An assessment of the development priorities of Rose hill youth and young adults’ community, drawing from the profile developed by our student’s group. Drawing a proposal to meet the needs and a theory informed reflection of our group process.
Historically according to Slack, R. C. B. (1998), a community was often described as a small or large social unit, formed due to having something in common with norms such as religion, values, or identity. Due to the ever-changing structures of community, these traditional views fail on recognising the ethnically diverse makeup of many neighbourhoods in communities. The 2011 census (ONS 2012) indicates that in England white remains the majority with 86 per cent and other ethnic groups making up the remaining twenty-six per cent. This has a significant impact on community development work. Twelvetrees, A. (2017) outlines community development work as the process to assist people to improve their community by having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs by collective action or through empowerment. In our group work Aigbe (et al.) we collectively profiled the youth and young people between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five.
BASW (2015) in the key data on adolescence defines this age group as the critical youth age of social development in the community. The English Indices of deprivation (2015) which are produced by the department for communities and local government indicate that overall Oxfordshire is relatively undeprived. It is the eleventh least deprived of the hundred and fifty-two upper tier local authorities and is less deprived than average across six of the seven domains of deprivation. The domains are employment, income, health, disability, crime, education and living environment. However, the statistics and information from this government organisation including through methods of research we used, showed that there is a considerable variation across the county. One Hundred and ninety-three out of four hundred and seven are amongst the twenty percent deprived in the whole of England. There are fifteen small areas in Oxfordshire that are among the twenty percent most deprived nationally including Rose hill.
According to the last census carried out by the office of national statistics (2017) rose hill overall has a population of three thousand four hundred and twenty-two across one thousand two hundred addresses with a high population of young people being thirty percent. The thirty percent on record is only young people under the age of eighteen years old. Forty-two percent of the residents are from an ethnic background compared to twenty-one percent compared to the 2001 census data. Most residents are likely to be in lower paid jobs compared to their peers in the city and a third of the population of adults have no qualifications. The school attainment is also lower than the city average. Rose Hill has been recorded by the indices of deprivation to be highly deprived in many resources. It has the lowest score in all the vital categories i.e. housing, crime, employment and education. rose hill community has been named one of the lowest lower-layer super output area (LSOA) in Oxfordshire. This means the neighbourhood of rose hill is within the eight percent of the most deprived in the twenty percent most deprived areas in England. Young people in rose hill are more likely to live school with no qualifications or lower grades which increasingly makes this community higher younger adults’ population more susceptible to be in the lower paying Jobs and keeps them in the lower socio-economic brackets in all the vital categories. This neighbourhood has never had a secondary school in the area so most of the young people leaving primary school go to the Oxford academy school.
Social planning and community developments regarding youth and young people have been ongoing in this neighbourhood. A new community centre was opened in 2012 that has a new social club, Bill Buckingham Ballroom, the Norman Brown Hall, gym, youth rooms, changing rooms, an advice centre, community library, café area and health facilities.
Youth groups/ clubs are run at rose hill community centre which ranges ages eleven to eighteen years old, the clubs are led by young people. Fran Gardner (The Leader) received nine thousand five hundred pounds to kick-start the project. They also have the twenty-eighth scout group based in Littlemore. This has over fifty members between the ages of six and fourteen. They carry out group activities to fundraise for their clubs. Our group (Aigbe et al.2018), was in contact with one of the members of the youth ambitions team Joseph Barrett who works for Oxfordshire county council. The team carries out partnership working, and work with the two different youth clubs at the centre which is now funded by the national lottery. Joseph informed us that the clubs have helped to reduce crime in the community and the programme costs two hundred and forty thousand pounds to run per annum, he also put emphases on how the clubs save millions of pounds in reduced deprivation effects. Youth ambition provides services in all the nine deprivation areas using community resources and letting the youth lead, it is also a point of contact for signposting and referral to other services as matters arise. The youth clubs are most important in breaking the cycle of poverty. Banks et al. (2013) describe community development as a range of approaches linked to certain values, justice, self-determination, respect, love, democracy, empowerment and seeking to get a collective deal for a community that is missing out. The aim of the youth clubs and youth ambition is to break the norms of the community and replace with a pride and achievement gained by working together as one. Rose hill thrives by being community led for the gain of the large youth population. In 2017 a huge job fair event was held at the rose hill community centre. This was aimed at helping long-term unemployed people to find jobs. There were no outcomes reported however employment benefits were reported to have fallen around that period.
