This 2 years’ project, which is financed through the European Commission Programme ERASMUS+ (Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnerships), started in May 2016 and aims at setting up, supporting and sustaining youth-led Community Hubs in marginalised communities in eight European countries. The “YEPP” approach and methodology of youth and community empowerment is at the heart of this project: Community Hubs respond to residents’ needs in the form of projects or services and are led by young people.Community Hubs use a structure of a youth centre, a youth club, community centre or citizen café and offer a model for community exchange, asset sharing and youth entrepreneurship. The services and projects in Community Hubs are aimed at improving the quality of life at local level.
1P: People (Resource & Needs mapping and idea development)
When aiming at sustaining youth initiatives and structures it is important to first analyse the needs and local resources even before developing ideas which could improve the quality of lives of residents and young people. With the aim of bringing about social change, young people conduct an analysis of needs and wants in their communities and develop their project ideas. Their ideas should have a community impact and sustainability aspect in it. The ideas are discussed and supported by a Local Stakeholder Circle which is set up of active citizens, NGO representatives, local funders, municipalities an young people. The Local Stakeholder Circle is coordinated by a youth coach having links to both young people and adults. At this stage, young people’s capacities are built through international training in idea development and social entrepreneurial thinking.
In order to inspire, motivate and engage young people, the “PEOPLE CHALLENGE” in form of a video competition featuring ideas of youth-led community initiatives is also launched at the beginning of this phase. The winners of this challenge win the “PEOPLE CHALLENGE AWARD”.
2P: Partnerships (Involve stakeholders in young people’s projects)
The best project ideas of young people get selected and are implemented. For these project ideas young people turn to the community in order to get necessary support for the implementation of the projects. Through community events such as presentations, donor circles or fundraising events young people’s ideas get visible and resources are secured by citizens and community stakeholders beyond the Local Stakeholder Circle.
Project ideas could be IT classes for elderly people, English classes for young people, consultancy for jobseekers, development of a community resource sharing platform, repair labs, self-defense course for women, small community businesses, etc. Some of the necessary resources for implementation could be financial, material, e.g. computers, rooms, etc. or human resources, e.g. volunteers ready to run IT or English classes.
The events are initiated by young people and supported by the Local Stakeholder Circle. Young people get trained in project and event management and fundraising.
Also in this case, young people will be enouraged to participate at the “PARTNERSHIPS CHALLENGE” in form of a video competition. The goal is to emphasise the Partnership aspect of youth-led community initiatives and the winners of this challenge will win the “PARTNERSHIP CHALLENGE AWARD”.
3P: Places (Youth clubs become sustainable as Community Hubs)
Young people’s projects and most successful initiatives turn into services for the community which are needed and used by the residents. Community Hubs are set up by young people and used as places by all residents for regular exchange of needs, projects and further initiatives to foster community empowerment and prosperity.
Through a social entrepreneurial approach, the youth-led Community Hubs: 1) serve the community and 2) generate income and/or resources making the community-oriented projects or services sustainable.
Young people and youth coaches exchange with their peers in Europe via the European online platform and coordinated coaching events & webinars. They attend the final conference to present the results and discuss the lessons learnt. The focus of the conference would be on sustainability, and steps to go forward as well as sustainability tools would be presented and discussed.
Also in this case young people will be inspired and encouraged to participate at the “PLACES CHALLENGE” in form of a video competition. The winners of this challenge will win the “PLACES CHALLENGE AWARD”.
The exchange among young people and youth coaches of the international project partners of this project undergoing the similar process enriches individual experiences and serve as a motivator through the phases of the project.
The project sets out the goal to test and evaluate the youth-led Community Hub model at the local and transnational level by young people and community stakeholders as well as its transnational support measures. Upon the end of the project, youth-led Community Hub Model is tested and evaluated at local and transational level. The fine-tuned and made available for other communities by the Network of Active Communities across Europe.
The long-term goal of the project is to empower young people to become active citizens with a multi-faceted skill set. The project aims at defining new models of youth initiatives with community outreach and social entrepreneurial design. It also intends to reinforce young people’s links to their community while creating human capital which would stay at the local level. Community Hubs are managed by young people and act as service and learning centres for other young people and members in their community
New Skills for young People
Upon the end of the project, youth-led Community Hub Model is tested and evaluated at local and transnational level. Young people and community stakeholders discuss the lessons learnt and collect best practice from the project. The Community Hub model is fine-tuned and made available for other communities in Europe and beyond. The Network of Active Communities is set up and coordinated by the partners of the project to ensure sustainability and dissemination of project results.