This assignment focuses on the Community of Featherstone which lies near the town of Pontefract and is situated within the Wakefield District. As part of the youth development support services I'm currently working on my secondary placement at Featherstone Community Centre which offers a youth club service I also do outreach work within Featherstone 1 hour per week. Whilst working in Featherstone I have been gathering hard and soft information gained an understanding of the history, population and environment that young people live in, recognising the needs of young people and the community lived in. The information gathered will be used to devise a programme of work to meet a particular need of its residents. The assignment will also be used to reflect on my placement and meeting my learning needs in my role in the community of Featherstone.
Featherstone main history focuses around the industry of coal mining which can be traced back to the 13th century (wakefield.gov.uk. 2009) 9.Â Featherstone Main and Ackton Hall collieries that once provided the town with work and was once influential on the lives of its residents, closed following the miners' strike of the 1984/85. (wakefield.gov.uk. 2009) 8.Â
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The (National Statistics 2006)17 state there is a population of "14,179" of which there are "6,779" Males and 7,396, Females. 98.31% of the ethnic population is White British compared to 86.99% uk (National Statistics 2004).16, 80.64% of People state their religion as Christian, 71.74% England, under 1% other religions, over 6% in uk 9.71 % No religion, 14.59% in England (National statistics 2004)18 This means much of the population has a lack of diverse cultures, ethnical and religious groups. This could result in racial discrimination through lack of understanding and education. The environment could feel alienating, uninviting, possibly frightening to other ethnic or religious groups visiting. The population of Featherstone according to (WMDC, n.d)5 is declining with a fall in the young people population whilst a rising in the number of pensioners. This could be down to new families not settling in the area and down to the large population that worked in the mines in the up to the 80s; this shows an increase in the need for provision for elders.
Featherstone ward is part of the Hemsworth constituency of which labour mp John Trickett is the elected representative. (Jon Trickett MP 2009)7. The Featherstone ward according to Guy, P( personal communication 30th December 2009) suggests has been controlled overall by the independent party for 6 years, this was previously shared by the labour party to which previously had controlled the ward for decades. At present the elected members are party councillor Roy Bickerton Mayor, Councillor Kay Binnersley and Councillor Pauline Guy. Politics and community participation and how it affects them, were discussed with some of the young people during detached work. (See reflective recording) 1
Wakefield gov (n.d) 5 states Home ownership in Featherstone is lower than the district and U.K; In fact (National statistics 2004) 6 reveals 25.44% own their home outright, 36.07% with a loan or mortgage compared to 29.19% and 38.88% in England. This is in comparison with 30.44% that are socially rented compared with 13.21 % in England. Whilst home ownership and mortgages not too dissimilar to national figures, when you consider house prices in Featherstone are well below national averages. £72,930 compared with £141,108 England. (Neighbourhood Statistics 2003)4. This is a vast difference and means that residents of Featherstone own property that is of low value, area lived in i.e. tax band and type of house. And with a large demand for social housing need could be due to low paid work, unemployment, ill health or ageing population. The (National Statistics 2004) 3 suggest Out of housing stock of 5,913 dwellings, there are more terraced houses, 37.50% compared to 24.48% England, Than any other type of dwelling in the area, and in comparison to that of detached housing which is 17.72% compared with 22.51% England . The (national statistics 2004) 1 also reveal that Out of a total population of, 14,054, 5,272 live in these 37.50% terraced houses. In comparison to 2,771 who live in detached houses. This means that the majority of young people growing up in Featherstone are more likely to live in terraced housing which is smaller than detached homes resulting in living conditions that are less spacious. When I walked around the community, in areas of social housing it was noticed how rundown the environment they lived in had become, this more so in Verner estate which the views of residents can be heard. See reflective recording 2.
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According to (Wakefield gov nd)10. The 2001 census Suggest People in Featherstone have difficulty in their Educational attainment of which half of inhabitants have no qualifications. The recent (Ofsted, 2009)12 inspection report of Featherstone high school showed each level achieved overall score of 2, (good). But within these sections it highlighted certain elements only achieved a score of 3 (satisfactory) these were-
The Standards reached by learners; are below the national average.
Attendance of learners, A small percentage of students, mostly boys have poor attitudes to learning and are not achieving has well has other students.
How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being. The report recognised some personal and social development within school was good
How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?
