changes to urban regeneration and local development.
The project will allow the different partners to bring together their best practices, to consolidate their already existing transnational networks and to develop new ones in view of future collaborations.
Mapping for Change
Mapping for Change will be responsible for the UK pilot neighbourhood delivery and will share their methods and experience with the rest of the team and youth workers. We will also develop a database of methods, available for all youth and social workers to use and learn from so that more hard to reach young people can benefit from the project learnings.
The project will be coordinated by the Lawaetz Foundation (Germany) and comprise a strong collective of partners that have previous experience working with hard-to-reach youths, district management, and social and educational projects aimed at local development. The CIVACT consortium members are: Lawaetz (Hamburg, Germany), Bond of Union (Palermo, Italy), Mapping for Change, (London, UK), Göteborg, (Gothenburg, Sweden), and Apdes (Porto, Portugal).
In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund in England invested £1 million in 150 neighbourhoods for its Big Local initiative. Northfleet, Kent, was one of the first 50 to be selected. The grant aimed to equip local communities with skills and tools to identify key areas and issues where action was reqiored in their area.
There are around 30,000 Gypsies and Travellers in London. Their culture and traditions have developed through a nomadic way of life over centuries. However, across the country the community face an uncertain future. With some of the poorest social outcomes of any group in Britain the burgeoning cuts to public services will have a disproportionate effect on the community.
WeGovNow is a three year research and innovation project focusing on civic participation in local government. It aims to change the relationship between citizens and local governments, transforming the citizen’s role from customer into partner. This is to be achieved with the development of a single community engagement platform, where citizens can interact with their governments and participate in local decision-making.