Godalming Healthcheck Report

5 Youth

Summary of our findings

5.1 The Key Findings were gathered from a questionnaire [130], an audit of facilities for children and young people [131] and interviews with people who are locally involved in this field [132] and with the young people themselves [133].

Godalming Junior

5.2 The Parents' Questionnaire was delivered into the homes of children and young people with the co-operation of the nurseries, primary and secondary schools in the area. Over 3,000 questionnaires were sent out and 172 were returned via the schools.

5.3 The Parents' Forum was held a few weeks after the questionnaire was sent out and attended by 18 people. There was a Power Point presentation of the results of the Parents' Questionnaire followed by a brainstorming session [134]. An invitation to the parents was included in the questionnaire and it was publicised locally with posters and flyers.

Godalming College

5.4 The Audit looked at what was available to toddlers, children and young people in the area; it did not include sports facilities or after school clubs.

Facilities and events for Toddlers

5.5 Godalming and its surrounding area have much to offer families with young children. It is regarded as a strong family friendly community [135].

5.6 There are many Toddler Groups, the majority associated with churches; there are two toy libraries [136] and many privately run classes [137].

5.7 There is a strong NCT network offering pre natal classes, linking new parents together, organising sales and producing the booklet "Toddle to Godalming" [138] [139]

Busbridge Junior

5.8 Preschools and nursery schools are distributed throughout the Healthcheck area. There is a wide choice of these facilities and registered child minders [140].

Surrounding Countryside

5.9 For families the pleasant setting of Godalming is an asset with the ease of access to the countryside and the coast being thought important. Local National Trust sites play their part in this. Families can enjoy this environment whilst using the transport links to Guildford and London for work and pleasure [141]. Godalming is experienced as a quiet town [142].


5.10 Parents feel the town is a safe place in which to bring up their children [143].

Few Facilities for Young People Aged 10-16

5.11 The audit showed a limited choice of church run youth clubs and no 'open' secular youth clubs. The survey and the interviews showed a strong concern about this situation [144] [145] [146] [147] [148] [149] [150] [151].

5.12 Youth workers pointed out that as a commuter area there were many parents who would arrive home around 19.00 leaving a key period between 15.30 and 19.00 when young people might have no one to go home to [152]. This is the time of day when most teenage crime is committed [153].

Public Transport

5.13 Public transport was seen by parents and young people as expensive and inconveniently timetabled [154] To site new youth projects locally, where they were most needed would prevent this difficulty [155] [156] or a dedicated transport service home from youth venues such as that devised by Cranleigh Arts Centre [157] for its "FLY" events.

There is Nowhere for Young People to Meet Informally

Community Venues

Godalming community venues
(click for larger version)

5.14 Young people like to meet up with their friends after school but police move them on from the centre of Godalming when they gather in groups. Railway staff do the same to groups at Farncombe station [158].

Staffing Youth Venues

5.15 Concern was shown by the parents, the youth workers and the young people themselves over the pragmatic issue of staffing youth venues [159] [160] [161]. Some have been associated with other local youth clubs that have closed recently for this reason [162].

5.16 There is a shortage of trained youth workers and volunteers who would be willing to under go statutory checks and training. Young people and their families want a youth club that would be open at weekends and throughout the holidays [163].

Residents Resistance to Local Youth Projects

5.17 Young people and youth workers were aware of local youth projects, which have faced the hostility of local residents in the past and anticipate similar difficulties in the future [164].

More Visible Police Presence

5.18 Young people feel vulnerable when walking and when using public transport in the evening [165]. There was a strong desire for a more visible police presence as a solution to this and to curb the unacceptable behavior of the minority [166].

Youth Meeting Places (Informal)

5.19 Young people talk of very simple requirements, somewhere to meet in groups in the evening to talk [167] [168]. In the Parents Questionnaire the idea was described as a 'Sheltered Meeting Place'; the term is actually 'Teen Shelter' [169].

Youth Meeting Places (Formal)

5.20 With 'blue sky' thinking the young people described many ideas for a formal meeting place, much of it based on informality [170]. The old notion of giving young people plenty of space and plenty to do is out of date. They want to 'be' to 'chill', to chat peer to peer and, occasionally, youth to adult [171] [172]. Such a place might include Internet access, a caf, and simple provision for performing and recording their live music [173] [174] [175] [176] [177] [178].

5.21 On a larger scale such a venue might host gigs, live music, disco and art and drama events, something that both young people and parents express a desire for [179] [180] [181] [182] [183] [184] [185].

Action Points

5.22 It was the young people who initiated the ideas, which were amplified in the later stages by professionals, so it is essential that the work of implementing the vision of the Healthcheck has young people at its centre. Consultations revealed a reservoir of concern and enthusiasm in the community about facilities for young people, something which has given the vision for the future depth and energy. We suggest channelling that energy in the following three ways:

Short Term Actions

Y.1. Encourage the use of existing venues for live music, discos and other events. A simple strategy should be developed to encourage and facilitate local groups and individuals who propose to organise public events for families and young people. Information and advice would be available on logistical planning, funding and legal matters.

Y.2. To seek funding for Teen Shelters [186] and to involve young people in a project to choose their location and design.

Y.3. To implement these plans in consultation with the local community.

Long Term Actions

Y.4. To establish a working group comprising young people, youth workers, local churches' representatives and parents to enter into a joint venture with the Trinity Trust Team to develop their concept of a totally inclusive youth venue incorporating an internet caf with counselling and information services in addition to music, arts and drama [187].

Y.5. To develop a fully costed and prioritised Action Plan for its implementation.

This page updated on 6 Jul 2009