Community Insight and youth unemployment

By Thames Menteth-Wheelwright, Marketing Lead - on 19/03/2021

A conversation with Sally Ross, Community Engagement Lead Officer at Magenta Living, on how her team have been using Community Insight to tackle youth unemployment.

How do you use Community Insight in your work?

In my role as Community Engagement Lead Officer at Magenta Living, the biggest provider of affordable  housing in  Wirral, I tend to use Community Insight for work around employment and skills.

Have you used the tool for a particular project?

Community Insight was especially useful for a project we delivered with Tranmere Rovers Football Club around youth unemployment. The pot of funding we used for delivering the project was a legacy fund that came through one of our contractors.

The project involved identifying 12 young people to help. Since the Wirral is a diverse borough, this was a challenge.

Some parts of the Wirral are affluent, where kids have lots of opportunities and supportive parents who can link them up with work experience. In other areas, young people lack those support networks because their parents may not work and there is a lack of positive role models. Those more deprived areas are where our neighbourhoods tend to be located. But even within our neighbourhoods we know that there are huge variants in levels of youth unemployment.

The picture is complex, so we looked to data on Community Insight for help. The tool gave us vital local insights on NEET levels, youth unemployment levels, the unemployment of young adults, and let us compare that information against the number of young people living in our properties.

Using that data, we were able to narrow down our selection to six priority neighbourhoods that all had large concentrations of young people and high percentages of youth unemployment. 

What was the biggest benefit to using Community Insight on this project?

Community Insight was important in justifying our decisions about why we focused on some areas and not on others. There’s one area in Wirral which has a strong community voice and high levels of tenant and resident involvement. It would have been easy for us to decide to spend money there to make those residents happy.

Community Insight gave us an objective basis to show that the area wasn’t a right fit for this project. To that community, we were able to say: it’s not that we don’t think you deserve this project, it’s that the data shows young people in other areas need it more.

Community Insight gives me the facts and figures to back up those decisions, to the Board and to our communities.

What ways has Community Insight been helpful to thinking about the socio-economic profiles of your areas?

We know our neighbourhoods and the areas in which we work, but Community Insight gives us the evidence we need to back up anecdotal knowledge. With the youth unemployment project, the tool let us say to our partners: we want you to recruit young people from these six specific areas and here’s why.

It takes effort to reach those young people who we know would benefit most from a project like this, but you’ll have a much bigger impact if you do. Community Insight made that selection process a lot simpler and quicker.

Other ways you use Community Insight?

I also use the employment data on Community Insight to help plan publicity campaigns. 

The data on the map is useful in showing where large numbers of our working age population reside, as well as where unemployment rates are high. Within those areas I then look at where there are community spaces like libraries and doctors’ surgeries. I have used that information to know where to put posters and distribute information.

We’re also involved in a project with Communities that Work and the Learning and Work Institute. The data they’ve been asking us for is data that I’ve found on Community Insight. 

We’re looking at developing some pilots and need to decide where we want to run those. I’ve been using the employment data from Community Insight to determine where I think those pilots should happen.


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