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Who are Sefton Young Advisors?

Sefton Young Advisors are a group of 14 young people aged 15- 23 from across the Sefton borough; their role is to work with councillors, leaders and key decision makers to ensure that the voices of young people are heard in both the individual and wider community. They bring unique expertise and knowledge about being young in their area to influence organisations.

Young advisors offer a range of services including youth proofing documents, consultations and designing tailor-made activities to engage with young people. The Sefton Young Advisors team have won awards for their work and have worked together with many organisations including: Local Authorities, Public Health and the NHS. The Sefton Young Advisors have worked on a number of topics including: health and wellbeing and environmental projects.



A Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) is a document that explains how the land over the Liverpool City Region can be used, which helps to shape where LCR residents live, work and play.

The SDS contains rules and policies for housing, transport, employment, health and the environment. This should be shaped by local communities, as the residents know the areas best. By gathering the thoughts of people who live in the Liverpool City Region, the Combined Authority can decide which areas to invest money in and what areas need improving the most.

Sefton Young Advisors have been in contact with young people from across the six regions that make up the Liverpool City Region: Liverpool, Sefton, Halton, Wirral, Knowsley and St Helens. Gathering the views from as many areas as possible is important to get a fair overview across the LCR and to ensure the main issues are covered and money is spent appropriately.

Areas discussed:

  • Climate Change and the Environment
  • Place Making and Communities
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Inclusive Economy


Sefton Young Advisors were commissioned by the Combined Authority to gather young people’s opinions (aged 11 to 25) on the Liverpool City Region’s Spatial Development Strategy. The questions asked were based around the 4 key themes and their policies.

The Young Advisors gathered views from 80 young people across the six local authority areas (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral).

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 all views were gathered via an online survey through the platform SurveyMonkey and online focus groups using Zoom.

Working with the Combined Authority, Sefton Young Advisors devised questions that were appropriate and youth-friendly, using examples and definitions where possible which allowed for more accurate responses.

Online Survey

An online survey was released on Friday 18th December 2020 for six weeks which gathered the opinions from 59 young people. The survey consisted of 19 questions which were split up and ordered into the 4 key themes.

The Sefton Young Advisors used SurveyMonkey, an online survey software that helps produce and run professional online surveys. The survey was distributed through social media and by contacting appropriate organisations to increase participation.

Focus Groups

To allow greater in-depth engagement, young people were consulted with via focus groups online using the video platform Zoom. Youth organisations from across the boroughs were contacted by email and telephone to secure consultations. Engagement was difficult due to the changing restrictions and delivery of services due to Covid-19.

Throughout January 2021, consultations took place with 3 youth service providers, in total having conversations with 21 young people. A presentation was used with a mixture of interactive poll questions and chances for more in-depth conversations; the consultations gathered further valuable opinions.


Climate Change and the Environment

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the most important?

The policy which young people said was most important (27%) was ‘Reducing greenhouse gas emissions’.

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think

is the least important?

The policy that young people said was the least important is, ‘Making sure we are prepared for floods’ (42%).

Focus Group

Litter – Young people think that the implementation of more bins should be focused on the paths of dog walkers. They felt that this waste is one of the main litter issues.

Pollution – Pollution in the River Mersey has been noted by the surrounding residents. Young people feel it’s unacceptable for the river that our city is built around to be treated in such a way.

Electric Car Charging – An increase of charging points for electric cars is thought to encourage the use of electric cars within our region, further reducing the carbon emissions and fuels burned into our atmosphere.

Placemaking and Communities

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the most important?

50% of young people said ‘Making sure we have the right homes, in the right places for the

right people’. This is a policy that is clearly important to young people.

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the least important?

43% of young people said that, ‘Ensuring that future buildings look good and are sustainable’ is the least important, followed closely by ‘Protecting and using historic and cultural buildings for now and for the future’ (36%).

Focus Group

Improvement – Young people would like to see more derelict buildings and old warehouses being transformed and renovated into homes/flats/workspaces.

One Pound House Scheme – The ‘Wavetree One Pound House Scheme’ was brought up in one focus group. Many considered this a great project and would like to see similar projects in the future, as it made the community look better and provided affordable housing for all.

Homelessness – Young people feel it would be beneficial to open more homeless shelters, which would provide rehabilitation. The shelters could provide the homeless with a chance to increase their employability skills.

Inclusive Economy

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the most important?

21% of young people said ‘Ensuring everyone benefits from the growth of the economy’ as the most important policy.

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the least important?

30% of young people said ‘Building up town centres’ was voted the least effective policy

in the creation of an inclusive economy.

