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The young people are among the most vulnerable groups in society. Youths are susceptible to every event occurring daily in the society. This is because they are at a biological stage full of emotions. Additionally, they are victims of negative peer pressure and bad company. It becomes easy for them to get involved in hazardous activities such as drug abuse, riots, immorality and illegal businesses. Somerset Rural Youth Project is a voluntary youth organization charity working with youths between eleven and twenty five years in the rural Somerset.  The project started an excellence journey to secure the young people living in the Somerset rural areas, as well as other parts of the country. SRYP focuses on the following:

  • Providing individual youths with support and advice.
  • Offering a wide variety of volunteering activities.
  • Supporting youths to get involved in community development activities.
  • Providing access to positive activities and encouraging participation of the same. 

Somerset Rural Youth Project has a vision of making the young people in the rural areas feel a sense of belonging. It also has a willingness to participate as well as a future which is not limited by gaining access to services and opportunities. SRYP aims at supporting and engaging young people in rural areas in a variety of economic, educational, recreational and social opportunities purposed to encourage life-long learning and social inclusion.


  • To deal with issues of isolation, disadvantage affecting the young people and rural exclusion.
  • To increase employment opportunities and training of young people living Somerset rural.
  • To encourage societal regeneration using participation and good citizenship.
  • To offer advice and relevant information concerning the issues affecting individual youths in the area.
  • To participate and generate partnerships involving local stakeholders and young people.
  •  To involve youths the organization’s delivery and development.

Working Strategies
Somerset Rural Youth Project works in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies. The organization contributes to national development as an active partner of the voluntary departments. The organization applies a project-based strategy where projects differ in size from countywide services to small community initiatives. Every project has clearly identified objectives and aims to target accountability, fundraising and delivery.

Characteristics of the strategies

  • Responsive and flexible strategy to the needs of the youth, with a central task in the delivery and development of the programs.
  • Willingness to be creative and experiment in areas of innovative and new practice.
  • A variety of ways for engaging with the youth including, mobile provision, detached work, working with individuals, information and advice, rural young people club activities and  support programs.


 Generally, Somerset Rural Youth Project works, in villages of more than 3,000 people where CHYPPS or other SCC members do not provide services with open access to the young people. SRYP is located in Somerset County which number three in the rural county lists in England. It lies south of Bath and Bristol, it including some parts of Blackdown Hills Area, Exmoor National Park, Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills. Somerset is an area of contrast. The county is divided by a main trunk road and England’s most eventful motorways. It has several industries including traditional agriculture industry and a helicopter production. The county has a population of 500,000.  Almost 70% of the population lives in the villages, hamlets and market towns. Somerset Rural Youth Project targets the young people living in the hamlets and villages with populations of more than 3,000.

Somerset Rural Youth Project is registered charity project, which started working in 1997. The project was initiated to reach out to youths between the age bracket of eleven and twenty five. It is managed by a board of trustees. Heather Black is the Chief Executive of the project. Its purpose is to use the work of young people to assist youth participating, and to play a role to rural development in Somerset. The project has been active for more than one decade. It has a recognized record of achievement as a provider of services and a developer of approaches. The project has experienced staffs who have received reasonable help from private, voluntary and public sector organizations. SRYP started the excellence journey and have made efforts towards the destination. Many youths have benefited for the project and others will continue benefiting.

Somerset Rural Youth Project Activities

SRYP provides advice, guidance and information about, for example, budgeting, employment, health, and training and sports activities among others. Additionally, help designed to assist youths acquire jobs, join a college, or gain skills through the SRYP’s Rural Skills Workshop is provided. 

Somerset Rural Youth Project has focused on testing and innovation since it was initiated. The project has continuously encouraged the staff to develop their skills and interests for the advantage of the youth. The staff is able to concentrate on their specific areas of work since they work in mobile teams all over the county. They use several strategies such as specially manufactured clips designed to transport different paraphernalia into the countryside, minibuses designed for easy switch to portable coffee bars, seminar and meeting rooms. Recently, the team has decided to concentrate much on economic and community programs as described.

