A Shelter is an outdoor, unsupervised structure designed specifically to attract – and withstand – the attention of young people. It is always an open structure designed to meet the social needs of young people, a sheltered place to sit and talk. The roof provides shelter from the weather, whilst most shelters are open on all sides, enabling all round visibility and ‘natural safety’ for users, some shelters now include partial screening on one or more sides giving further protection from the elements.
Construction, shape, size, height and colour all vary and can be dependent upon location and price; this can vary from £5,000 to over £40,000.
They give an immediate demonstration of a commitment to include and cater for the needs of young people as a legitimate part of the local community. It also contrasts with the idea that ‘the rest of us’ see young people as a problem that needs to be resolved.
The structures known as Shelters have been in existence in Calderdale since 2001, when the first one was installed in Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge, and the two others were located in Rastrick and Siddal in 2004.
All have been part of a response to problems of anti social behaviour involving young people, usually congregating in large numbers on a regular basis, giving cause for concern to local residents and ultimately agencies such as Police, Youth Service, Council and Pennine Housing.
In all three areas this has been the case and has led to local people, young and old, coming together with a common cause to try and resolve the problem. In the case of Rastrick this was carried out as part of the Circle Project (an initiative supported by West Yorkshire Police to work with local people to develop responses to local problems and develop community involvement). The Shelter placed in Siddal was one of the ones purchased by the Police and sited in the park due to ongoing issues with young people.
Youth shelter toolkit
This Youth Shelter toolkit and pro forma is one of a series being created by the Calderdale Community Safety Team. These guidelines will help those groups or individuals who feel there is a need for a Youth Shelter in their area/community. It offers guidance and advice on how to progress their requirements and the step by step process that they should consider prior to any requests for a Youth Shelter.
The Calderdale Community Safety Team view is that Youth Shelters provide an appropriate space for young people to gather, providing they are what young people and the community want.
Youth Shelters will only be of benefit to the whole of the community if they are well used and sustainable. Sustainability cannot be achieved without going through the four stages laid out in this toolkit. Please contact your area Community Development Officer who will advise and guide you through all four stages. Names and contact details can be found at the end of the Youth Shelter Toolkit document.