Creative Cohesion West Midland ‘s Youth Employment and Empowerment project (YEES)has overcome so many barriers and bridges to get the diverse groups to engage, involve and participate in the workshops, learning activities and join fun team games such as cricket, football, tennis and empowering games. The project was delivered in Foleshill, one of the most deprived areas of Coventry.
The project has been a great success in building respect, tolerance and compromises between young people from diverse heritages such as Afghanistan, Romanian, Eritrean, Poland, Namibia as well as the old settled white European, Pakistani, Indian and Kashmiri communities to join the empowerment workshops, take part in play, learn and develop their social skills.
According to youth mentor Mohammed “It took a long time to gain the trust and confidence of the different groups but once the relationships were built, they got on so quickly.”
The project also was able to work with young adult parent women who wanted to develop their own learning and skills to inspire their children, make new friends, share their experiences and learn about other people’s cultures. One session which focused on how Foleshill’s diverse communities can work better-featured women from Syria, Bengali, Pakistani, Indian, Kashmiri and Latvian heritages.
This project has developed opportunities for the young people and adults to share their experiences and life in Foleshill through questionnaires, focus group sessions and during sports and wellbeing sessions. We have started to build partnerships and networks with organisations such as the Foleshill library so groups can access local facilities and attend courses and activities on offer.
The project built community cohesion and captured heartbreaking experiences of participants when individuals shared their stories such as a young man from Romanian heritage community who stated “ I will do any job, give me job, I don’t want to beg “ , another young mother stated “ people don’t know Romanians have more than 6 languages and every family has its own culture and ways they behave, but we are disrespected and treated like everyone else “ , another young man when persuaded to give his name was in tears stating “ I call everybody Boss because they never ask us for our name “. The Afghani heritage young men were frustrated that they wanted to work but were not getting success. The project has been able to network with other agencies to create greater access and explore ways of employment and training initiatives which could be made more easier to access and tailored made for these kind of groups.
The initiative was funded by the National Lottery, and its success means other services and partners should be able to learn and create similar strategies to engage and support the vulnerable and hard to reach communities in the future.
Further enquiries about the project can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.