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Digital Bench
Digital Bench
  • Category: Education, Participation

Quality Mark Logo All 3 Levels

Organisation: RCT – Youth Engagement & Participation Service

Project name: Digital Bench

Youth Leader: Christie Williams




The project aims to engage disengaged young people who have been anti-social in their local community and aims to develop new skills, build relationships and as a result decrease the anti-social behavior.

The young people have been instrumental to all the planning for the bench and since the original bench the young people have changed some of the designs to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Egg Seeds the provider gave the young people a task and then they used their problem solving and team work skills to design the digital bench.

The young people have also developed their woodwork skills and have completed all of the necessary skilled labor to complete the bench. Although this is supervised by the staff the young people have become self-efficient and independent at these skills over time.

The young people have also been involved in choosing the destination of the bench and have spoken honestly about how it would be cared for and respected in their current community, so much so that the young people chose a more affluent area that had good CCTV coverage and area that the young people felt it would not be damaged. One young person quoted “I am not doing all this hard work for someone to come along and burn it down”.

Like any youth work practice we try to develop a supportive environment, which is safe and where the young people are able to express their views and opinions. This has been key to the success of the project and through active listening the young people have developed their own community.

Older young people from the group have also supported younger members, sharing their own knowledge and experience of making the first digital bench in Wales (see link below) to help build the second bench.

The project was run originally indoors as part of a youth club session but due to Covid-19 regulations the project was forced outside, where it now runs more freely and more visible to the local community.

The lesson learned resulted in an increase in anti-social behavior, young people need stimulation and positive activities to engage in, I know Covid-19 stopped so much, but statistics proved that when we resumed the digital bench and youth engagement in the community the levels of anti-social behavior decreased. This sends a clear message that we must work hard to provide a service to young people despite the struggles and strains that may be thrown at us. The introduction of the YEPS purpose built mobile youth vans have been an instrumental part of the RCT Youth Service operating at full capacity.

The young people involved have a developed more respect and consideration for their community, this has not just been done through the digital bench but also through involving the local school and the Crimes and Consequences team to also educate the young people.

A group of young girls who have engaged in the digital bench have noticeably developed in confidence and also acquired a good level of wood work skills which they have told us they have even used at home and helped other family members.

The more hard to reach young people who have been very honest about their anti-social behavior in the community are now more interactive and comfortable talking to the youth workers about their own life challenges, and often come to us when life becomes difficult.

One of the older young people who engaged in the 1st bench has now become a young volunteer with the project and she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience and supporting younger members.

Finally the young people have also developed relationships with key partners in the community which has allowed them to access more provision, for example the young people are now comfortable and confident enough to access the local food bank as it is run but a member of staff who they have been introduced to as part of the project. So the young people interpersonal skills have improved.

Newydd Housing who are a key partner to the Digital bench, along with YEPS RCT and Egg Seeds have also raised awareness and understanding to local residents. The ASB officer for Newydd Housing shared information on social media about positive activities the young people were involved with and also encouraged residents to not dump rubbish at a known fire site as this was encouraging the young people to set those items alight.

This partnership with all key partners has further strengthened and this has allowed some of this work to continue in the local Secondary school.
Staff and volunteers, like the young people involved have also developed their own wood work skills and it has given them a sense of purpose for engaging with the young people without the usual barriers that have been in place during the detached street based sessions.

The provision has been structured around the needs of the young people, offering open access, where no young person feels discriminated or isolated as a results of their disability, sexuality, nationality, social-economic status, special needs, mental health religion or any other characteristic.

The project has continued to thrive, so much so that an application for additional funding has been put in to offer the opportunity to several sites in RCT.

The young people involved in the current bench are already thinking about their next bench and next project and Hapi through Newydd Housing have secured additional funding to support this, along with the continued support from YEPS RCT staff.

 Video for the first Digital bench in wales: 


The progress so far, before Covid-19 and the project moved outside is shown in the video below:


Full video will be produced after the build day.

For further information please contact email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit https://www.facebook.com/YEPSRCT/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/yepsrct?lang=en or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yepsrct/?hl=en