Riots Panel Secretariat learns how CSV helps get young people on path to success

The Government’s Riots Panel Secretariat has visited two CSV projects to observe best practice on how to equip young people with the skills for work, giving them a positive stake in their communities.

Members of the Riots Panel Secretariat visited CSV’s Walkden Foundation Learning programme in Salford, which helps 16 to 19 year olds improve basic skills and gain qualifications in media projects including film production, radio, web design and video. The Foundation Learning programme provides an important stepping stone for young people who need some extra learning, vocational skills and focus before entering employment or further education.

Following last summer's riots in England, the Government commissioned the Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel assess what more can be done to prevent troubled young people from turning to anti-social behaviour.  CSV has submitted evidence highlighting the indispensable role of community based learning tailored to the specific needs of youngsters facing challenging circumstances to the Panel.

"By providing one-to-one support they encourage young people to make positive use of their energies, enabling them to gain vocational skills that will help them get onto the career ladder."

Sophie Earnshaw, Programme Development Manager, CSV Learning

During their visit on 1 February the Secretariat also met with staff, learners and partners at the CSV Walkden café, a social enterprise set up and run by CSV for the community. Two of the young people interviewed had experienced a great deal of upheaval and felt let down by the education system, but are now successfully studying media at the centre in Walkden.

On 24 February the Secretariat visited CSV Springboard Bromley, which delivers an Alternative Curriculum programme to young people aged 14-16 years.

Working with young people who have not excelled in mainstream education, face various challenges and have additional support needs, the learners remain on the school roll but attend classes at Springboard - where they gain vocational skills including construction, media and childcare in addition to working towards basic skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT. The programme provides one-to-one support, smaller class groups and an alternative method of teaching better suited to these young people.

Sophie Earnshaw, Programme Development Manager at CSV Learning said:

“Not everyone is suited to mainstream education or academia; practical skills are equally valuable and should be accorded equal respect. CSV Springboard Bromley, CSV Walkden and countless other projects delivered by CSV and other community organisations provide a vital alternative to traditional learning, targeting those who need help most. By providing one-to-one support they encourage young people to make positive use of their energies, also enabling them to gain vocational skills that will help them get onto the career ladder.

“CSV looks forward to working with the Riots Panel, and government more widely, to help ensure that the power of local action is harnessed to build stronger, more responsible communities in which the talents of all are respected and nurtured.”

Notes to Editors:

1.    For more information contact Oliver Fry or Francesca Toma on 020 7643 1312 / 1418,  ofry@csv.org.uk / ftoma@csv.org.uk or 07855 456 453 / 07966 168 686
2.    Through its network of learning centres based around the UK, CSV works with thousands of young people every year, focusing particularly on those who need extra support.  Visit www.csv.org.uk
3.    For more information about CSV Springboard Bromley, visit http://www.springboardbromley.org.uk/
4.    The Riots Panel, Chaired by Darra Singh OBE, is expected to report in late March.  Visit www.riotspanel.independent.gov.uk