Oxford City Council has outlined how it will use its services and resources to support young people growing up in Oxford over the next five years to be healthy, happy and engaged citizens.
The Children and Young People’s Strategy covers young people in Oxford aged 0-25, and builds on and replaces the City Council’s existing Youth Ambition Strategy and Children and Young People’s Plan. It shows how we will establish common goals with our partners, support the work of the Children’s Trust, integrate safeguarding into everything we do and use our services to support schools.
The principles in the strategy underpin all the City Council’s work with young people, including the youth clubs organised by the in-house Youth Ambition Team; grants provided to local charities and organisations working with young people; cultural events organised by the City Council; and joint work with partner organisations.
The Strategy also outlines new funding in future years, including providing support for under-fives for the first time.
The aims of the new strategy include to:
- Ensure clear coordination of City Council services for young people
- Keep young people are safe and secure
- Improve how the City Council uses its cultural services to support the needs of young people – for example the promotion of dance and music
- Demonstrate how investment of £50,000 will be used support a well-coordinated, sustainable offer for under-fives
- Continue to utilise the £240,000 Youth Ambition Programme budget to support children and young people in Oxford
- Increase the use of leisure and community centres by young people
- Ensure high quality delivery of young people-focused activities such as arts, social action, sports, group work on the issues affecting young people, mentoring and holiday activities.
The strategy is structured around three guiding principles. These are:
- Preventative-led provision – to provide services and use resources to prevent potential issues at source, rather than treating symptoms
- Equality, inclusion and engagement of young people – to ensure that all the City Council’s services and resources are provided to all young people irrespective of their sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability or beliefs
- Facilitating effective partnership working – to work closely with local charities, community groups, schools and other local authorities to provide the most effective children’s services in Oxford.
Featuring interviews with youth workers, families, young people and administrative workers, three videos have been made by Oxford City Council to illustrate these principles. The videos outline upcoming projects associated with the Children and Young People’s Strategy, as well as the work currently being done. They can be viewed on the City Council’s YouTube page.
The Children and Young People’s Strategy also proposes implementation of an innovative framework called ‘Ready by 21’ which will enable a structured collaboration with all of the groups that supports a young person’s journey into adulthood including:
- community groups
- health providers
- local authorities
- young people themselves
‘Ready by 21’ will focus on three key outcomes for children and young people: ‘Healthy & Safe’ which promotes healthy living alongside social and emotional health, ‘Connected’ which looks to building positive identity and relationship with cultural competence, and ‘Productive’, which centres around academic achievement and engaging those with the programme with learning.
The City Council will use a ‘zoning’ approach to increase the focus and impact of actions being taken. ‘Zoning’ means that the Council will work with partners to focus on specific areas with the greatest need within the city to deliver improvements in the Ready by 21 outcomes. The first such Community Impact Zone is being established in a triangular area that encapsulates part of East Oxford, Cowley and Blackbird Leys.
Councillor Christine Simm, Executive Board Member for Supporting Local Communities said: “I very much welcome this new initiative. By listening to young people and those who work with them, we hope that this strategy will lead to stronger communities, a joined up approach to our services and better opportunities for all young people in our City”.