The Economic Program

The economic program teams provide several means of support. These means are designed to assist young people access training or employment, or help them overcome individual problems. Projects in this program are:

•Moped Loan Scheme. This is a section of the national project “Wheels to Work” program. It has helped over 340 youths gain independence they require to join colleges or secure jobs.

• The Rural Employment and Learning (REAL). This team searches the youths who are hard to reach. These are the young people from minority tribes and other less privileged individual who need help. The team provides them with information, guidance and advice to help them move a step ahead. The team works closely with Job Centre Plus and Connexions. His team has the mandate to refer youths to other agencies if this is the most appropriate action.

• The Exmoor Rural Skills Workshop. This team assists youths who have been excluded from school. The team offers these young people with skills especially in traditional and rural craft skills to help them earn a living. The students are taught footpath maintenance dry-stone walling, conducting animal surveys, planting and looking after trees, as well as other general agricultural and conservation work. They are also guided on, personal development, anger management and respect among other values and morals.

• The MIME (“Me in my Exmoor”). This project enables youths on Exmoor to note down, in vision, and sound, interviews with grownups concerning their lives as well as, personal reflections concerning life today for youths growing up in remote rural areas. The project gave the youths a chance to consider the advantages of rural living. It also offered them with an opportunity to reflect on their ambitions, and methods of achieving them.

• The Rurality.com. This project takes infra-red equipped telephones, laptops and mobile satellite dishes to the youth living in the most remote area of the country. This helps the young people in these areas access the internet, mobile phones and learn basic information Communication Technology Skills. Using this project, SRYP staff has an opportunity to work with the youth and gather additional information on what they would like to have in the community. As a new step in the excellence journey, this project is planning to open a website for the young people.

The Community Program

Each of the Community Program’s four squads cover a certain geographical patch, and operate on a particular theme that reproduces the team members’ interests and strengths. These include:-

• Creative Arts. The SRYP’s arts-focused functions have confirmed successful in assisting young individuals to overcome their hardships. By visiting performers at operation, and by “call at”, some of the Somerset’s most hardships to get reach young individuals have found that, they have creative gifts, and are capable to channel them in a positively way for their own benefits, and the wider good of the society. For instance, a group of adolescent individuals have been transported to watch architectural sculptures and gargoyles at Muchelney Abbey. This produced an exposition of twenty faces, referred to as the Totem, that has since successfully toured the whole county.

The project’s attainments are substantial, and usually nearly ten years, which is the number of supporters, and partners is also substantial. Five Rural Youth Plans: The Somerset Country Youth Project

• Developing Sports. SRYP’s Activity and Sport Mentoring scheme motivates young individuals to be involved in relaxed sports functions, and to study about healthy routine. These functions have been valuable in assisting to develop young individuals’ decision making skills, and, by operating with village singing field committees, in order to improve community kindred. This functions ware featured at the two main Sport England summits, and ware complimented for the means in which it intricate both the wider community and the youth.

• Crime Reduction. SRYP staffs works with young individuals and agencies, for example, (the Safer Sedgemoor Partnership and further education colleges) to establish various approaches to reduce rural crimes. These ranges from linking young individuals in mending a car shelter, eliminating graffiti, and examining how to lower criminal actions, to inform about material misuse, car, moped maintenance, personal finance, independent living, cookery and sexual health.

• Heath Education Guidance. SRYP staffs recruit young individuals to train as earl educators. These volunteers appear weekend residential sequences that cover child protection, listening skills and communication. They as well learn things concerning the operations of various other agencies, and when and how to refer individuals to them for assistance.

As the overhead outline explanations highlights, the operation of the SRYP is wide, both in its geographical coverage and its scope. The project’s accomplishments are significant, and, after about ten years, the figure of supporters’ partners is as well considerable. With seventy five part time and full staff functioning with a number equivalent or almost two thousands young individuals a year. With money imminent from around fifty bases, SRYP is a quite large association with weighty management problems. Given that, when it commenced its money originated from two chief sources, that is, the Rural Development Commission (RDC) and the County Council. The effects of the vicissitudes in its funding arrangements are significant and, consequently, as highlighted below, it is worth sightseeing.