Identifying an issue, referring to the research and statistics from our group (Aigbe et al.2018) one of the main specific issue and priority identified is education. The proposal is to make it a priority to meet the educational needs of the rose hill young people and youth. For understanding, using the systems theory and the ecological perspective which Teater, B. (2014) defines as a system that is the multiple interconnected parts that make a structure, in this case, that forms the community of rose hill. The systems theory explains how the different subsystems i.e. microsystem which consists of the individual, their sexuality age and health, then the mesosystem which is the schools, peers, family, religion etc. The exosystem that consists of the interaction with the community, neighbours, mass media, industry and local politics then lastly the macrosystem which is the culture, diversity, Ideologies and attitudes all interact to form outcomes or behaviours about a person or community outcomes. The diagram below shows the interaction of the systems.
Using the systems theory will help to create a multi-generational approach in all sub-systems of the community by including aspects such asset-based solution to the lacks and areas that do not have a good history of synergy and interaction. This approach will help to get the whole community involved by utilising the good projects and structures that work and are important and sentimental to this community. According to our research information, the rose hill has an existing community-run nursery called the little pioneer’s nursery and pre-school which is run by the mid-counties’ cooperative. The nursery is rated as outstanding by Ofsted (2018). Referring to Fig 1, the nursery fits into the microsystem of the young people of the Rose Hill community. The research also outlined that rose hill primary school is rated by Ofsted (2017) as requiring improvement, which means the interaction of the two institutes have no continuity. Children that progress to the primary school come out of an outstanding nursery and pre-school to a primary school that is below the prescribed educational standards.
The highly performing nursery of the rose hill is being run by a successful cooperative and this strategy could be implemented to the primary school. Parent, grandparent and community involvement to run as a cooperative would be crucial to the change and improvement of the primary school. The CFBT education trust has for many years carried out research and is involved in making education policy. CFBT have written about the importance of parental and relatives’ involvement in a child’s educational attainment. If this is implemented in rose hill it will create a multi-generational approach and bring assert-based contributions such as time, voluntary of activities and money and community-run projects and clubs. This proposal will help to include minorities such as children with disabilities and cultural differences to have a sense of belonging and ownership which will improve community relations.
The use of communication theory will help to implement outcomes of this proposal by being inclusive and making it clear to every one of the changes intended. Dealing with the failing primary school will improve the individual by impacting in the microsystem and mesosystem through changes to how education is perceived in early years and taking pride and responsibility by the parents their children’s education. This type of community work is going to require a top down and bottom up approach, the reason being that Twelvetrees, A. (2017) explains that top-down programmes on their own tend to miss targets in several ways and bottom down programmes do not generally engage with the community members. Applying the top down will include presenting rose hill people with change and creating policies in order to create a drive at a local level then implement the national level. The bottom down community development will define issues that are most concerning about the education of rose hill from the resident’s perspective and this will help to design their own solution that is good for their children and all generations of the rose hill this will be at the local level. Without the bottom down work of engaging with the community, this might prove to be a challenge hence both approaches need to work hand in hand to influence the entire ecological system.
A strong proposal of building a secondary school should be put forward to the local government with the same idea of it being run by the community cooperative. Extra funding could then be asked from both central and local governments. The existing youth clubs can be used as a point of contact for inputs from the youth groups and workers and members of the community will volunteer in other aspects such as running after-school clubs and extracurricular activities. This type of process will also need to be facilitated and delivered by highly skilled professional staff. People management will be needed including managing volunteers, bearing in mind that paid staff will also need to be engaged. There also need to be a strategy of co-production so that the statutory sector workers closely liaise with the voluntary sector in order to find the best way of providing the educational services.
This type of process will also need to consider political powers and influence. Twelvetrees, A. (2017) also outlines that community work depends on the ability to influence political bureaucratic processes. Engaging the local MP in the process could be a good start, if the vision becomes clear to them and tapping into their self-interests it could be a great campaign strategy for their politics and could be an influential point of contact to the local government for the community. It is of great importance when hiring staff for such projects to employ community-based local people to obtain as much engagement and dedication as possible. Forming council for these projects is extremely important as it will deliver not only multi-generational age groups but will increase the will to succeed as a community, however, this may not be entirely practical with certain expertise that would be required.
