Organisation : RCT - Youth Engagement & Participation Service
Project: YEPS TV
Contact: James Hawker & Les Davies
To provide information, advice, and guidance to young people in a digital format.
YEPS TV is delivered up to date information in a new, fun and innovative interactive broadcast service that runs on a monthly basis.
The initial need for ‘something’ came from young people that participated in the very first virtual activities, which we began running within a week of the initial lockdown. Young people identified that although they were doing something that interested them, it would be great to have something more generic that could be useful to all young people.
Young people and youth workers together came up with the idea of a live broadcast and came up with initial features which including spotlighting local services and organisations and some fun interactive games.
As YEPS TV is a live broadcast, we are able to get ‘live’ feedback. During the broadcast we run features that young people have requested and ask for live feedback and ideas as it happens, which we then try and implement for the next broadcast.
As a brand new concept, YEPS TV as a project is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of both the young people and also to wider society.
As YEPS TV is a live broadcast, the technological changes we needed to make initially were considerable.
One of the key lessons learnt was about content. We realized that we were generating content that could be extremely useful if we used it more efficiently. From the hour long broadcast we began ‘chopping’ content to create a few minutes of information about the services we have on that month. This allows us to geographically target this information, via social media, so that the information is easily accessible to those that need it most.
At a time when there was so much confusion about covid regulations for young people, YEPS TV was able to make the information easily understandable and because it was live, we could answer questions and correct misunderstandings immediately.
YEPS TV provided up to date information about the activities the YEPS service was running and how the young people could access them. YEPS TV also showcased the work of other youth organisations in the area and explained how young people could participate.
YEPS TV had spotlight features each month which focused on a particular topic/issue that had been identified by youth workers during the previous month. Young people had previously identified that one of the main barriers to them engaging in a new service was that they did not know anyone in that service and that they did not know what to expect. On YEPS TV, young people could see their youth worker have conversations with workers in other organisations and could ask questions. Young people stated that they would feel more comfortable asking for support for a particular organisation after they had seen the worker on YEPS TV.
The project idea and need were in response to lockdown so as a service we had no previous experience of delivering a project of this nature.
A core group of staff were involved to establish and run the project but over time, everyone from apprentices to managers have been directly involved in the project.
Initially there was a real lack of self confidence among certain staff about appearing both onscreen but also live. Staff’s confidence grew over time after seeing other workers participate and discussing the experience.
Staff gained experience working in a virtual format for the first time and gained new skills working with different types of hardware and software and knowledge of how they could be used to deliver quality youth work interventions.
YEPS TV constantly changed and developed to meet the needs of young people as society changed to respond to the pandemic. YEPS TV continued for 12 months in ever changing formats before having a short break for a couple of months to access how we build on our success and stay relevant going forward into hopefully a post pandemic society.
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