Young people can make a difference in their communities with unique housing project
“No one knows what the young people of Scotland want, better than the young people of Scotland” commented Jake Stevenson.
Jake Stevenson is a former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and he is passionate about social housing in Glasgow. The twenty-year-old from Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, is encouraging young people to have their voices heard as he knows from personal experience that it can make a difference.
In 2019, Jake took part in the Youth Housing Forum which was in partnership with TIS, South Lanarkshire Council, and Larkhall Academy. The aim of the session was to establish a platform for meaningful conversations with the younger generation and educate them about their housing options. The conclusion was there was a clear appetite for this discussion but, there still weren’t enough opportunities for young people to be heard.
“I thought the session was really eye-opening,” said Jake. “It highlighted that when you support young people and provide the right tools to do these things, they can bring a fresh perspective and highlight the issues that really matter to them. It is about breaking down the age barrier so that we can work together in partnership to make services that are fit-for-purpose”.
And that’s when TIS decided it was time for a change
TIS has secured funding from the Glasgow Communities Fund for a new city-wide project which will provide opportunities for individuals to engage with their local communities. The project, named Engage Influence Change (EIC) will involve a variety of individuals from across Glasgow, including young people.
TIS chief executive Ilene Campbell explained: “This unique project is a great demonstration of our commitment to exploring all avenues to work towards an active, inclusive, and just Scotland where our communities are strong, equitable, and sustainable.”
“The EIC Project will provide mentor support; e-learning opportunities; knowledge exchange; experience; and a range of materials to drive good practice forward. It will enable individuals and communities to reach their full potential and play an active role in the city of Glasgow.”
The project will run over the next two and a half years and will make a positive impact within Glasgow by supporting three key groups. Alongside boosting youth participation and strengthening links with schools, TIS will also support:
Private rented sector tenants and owners
Supporting private rented sector tenants and owners to create a model for owner associations, and developing an outreach programme to establish a platform for the Council and partner agencies to engage;
Social rented sector tenants
Developing a capacity-building programme for social rented sector tenants, and nurturing the growth of skills, knowledge, and confidence in order to participate and influence decisions within the community; and
Improving opportunities for young people, developing a library of housing options information, and building strong community links within schools to boost youth participation.
Why the project is needed
The timing of this project is also important as Glasgow remains the most deprived city and local authority area in Scotland. Approximately one in three of the city’s children live in poverty and 27% of households are in fuel poverty.
Jake continued: “Everyone has the right to a safe, warm and affordable home. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether they are going to be evicted that day because they don’t have the knowledge to pay for their rent. I definitely think that with social housing we are throwing a lot of young people into the deep end.”
Educating young people about housing is something Jake is keen to explore further and he was pleased to see TIS having similar discussions at the Youth Housing Forum. He said: “When I worked with TIS we were treated as equals. The team showed respect to young people and really wanted to make a difference.”
How you can get involved
Now in 2021, TIS is keen to drive this forward through the Engage Influence Change Project. We want to break down barriers so that every tenant, resident, and community can get involved and shape the future of housing services in Glasgow.
A major part of the project is to create a friendly and supportive online communication platform that will bring housing learning resources together; encourage networking and sharing knowledge, and gaining peer support all in one place. We want to bring people together in conversation through polls, posts, questions, and discussions to explore the housing issues that really matter to them.
The TIS team is looking to build our online network and hear from individuals who would like to get involved and access the platform – and additionally, organisations across the sector who would be interested in helping shape learning materials; providing signposting information to help populate the guides and resources available; and partnering opportunities for upcoming events hosted on the platform.
TIS development manager Susan Morris added: “The Engage Influence Change Project means people can make a real difference in their communities. If you are passionate and want to make a change, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.”
To find out more, and help TIS shape the Engage Influence Change Project please contact email@example.com or 0141 248 1242.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0141 248 1242