The methods of payment

In 1997, the project was given a £1,000,000 for Rural Hardship scheme grant two, to be used over three years. The County Council offered an additional £100,000 payment for all of the three years, and goes on to offer this amount every year until today. The project’s managers focused, of course, to get sufficient additional sum to substitute the Rural Hardship contribution.

The SRYP management and Board’s team’s strategies were meant for the plan to expand to the extent where it had contracts and grants worth £1,000,000 every year. The strategies’ list of partners and supporters is quite impressive, and for a number of years after the culmination of Rural Hardship, SRYP’s income went up constantly towards £1,000,000. However, the major alterations coming up from, for instant, Defra’s Modernizing Rural Delivery Work, and the step in the direction of Local Area Agreements and Children’s Trusts have notwithstanding unintentionally, united to put the strategies’ future in a number of doubts. Attached with this, groups that continued to provide potential subsidy were, since of their requirement to demonstrate worth for money, rising unable to offer support to the project due to its typically rural elevated per-capita tax comparative to those experienced by urban-based schemes. Currently, thus, the scheme is experiencing difficult times, partially, to quote Heather Black, since, “The credit that, rural services charge more to offer, and the gravity that was exacted by the Rural Proofing procedures, seems to have vanished.”

Challenges that the project is facing

Although, in overall, SRYP’s report is quite encouraging, there are various concerns that the operational, financial and political systems inside which the scheme and its followers work, although operational at enabling perspectives to be confirmed, and services to be offered for relatively short times, do not give these same perspectives, when confirmed to be operational, to be widely assumed as standard repetition (that is, in the waffle, to be mainstreamed). Transformation is, of course, natural, painful and inevitable however, it will be for persons, if the schemes’ work was, for instance, to be completely adopted into another organization, the experience and learning of the previous ten years will not be waste. Staff fears that, this is improbable to occur, however, and that, in the current ambiance, must SRYP have to end, much of its chores example, the Moped Loan plan will not extend, and regardless of how cost-effective and successful it had demonstrated to be.

The purpose, of course is for the strategy to extend its chore. Subsequently, SRYP’s staff spends most of their stints (approximately twenty five percent on average) concocting bids and succumbing progress intelligences to funding organizations. This importantly, but time consuming activity clearly lessens the amount of periods that staff has to use working with fledging people.

An example of SRYP’s Supporters and Partners

Somerset County Council

The National Lottery

The Countryside Agency

Sedgemoor District Council

South West Regional Development


Somerset Skills and Learning Council

Exmoor National Park Authority

The Environment Agency

European Social Fund

Wheels to Work

Sport England

Somerset Drugs Action Team

University of Central Lancashire

Mendip District Council

Somerset County Youth Service

Mendip Community Safety Partnership

Somerset Transport Group

South Somerset District Council

Somerset Youth Partnership

Taunton Deane Borough Council

Bridgwater College

West Somerset District Council

Somerset College of Art and Design

Strode College

Richard Huish College

Henry Smith Charitable Trust

Yeovil College

Rural Stress Information Network

South West Foundation

Make Space 4 Children


Rural Youth Trust

Department for Skills and Education 7 Rural Youth Scheme: The Somerset Rural Youth Project. To add on this, the need also to ensure – quite rightly - that the objectives of the organizations that fund SRYP are achieved reduces the freedom to test new ideas. The project has, in some ways, therefore, become less innovative – an irony given the emphasis put on innovation by many funding organizations.

Nevertheless, SRYP continues to raise money, and to cultivate means of working with adolescent people. Though the financial atmosphere is hard, and the schemes’ future not completely secure, SRYP is certainly an example of a good practice. Again, it is indisputable that, its capability to segment this good repetition widely, possibly nationally, and to assist others to embrace its established means of operation, is, for a number of policy and financial constraints, both in uncertainty, and external the rheostat of the scheme and its various partners.

By the real nature of the exertion we organize with adolescent people in bucolic areas, means of transport has continuously been an important problem; public conveyance is usually very imperfect and in various cases of non-existent, adolescent people usually cannot manage their peculiar and may depend on friends and parents or might simply blunder out on a chance for training, socializing, or work with their friends.

