Oxford City Council’s in-house youth team helps more than 25,000 young people

Published: Monday, 6th March 2017

Oxford City Council’s in-house youth team has helped more than 25,000 young people over the last four years.

The award-winning Youth Ambition Team has created a programme of support services, youth clubs, sports and grants to help young people achieve their potential.

The aim is to encourage young people from Oxford’s disadvantaged communities to broaden their knowledge and skills through informal learning.

Every week the Youth Ambition delivers:

  • Eight youth clubs every week, in Barton, East Oxford, Littlemore, Northway, Rose Hill and Wood Farm
  • Six sports sessions every week, in Barton, Blackbird Leys, Cowley, Rose Hill and Wood Farm
  • Three girls-only physical activity and wellbeing sessions in Barton and Wood Farm
  • One-on-one advice and guidance for young people on the issues affecting them, such as employment, education and training                    

The young people are also heavily involved in the Youth Ambition Team’s decision making, including recruiting staff and deciding grant recipients.

Since 2013, the team has worked with 25,763 young people.

Upcoming work includes performing a play about bullying issues as part of the Oxford Playhouse’s Young Players Festival, and three new dance sessions in Wood Farm, Rose Hill and Littlemore in partnership with Dancin’ Oxford.

The Youth Ambition Team won the best sports development team of the year at Oxfordshire’s Sports Awards in 2016, and was named runner up for the best local authority team at the Children and Young People’s Now Awards in 2016.

The team’s work saves the city about £13m every year by improving young people’s health and wellbeing, reducing anti-social behaviour and promoting community cohesion.

The figure is calculated using the government research, which calculates the social return on investment. The research suggests that for every £1 spent, there is a saving to society of £52.

The Youth Ambition Team focuses its work in Oxford’s most deprived communities. Despite being a relatively affluent area overall, Oxford has pockets of deprivation and, after adjusting for housing costs, 25 per cent of children in Oxford live below the poverty line.

Councillor Pat Kennedy, Executive Board Member for Youth People, Schools and Skills, said: “I am delighted that the City Council offers a widening of opportunities to an increasing number of the disadvantaged young people in the city.

“Participants are able to take part in sport, dance and cultural activities, so building their self-confidence and also developing their informal learning.”