Organisation: Llantwit Youth Council (LYC) Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service
Project title: LYC – Litter Report, ‘Design a Bin’ & Young Reporters Award
Contact: Adley Curtis.
Identified Need: In a Llantwit Youth Council meeting, a consultation was held with the young people to develop a list of ideas for a potential project. Following the consultation and several discussions, youth council members identified a need for a project focusing on the ever-increasing litter in their local community.
Planning: Having identified the issue, a task group was then held to develop a plan for a possible litter project. In the task group, the young people identified several key areas in which litter is most prominent and discussed the possibility of upgrading bins in their community. LYC members then agreed to carry out litter investigations in the areas that they had identified.
Having carried out two litter investigations, the young people recognised a lack of bins in one of their identified areas. As a result, the young people suggested the placement of a bin in that area. LYC members and lead worker then worked together to design a bin and have it situated in the area.
Evaluations: The evaluation phase of the project involved the young people assessing if their bin had reduced the amount of litter in that area by carrying out another litter investigation. A final task group was then held, where it was agreed that the project had been successful, and they were extremely happy with their developments.
In addition, LYC members produced a litter report, summarising the litter project. This was then entered in the ‘Keep Wales Tidy – Young Reporters for the Environment’ competition. Llantwit Youth Council won 1st prize for their litter report entry, winning £100 which was used for a celebratory meal.
There has been an increase in the confidence, self-esteem, and the voice of the young people as a result of the project. Through engaging in task groups, meetings and consultations on a voluntary basis, young people had an active voice in issues which affect them. Through the ‘Keep Wales Tidy – Young Reporters for the Environment’ competition, the young people received recognition for their involvement in the project and acknowledgment by other organisations.
In addition, through the assignment of specified project roles and responsibilities, the young people were afforded ownership of the project, this encouraged natural engagement and a feeling of empowerment. By being given the roles, young people were encouraged to consider risks and consequences of their actions and make informed decisions and take responsibility.
Throughout the development of the litter project and the process of designing and finding a suitable placement for the bin, it was clear that when having to liaise and reply on/with other organisations/establishments/councils, meeting deadlines can become an issue.
An example of this, having finalised the design for the bin, the bin was then sent to the establishment who would then process the design and make the bin. In this initial stage of communication, it was stated that the bin would take 3-4 weeks to be delivered. That timeframe then passed; the establishment was then contacted. In their reply, they stated that the bin could potentially take another 8-12 weeks.
This left Llantwit Youth Council and Llantwit Major Town Council frustrated as it meant that the date set for the bin instalment had to be pushed back. Through our work we learned that when setting deadlines and relying on third parties, there is a possibility that those deadlines can be pushed back. Moving forward when undertaking any work where we will be required to liaise with additional organisations, we will ensure we plan for any setbacks.
Educationally: In the early stages of developing the project, members stated they would like to learn more on the effects litter has on the environment. As a result, the lead worker planned visits from guest speakers and a visit to a recycling centre to further develop the young people’s understanding on the impacts of litter.
Young people also gained some personal learning from the project as outlined below:
Personally: Having visited a recycling centre and visits from guest speakers, LYC members developed their understanding on the impacts of litter. Through developing a better understanding on the issue, young people stated they feel confident enough to engage in conversations regarding the issue. In addition, young people gained a sense of pride through designing their own bin and having it placed in their local community. Additionally, through winning £100 from the ‘Keep Wales Tidy – Young Reporters for the Environment’ competition entry, young people were given the opportunity to go out for a celebratory meal which some of them may not have the opportunity to do so.
In addition there is a Community benefit. The litter project was focused on improving the litter issue in the local community. Following two litter investigations, LYC members recognised a need for a bin in an identified area. The young people then worked alongside the lead worker to design a bin, the bin was then made and placed in the area the young people had identified. This proved to be of benefit to the community, as the litter in the area reduced and the environment improved.
Through the development of the litter project, the organisation (Youth Service and Llantwit Youth Council) has benefited through developing their relationship with the council (Llantwit Major Town Council). The town in which the project took place.
When designing the bin, Llantwit Youth Council worked in partnership with Llantwit Major Town Council to finalise the design. In addition, both the Youth Council and Town Council had to come to an agreement on the placement of the bin.
Having agreed on the bin design and placement of the bin, the Town Council were extremely complimentary towards the litter project and the additional work that had been completed.
Through entering and winning the ‘Keep Wales Tidy – Young Reporters for the Environment’ competition, the awareness and reputation of organisation, staff and youth council was enhanced.
YAG groups have a code of conduct which ensures inclusivity of all YAG members, respect and equal opportunities.
The litter project has not been continued or further developed, as the youth councillors decided to start work on an alternative campaign. That campaign being a Period Poverty Campaign, focused on providing free sanitary products to young people in their local community.
Although the litter project has not been further developed, the young people’s passion for the environment and reducing waste remains so the young people ensured that any sanitary products provided are environmentally friendly.