On 14th July 2022, The Young Foundation held a storytelling event at the Corby Rooftop Arts Centre, to share preliminary findings from the WP3 life course interviews. Those invited included policymakers, gatekeeper organisations, community leaders and local people to make a mixed and representative group for discussion.
Early analysis of interviews with 36 local people suggest that those with family support or support from community organisations are more likely to make positive progress in the areas of education, employment, and housing. In contrast, those who relied solely on support from formal institutions and local policies lagged behind their peers. For instance, financial support from personal networks allowed access to better housing.
An engaging workshop-style meet was set up for attendees, space for round table discussions, and posters highlighting key findings. Preliminary findings shared in this way included case study style stories and emerging themes related to issues of education, housing and employment experiences.
Over cups of tea and food, discussions and experiences were shared and covered personal experiences, the effect of national politics and policies, and ideas for creating social change at a local level.
The final part of the event was a reflection activity, where attendees were encouraged to choose one or more reflective questions to answer anonymously using a postcard format.
Most attendees, particularly those under the age of 42 recognised and related to the experiences of those interviewed, agreeing that support beyond policies and services is pertinent for social progression. For example, one attendee shared that his 30-year-old son lived with him rent-free for three years to save up for a mortgage deposit, so that he could become a homeowner. Another described his experience of being on the council list and the weekly bidding process to secure a social housing, for over four years. He currently lives with his parents, without whom ‘I would be homeless’ he said. He remains hopeful that he will eventually attain a council flat. Building more affordable housing for the local people from lower-income backgrounds is seen as a priority.
Corby’s infrastructure is also seen as part of the problem holding back young people: ‘We need the basics, we have no police station, no A&E, no hospital. Why would young people want to stay here when basic human requirements are a town away? Almost any job requiring a degree cannot be done in Corby, so you end up having no choice but to look elsewhere’. Not all agreed, however, with that assessment of employment opportunities: ‘make people work, there are a lot of jobs in Corby’.
Yet, reflecting preliminary findings from the WP3 interviews, attendees also spoke passionately about Corby’s close-knit community and the positive impact of community groups set up at a grassroots level. All were hopeful for Corby’s future.
Methods for youth participation were also discussed. Suggestions included: ‘create a group or board made up of younger people that have a say and can get involved in local decisions’ and increasing the provision of free adult education.
Further events to share the findings of the research will be taking place in Corby this autumn. Contact us if you’d like to be kept informed.