Department for Health

Your Space, Your Say: Young people have their say about leisure provision in Swindon

Mon Oct 02 16:37:00 BST 2017

Panelists speaking to attendees at the Your Space, Your Say event

— The Your Space, Your Say event was attended by the local community.


On the 21 September 2017, the Your Space Your Say exhibition revealed what young people really think about leisure provision in Swindon. 13 young people (aged 10-17) from diverse backgrounds in Swindon came together to voice leisure and broader health related matters that were important to them.

The event, held at the STEAM Museum, attracted over 70 people including young people, family and friends and local policy officers/providers across sport, health and family services in Swindon. The aim of the exhibition was to listen to the difficulties young people face when engaging in physical activity, sport and leisure in the community.

This public engagement event was facilitated by Annaleise Depper, a PhD Student in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. Annaleise’s research aims to raise awareness of key health and social challenges in Swindon.

In Swindon, recent reports show that the majority of children and young people, aged 5-15, fail to achieve recommended levels of physical activity, and the results are worse for families living in areas of high deprivation. In the project, Annaleise wanted to find out:

  • Why was this?
  • How do young people think and feel about being active?
  • What do young people think should be done to improve the health of their local community?

Over the past 9 months, young people from various services and charities had the opportunity to voice their experiences of leisure through creative methods, such as film-making, taking pictures of the community and designing collages and posters. At the exhibition, the young people showcased these creative outputs, while further articulated their views through a series of speeches and panel talks.

Outputs included a short film about Swindon junior parkrun, produced by the young people and film makers from Create Studios.

Not Just a Run in the Park

The exhibition attracted local publicity in the run up to the night, including articles from The Swindonian and the Swindon Link .

Steve Boocock, Chief Executive of Wiltshire & Swindon Sport (WASP), commented; “Including young people in decision making about issues that affect them or interests them is a vital part of improving our communities. The Your Space Your Say exhibition highlighted some of the important issues that affect young people's participation in sport and leisure how creative they can be about expressing these when provided with the right opportunities. I would encourage all those involved in the planning and delivery of sport and leisure to learn more about the study and the ways in which young people can contribute to our planning for the future.”

Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and School Attainment, said: “It is heartening to see so many young people take an interest in their environment and want to have their say. They have been exploring social challenges in Swindon as well as reimagining future health and sport policies from a young person’s viewpoint. This is an ideal way for anyone with an interest in these areas to incorporate their voices into future strategies for health and physical activities in Swindon.”

You can read more about the findings from Annaleise’s PhD research in the Your Space, Your Say summary report.