We are delighted to launch our first Spotlight feature! Each month, our Spotlight feature will profile innovative practice from our network members to celebrate their work and share learning on the different ways in which Contextual Safeguarding (CS) can be applied. This month we share the work of Luke Billingham, a youth and community worker at Hackney Quest. Luke tells us why sports recreational cages are important places for young people and communities, why they are too often overlooked, and why and how we should consider them as part of Contextual Safeguarding (CS).
Luke wrote a very well researched and insightful report exploring the value and potential of sports cages for young people and whole communities, and offers guidance as to how this potential can be maximised with consideration to Contextual Safeguarding - including a suggested framework and ideas of actions for assessing and increasing the safety of cages in partnership with young people and local communities. This document hopes to be useful to a range of stakeholders, including safeguarding and youth work professionals, developers, local authority planning and regeneration officers, local and national decision-makers, housing associations, researchers and young people and parents.
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Luke Billingham is a youth and community worker at Hackney Quest, a long-running youth and community centre in Hackney, where he is involved with mentoring, exclusion prevention, youth voice and community development projects. Luke is also Head of Strategy at Reach Children's Hub, an innovative new charity providing cradle-to-career support for children and young people in Feltham, South-West London, from its base within Reach Academy. Alongside these "day jobs", Luke is involved with several criminal justice charities: with Haven Distribution as a trustee and volunteer, and with New Bridge and Longford Trust as a volunteer. This year, Luke co-authored the cross-party parliamentary Youth Violence Commission Final Report.
Hackney Quest is an independent charity that has been supporting young people in the local community since 1988. We work with young people aged 8-19 and their families through youth engagement activities, mentoring, residentials, and a wide range of community projects. We are dedicated to supporting each young person and family in whatever ways they need, and we work hard to help them navigate the systems they are involved with - the education system, the housing system, the criminal justice system, the immigration system, and so on. As well as a small, highly committed staff team, we have almost 100 fantastic volunteers. We love our community, and everyone who gets involved with Hackney Quest feels loved.
Luke Billingham (youth worker at Hackney Quest) tells us why sports cages can be hugely important for young people and whole communities, and offers guidance as to how Contextual Safeguarding can maximise their potential as positive and safe neighbourhood spaces.Download Podcast Audio
A suggested framework for assessing the safety of a sports cage informed by Contextual Safeguarding principles lifted from. This assessment is lifted from the report 'Sports Cages & Multi-Use Games Areas: Places of safety, places of harm, places of potential' (Billingham, 2020).
Images of cage lifted from 'Sport Cages: Places of safety, places of harm, places of potential, Billingham 2020'.