This proposal will help to break the cycle of poverty due to learnt behaviours of deprivation. If opportunities and quality of education increases, the threshold of income capping will increase. The likelihood of young people living education with no qualifications will also improve and this will have a knock-on effect on issues of crime, drug and substance miss use as opportunities increase.
Reflecting on personal action. Day, J (2013) defines teamwork as the process of working collaboratively or co-ordinating action with two or more people in order to achieve a goal. Also utilising the Gibbs reflective cycle (1998) our group was made up of seven members and I was the chairperson. I was elected as Chairperson by the other members of the group. Day also writes about the five stages of group formation. These stages are Forming, storming norming and adjourning. The forming stage started by members of the group being selected by the lecturer. The group, however, went with the known strength of the members, on reflection I think this was due to familiarity.
The storming stage is explained in Interprofessional working as the time when the process gets stormy by members questioning values and behaviours when trying to allocate roles and responsibilities also with the attempt to dominate. This is when the guidance of the chairperson began to set in to make sure of the delivery of the brief. Differences in understanding the task and determining the right understanding were difficult. However, the process was crucial in the allocation of roles and better understanding for all team members of the brief. The brief was to profile the rose hill community to create a community profile. It was narrowed down by giving each group member a specific task. Some looked at crime, housing, community facilities, services employment and education. The group also settled on gathering national statistics and the overall perspective of Rose hill community. I believed we moved on from this stage as we needed to listen to each other and use the information gathered by each member to create our profile.
The norming stage of the team went well even though it was affected by a few absent. This meant the sharing of information had disparities. In absents members shared their information through google drive that had been created for all members to share researched information. Creativity began to surface as other members volunteered to create the slides and editing group members work to achieve synergy. Feedback was also being given through the WhatsApp platform of what we needed to look at more and adding information that was missing.
The performing stage even though it was challenging, seemed to go well. The challenges were on effectiveness and efficiencies, again, this was due to low attendance, and not narrowing down information i.e. some members just copied and pasted information and sometimes did not look at the dates and ages of statistics which meant having to redo everything each time we met. This stage sometimes felt like a regression to the storming stage. The team pulled together to do the presentation with one-member short. The impact was very noticeable and a let-down as that part of the presentation had to be read by another member who had not written it showing a lack of understanding.
The adjournment stage was both a relief mixed with sadness that we could have done much better. The relief was we were glad it was over, and the sadness was coming to an ending and we had the chance to all reflect on our performances which we all agreed that it was good but lacked in other aspects and seemed as though we did not entirely move on from the forming stage. Overall the team left in good spirits and with lessons learnt.
Evaluating myself using Belbin’s suitability of roles, I came up as a shaper. Fig 1.2 below illustrates the characteristics.
Personality traits Contributions Possible weaknesses
Shaper Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure, opportunistic Driving force, makes things happen, galvanizes team Impatient, offends people’s feelings, argues and disagrees
My suitability to the role in consideration of Belbin’s analysis was good even though the time spent with group members was not long enough to fully evaluate the weaknesses. I felt suitable for the role as we were able to navigate together and involving everyone to have a fair chance on contributions. I did change research roles of individuals in the group when, I noticed that other group members showed more understanding in research or were more engaged or proactive, referring to fig 1.2, it could have been the personality trait of wanting to achieve and thrive. There were a few times I felt impatient especially when members were posting copied and pasted information without evaluating and checking reputable sources, and dates, I did not confront anyone but used group times to edit.
The group seemed to work well even though at times it felt like there was a high dependence on leadership this is explained in Tuckman (1965) I was absent on one of the days, I put up on the drive what was to be done in my absence an agenda and offered to have the meeting on google hangout when the group was ready. I later learnt that only two members where present on the day and the meeting was adjourned to next week without much being done, also the other members that were not present did not send through any information, therefore, nothing was done on that day.
Going forward when I qualify and work in social work teams, I have learnt that all aspects of communication need to be clear and turning up for meetings and completing work is vital to the results. Our group had members who only attended two meetings, others where not very vocal in communicating both concerns and research. It is crucial to understand everyone’s strength and weaknesses to achieve high performance in every individual. In Future leadership roles, I have learnt that it is more important to study leadership than concentrate solely on character traits. I say this as I was elected to be chairman due to traits, however, learning to lead is much more important because behaviour towards other members creates good teams. Belbin also cites that leadership traits can be studied and taught to create different types of leaders, and how it is important to Identify and promote their behavioural strengths, increasing engagement and allowing the individual to work to their full potential.
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