But "students' awareness and understanding of cultural diversity in Britain are limited".
The (DFES, nd cited in national statistics 2006) 13 state that Attainment results in Featherstone high school 15 Year Olds Achieving 5+ A* - C GCSE are lower than national levels in nearly all subjects and there is a big gap in boys 30.8% compared to girls 41.0%.
This could impact on the future employment prospects of some young people impacting on the type of work they can do from skills and grades obtained, limit entry into further education (especially university). Young People may find it hard to move to other areas and compete for work so will be stuck in Featherstone and its low economic environment. With boys attaining less in school, could leave a gender gap in skilled employment and result in low paid work.
According to the (National Statistics 2004)20 there were 10,120 eligible workers in Featherstone of which 6,071 are economically active, 4,049 inactive, of which 10.52% are permanently sick / disabled compared to 5.30% England. This numbers twice as much as the national average and could be down to lifestyle, deprivation, industrial mining related health issues. In fact according to National Statistics (2004).11 suggests Out of a population of 14,175 there are 2,062 with not good health and "22.16% People of working age with a limiting long-term illness." 7.05% of households are not in work with dependent children compared to 4.83% uk. All the above figures highlight the need for social housing, deprivation of the area and the impact on some young people belonging to those families. (National statistics 2004) 15. when looking at the working population 16/ 74 YOUNG PEOPLE AGED 16 - 24, 28.02% are unemployed to which is not too dissimilar to 25.69 % England compared to over 50s who are 12.36% Featherstone 18.63% England. These statistics look as though young people are on average twice more likely to be unemployed as an adult. And how for some young people, especially with low educational attainment will find it hard to make a transition from home life to independence school to work. In an interview with some young people they stated Reflective recording 3.
The types of Employment for People aged 16-74 in Featherstone (National Statistics 2004) 14 is highest in: Wholesale & Retail trade; Repair of motor vehicles 21.16% and manufacturing 19.59, these are higher than in England. But in jobs like finance and business employment in these sections are lower than in the rest of England. This could be down to educational attainment of local population, social and economic climate and demand. When trying to gain access to jobs out of the area, or have access to other communities I looked at timetables of bus and rail services to and from Featherstone and Local Transport was poor, in terms of direct journeys to destinations out of the area. (National Statistics 2007)19 suggest 34.06% of households don't own a car, 26.84% in England which further makes it difficult and limits movement, social contact and job opportunities for residents.
The Chesney Community Centre Mcloughlin.M (personal communication,3 December 2009 )22 suggested that Chesneys offers adult education with courses varying from I.T, Maths, and English to photography beauty, allowing adults to gain skills, accreditation and to socialise with others) . This could help improve the lives of families and chances of employment and its social and economic rewards. When considering that 47.59% of 16-74 yr olds have no qualifications (national statistics 2004)21 Mcloughlin.M also suggests the centre offers young people a youth club on a Monday and Wednesday night. And his central to a detached youth programme on a Friday night.
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Featherstone Sports Centre at Featherstone Technology College opens to the community at certain times and has a Sports Hall, an Aspire Suite, a floodlit outdoor Games Area and a Swimming Pool. (Wakefield gov 2009)
OAKHILL CHILDREN'S CENTRE source Offers various parenting courses, health and family support and advice. This facility could mean that young carers', parents and children get a good start in life.
I walked around the community with a colleague and made a recording of its amenities and environment and a feel for the community lived in. I found that the local population had good amenities for health and daily living but there was a divide in environmental factors, housing conditions and a social integration of some young people's based on area lived. See reflective recording 3
3. Needs in the Community
Reflective recording 1, When speaking with young people around community issues they said they'd "felt need" and wanted to do something about decisions that affect them and their friends in their community. According to (Bradshaw. J 1972) taxonomy of need this is felt need turned into an "expressed" need, to want to participate in decision making and to be listened to about the decisions that affect them and their community.
Reflective recording 2. Using (Bradshaw. J 1972) taxonomy of need, When walking around Verner I "felt need" to ask residents about the environment they lived and to express their views on their needs. This was then turned into an "expressed need", residents demanding better living conditions. This can also be seen as a "normative need" a judgement based on my values and knowledge that young people and their families should live in better conditions. Also "comparative need" in relation to environmental services and community policing received in comparison to living in other areas.