SRYP's advanced Moped Loan plans provides them with cheap moped at a reasonable prize while backing up the adolescent person and assisting them regarding organizing their transport.

In many years, demand has usually surpassed supply. As from November 2010, strengthened by its contemporary fleet of eighteen machines, SRYP can assist more adolescent people regarding independence. SRYP recognizes the influence made by backing from the Moors and Levels Local Action in rural communities funds in the acquisition of these mechanisms.

New Skills; Learning how to uphold a moped

In an pioneering leeway to the Moped  Loan plan, as well as providing young people with mopeds, SRYP should be consecutively Moped Workshops in which young person’s learn the skills required to maintain a moped just on the runway. In this mode, not only can young people be gifted to maintain their own moped on the runway, the skills acquired will assist their employability, maybe leading to a career in motor maintenance or engineering.

The funding of £28,000 originating from the Housing Association has permitted the Youth Project to source the further mopeds to adolescent persons to assist them getting into training or work, and within some days of earshot the exciting news; workers secure themselves a place as a trainee mason. 

The training takes several years, in which the time will be necessary to appear college, and will be using the moped to get in there. “I really enjoy crafts and building, so this is ideal and will keep me outdoors, which is what I really wanted” a person said. Following the management statement of funding regarding £1billion to assist tackle the difficulty, which has developed shoddier since the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was scrapped, they are delighted to become a step ahead, and have changed their live. 

Moped Loan Plan– well on-the-road maintenance or equipped for an in-house

A group of volunteers established about changing the donated cars to transport bikes to customers’ plan, and with the contribution of a toolset have tailored it out for the frontline servicing and repairs. With its current signage, the car can now be seen about and out throughout Somerset, transporting bikes to all MLS customers who cannot access to the workshop at Edington in the effort to get their own moped repaired or serviced.

Ewan Black, who is kneeling on right in photo, who is the MLS Plan Worker said, “Our new car means a big leap advancing in the functions offered to young people; recently repaired a moped great on Exmoor, nighttime on a severely cold night having the car which meant that, I was able to operate in a well-lit and warm environment, with all the gears required to hand. The equipment donated gives appreciated work knowledge for students from different motor businesses who sacrifice their time to maintain our flotilla of bikes on the runway.”

Looking Ahead

Heather Black, the Chief Executive of the project plans to make the project more business-like. She believes that, seminars and workshops will help the youths and the staff brain storm, and come up with wonderful ideas for transforming the organization. The organization is currently a self-assessment project, and a new business environment will be beneficial. Heather believes learning to be more competitive is significant. The youths have to learn how to innovate for them to continuously deliver quality services to their clients. She has come up with for points to help in the long-term business plan.

  1. Completing Exeter University study concerning youth’s aspiration. This will take the project to a new market place.
  2. Gaining C2E accreditation as an honored external marker of dedication to quality.
  3. Hire a business development manager to help in selling and marketing services.
  4. Launch a training drive with an aim of encouraging the youths to work hard in their services.


The SRYP has existed for about ten years now. It has operated with an approximate number of 15,000 young persons from all across country Somerset. The plan’s mobile teams of specialist are equipped with particularly designed trailers and vehicles, and take a wide range of functions in social and economic to young individuals living in Somerset’s various minor villages, that is, those with lower than 3,000 occupants. Project staff works with various partner organizations and are capable since of their nature of projects and mobility to reach out to the young people in means denied to various statutory organs. Though the project has confirmed its worth, it demonstrates a good practice. It has approaches which are well-structured for use somewhere else in the region, and is well-reinforced regionally, nationally, as well as locally. Its future is just like various projects, not secure.

It is hard to see how monetary security can be achieved, provided with the nature of the plans’ operation, and the contemporary financial and political climate. Similarly, after eleven years, it is hard to imagine a very how Somerset’s country young persons will fare with no Somerset Country Youth Plan. For as David Clitheroe, SRYP’s Chairman, highlighted that, “I have come across some of the adolescent people who utilizes the project’s operation, and several of the staffs, both contribution my trust in the talent and contribution of young persons in Somerset. SRYP is especially concerned to ensure that, talents prosper in the more country areas of the state where a little assistance can pursue a quite long way.

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