University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Effectivness of Partnership in the Implementation of Youth Strategies: A Case Study of Bromyard and Wychavon

Corcoran, Christine (2003) The Effectivness of Partnership in the Implementation of Youth Strategies: A Case Study of Bromyard and Wychavon. PhD thesis, Coventry University in association with University College Worcester.

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The aim of this PhD is to draw together two very different strands of rural geography, namely: young people and partnerships. Partnerships and young people have been the subject of growing debate and, although there is interest in both areas, there has been little work carried out that combines the two to date. The aim of this thesis is to address that gap by studying one particular partnership, part of whose remit was to address issues and concerns of the rural young. Young people, despite initiatives such as youth councils, and youth fora, still operate in the shadows of the decision-making process and, as such, do not enjoy full participation; they are occupying a world in which adults still make decisions on their behalf. This is exacerbated by the fact that the decisions that are made are done so from an adult, rather than a young person’s, perspective. Considered from this position all young people, not just those in groups considered to be socially disadvantaged, are excluded by virtue of their youth and their powerlessness in an adult world. Partnerships, that is a group of public, private and voluntary actors working to a shared goal or goals, should have the capacity to overcome this lack of participation, as a significant portion of the partnership rhetoric is based upon integrating voices from the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’. Hailed as the new form of governance, such collaborative partnerships are being increasingly utilised to deliver goods and services that were previously the exclusive domain of local government. Nevertheless, in their turn, partnerships are also vulnerable to issues of power, conflict and accusations of ineffective working practices. The thesis examines these two disparate groups through a study of one such partnership. However, despite the emphasis on ‘bottom-up’ input, this particular partnership did not have direct representation from the young. This compromised not only its ability to draw young people’s voices into political debate, but also problematised, from a research point of view, the ability to gauge how effective integrative approaches really are. This was overcome by drawing on action research as a methodology which, in effect, situated the researcher between both parties; on the one hand, acting, as far as an adult can, as a ‘voice’ for the young, and on the other, as a researcher, in a position to follow the partnership and gauge the success of integrative approaches to policy-making. Through a combination of focus group discussions and self-completed questionnaires, key findings are: although young people do not see themselves as deprived, they experience exclusion through a paucity of rural services that is exacerbated by their geographical position along a continuum of rurality; young people are not a homogeneous group - although incremental differences in age may be small, the physical and social needs of a 12 year old or a 14 year old are significantly different which, when overlooked by planners, results in the creation of inappropriate facilities; young people exercise power over each other through their own social codes and practices that excludes some groups either socially or spatially; that there is a considerable amount of intergenerational suspicion that is embedded in the cultural practices of adult/child relations. These findings, and more, were reported to the partnership, which, although unable to implement change itself, was able to provide a springboard from which to broadcast the concerns of the young and one particular concern, inadequate transport, was eventually brought into policy recommendations. The results suggest that, although the effectiveness of the partnership was hampered by the fluidity of its membership and the delay in creating a strategic framework, it was its ability to network, during and even post-partnership, that was its greatest strength. The thesis concludes with suggestions for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: rural geography, rural areas, rural services, policy making, young people, partnerships
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Cathrine Lowe
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2009 09:53
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:49

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