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In 2020, youth leaders across Southend, Essex and Thurrock engaged with more than 600 young people on the violence and vulnerability themes for 2020. The feedback from young people was exceptional and helped the Violence and Vulnerability Unit to prioritise issues that young people felt were important. It even helped us to put detached youth workers in five local districts.

This year, we are continuing our youth voices work and reaching out further to even more young people and the wider community.

We are running two listening projects that we would love you to get involved with. The first is the young people’s listening project. If you are a youth group / club in Southend, Essex or Thurrock and have previously received funding from the VVU, Active Essex, the PFCC, local or district councils, or are affiliated to a local or national umbrella organisation / governing body, OR you are a school in Southend, Essex or Thurrock then you can take part.

We have created a session plan for groups to run through with their young people; this includes an icebreaker game and nine questions that we would like your help answering. This session can be done virtually, through detached work, in a Covid-19 support bubble or school setting, but all young people must be between the ages of ten and 18 (up to 25 with Special Educational Needs).

We would like to engage with as many young people as possible. If your group feeds back at least 20 young people’s answers by the closing date of 18 March, your group/ club/ school will receive £200 as a donation towards taking part.

The funding is limited, so all groups will need to have confirmed their place by emailing [email protected] and then the session plan will be emailed to you.

The second listening project is the Community Listening project. This project seeks views on youth violence and vulnerability in the community. If you live in Southend, Essex or Thurrock, we want to know your views so we can use local knowledge to help us to prioritise work and funding in the future.

Any local resident can take part and by taking part you also have the chance to nominate a local community children’s / youth group / school in Essex to win £500 to spend on keeping young people safe in their community.

You can take part in the survey here The survey closes 18 March 2021 and we value all views and opinions.