Key Themes and Ideas for Action and Change
An important aspect of the three-event model was to identify themes or topics that children, young people and adults viewed as important and wanted to consider further as conversations developed - in this pilot and beyond when partners think about continuing meaningful engagement with children and young people. To support this (as described earlier and in the event programmes appendices 1a and 1b) small groups considered what children and young people need to be healthy, happy and safe - at home, in school and in the community. They then identified barriers and started conversations around the question: What can we do to deliver what children and young people need and address barriers?
From Events 1 (children and young people) and Event 2 (adult duty-bearers) the themes or topics that emerged in terms of action needed were identified after the events by the project partners as:
- Mental health
- Support, relationships and views on adults or children and young people
- Life at home and parenting
- Learning, school and teachers
- Bullying, safety and violence
- Community, youth work, things to do, local facilities and environment, housing
When it came to structuring Event 3, bringing children, young people and adults together, the partners worked to develop a number of themes that would deepen the initial conversations, but also start from a neutral stance - so for example we did not want to start the intergenerational conversations from a deficit idea of 'young people's mental health problems' but rather to start with a broader idea of 'being healthy' or 'happiness and wellbeing'. Other themes/topics translated more easily into Event 3's positive/asset-based approach. The final Event 3 thematic activities were labelled as:
- Being healthy
- Families and life at home
- Feeling safe and being safe
- Happiness and wellbeing
- How people get along
- Learning and school
- Our houses
- Our local environment
- Poverty and inequality
- Things to do
Then, working on tasks associated with the above themes Event 3 asked small groups - of children, young people and adults - to identify ideas for change/ideas for action. The participants could identify these ideas in relation to one or more of these groups:
- Schools or colleges or workplaces
- Our city
The full list of ideas is in appendix 5. In summary, these ideas for change/action emerged:
Ideas for change/ideas for action for families
- Actions that address poverty.
- Support and learning on being a parent - as early as possible and non-stigmatising.
- A focus on playing together at home and in the community.
- A focus on healthy, affordable food, learning to cook and eating together.
- Providing homes that are affordable, safe and warm and where each child can have a bedroom.
- Support for parents and families where there is disagreement, conflict and relationship breakdown.
Ideas for change/ideas for action for schools or colleges or workplaces
- Challenge stereotypes and discrimination - every boy/girl or young man/young woman should have the same opportunities.
- Open school buildings to the community.
- Improve interpersonal relationships - no shouting, always respectful.
- Make school a place where children are happy to learn and teachers happy to teach.
- Provide additional support for learning when it is needed.
- Improve skills and approaches to support young people with mental health problems.
- Address bullying.
- Deliver the best learning about alcohol, drugs and sexual health and relationships.
- Provide snacks and lunch free to all children and young people.
- A fair living wage for all.
Ideas for change/ideas for action communities
- Support for children and families to access local facilities and activities - for free or make them affordable.
- Easy access to safe well-maintained places to play and do sports.
- Improved intergenerational understanding and relationships, mutual respect.
- Build pride and community connections.
- Help neighbours get to know each other and get on.
- Build excellent relationships between citizens and Police.
- Places to help when families or individuals are struggling.
- Support for learning and to raise attainment across communities.
- Revitalise youth work and clubs and activities locally.
- Create community gardens and local environments that citizens can look after.
- Create kinder communities.
Ideas for change/ideas for action our city
- Make Edinburgh a place where children's lives are free from alcohol and tobacco harm.
- End discrimination, celebrate diversity.
- Make cars/traffic less of a problem in terms of congestion and pollution.
- Create cleaner, greener, safer streets and local environments.
- Focus on supporting and improving mental health and wellbeing.
- Ensure affordable housing and work for all our citizens.