Focus Group

Shops – Young people said lots of shops and services have closed recently which has led to the deterioration of town centres. We would like to see more investment in town centres, especially after the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses.

Creative Industries – The consultations revealed a greater need for financial support within the creative industries so future careers can be efficiently supported.

Careers and Education – Young people discussed having access to cheaper broadband to allow more young people to access education online from home.

Another suggestion was to subsidise laptops or tablets for children who may not have them for school work.

Health and Wellbeing

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the most important?

39% of young people said “protect and support places for health, wellbeing and community” was the most important.

Question: Imagine you are the Metro Mayor, which of these policies do you think is the least important?

57% of young people said that ‘reduce the number of fast-food places near young people

in areas of high obesity’ was least important to them.

Focus Group

Virtual Consultations – Virtual health consultations were discussed in one focus group with young people feeling that doctor and hospital services were harder to access during the Covid-19 pandemic. Young people said that the waiting times for calling 111 have increased since the pandemic.

Leisure Centres – Young people emphasised the importance of gyms and leisure centres for both their physical and mental health; some young people felt that there were no gyms and leisure centres close enough for them.

Fast food – Young people felt that they enjoyed having fast food places near to them as they can use them as places to socialise with friends.


Question: Would you prefer to interact with the Combined or Local Authority?

Question: Is social media a good way to interact with the CA?

Question: Would you interact with the CA through school and youth groups?

Question: How important is getting feedback from the Combined Authority?

The average answer from young people was 6 out of 10.

Question: What social media platforms are best to engage with the Combined Authority? (select all appropriate)

Question: What is the best way for the Combined Authority to interact with Young People?

Focus Groups

“I would like to read a newsletter. It could be sent out via email each month to keep us updated on the CA work.”

“It would be useful if the Combined Authority had their own app for us to engage with – when we log on we can see updates.”

“Engaging with school councils would be useful as they represent the students in school and can be used to share their opinions.”

“Young people would like to hear feedback, knowing that their opinions count and they are not

just ‘ticking boxes’. This would encourage them to get involved in the future.”


To summarise, an online survey and virtual focus groups were used to gather the opinions of the SDS from 80 young people across the Liverpool City Region.

Issues Faced

Covid-19 – When the Combined Authority first commissioned the Sefton Young Advisors, there were plans to do face-to-face consultation with groups and organisations across the LCR. In March 2020, the country went into a national lockdown due to Covid-19, schools and youth groups were disrupted, some were closed, some operated online virtually and there we were unable to arrange face-to-face meetings. The plan for the commission had to change several times with changes in restrictions put into place meaning groups were contacted online which had a negative effect on engagement numbers.

Survey – An issue with the online survey is that there were a proportion of people that skipped some questions asked. This means that we may have missed some valuable opinions of young people in the Liverpool City Region.


The Sefton Young Advisors engaged with 80 people through both an online survey and through three focus groups, held online.


We asked the participants what gender they identified as:

27 participants identified as males, 41 females, 1 other and 8 would prefer not to say. 3 people skipped this question.


We engaged with young people from ages 11 to 18, this age increased to 25 for individuals with special educational needs. Here is a list of ages with the number of participants in brackets:

11 (2)

12 (1)

13 (4)

14 (7)

15 (10)

16 (6)

17 (11)

18 (9)

19 (2)

20 (4)

21 (6)

22 (6)

24 (1)

3 participants were outside of our target age range and 8 participants did not state their age.


We asked the participants if they considered themselves to have a disability:

14 answered yes, 55 answered no and 11 people skipped.

Ethnic background:

We asked the participants what was their ethnicity:

56 answered White British, 1 Mixed White and Black Carribean, 2 Mixed White and Asian, 1 Mixed Other, 1 Asian British, 1 Black British/African, 1 other. 11 people did not answer this question.


We contacted young people from across the six regions in the Liverpool City Region. Here is a breakdown of the postcodes provided:

L9 ON (1)

L8 8E (1)

L21 O (1)

L18 1 (2)

L21 5 (1)

L9 OL (1)

L23 3 (1)

L30 (2)

L23 (4)

L21 3 (1)

L21 9 (1)

L20 5 (1)

L30 3 (1)

L23 9 (1)

L30 5 (1)

L32 8 (1)

L34 1 (1)

L34 (3)

PR9 7 (3)

PR8 6 (5)

PR9 9 (2)

PR9 8 (2)

PR9 (1)

PR8 6 (1)

L9 8 (1)

L23 2 (1)

L23 0 (1)

L32 0 (1)

L32 (3)

L30 6 (1)

L21 (1)

L33 4 (1)

L23 5 (1)

L23 1 (1)

L10 2 (1)

L36 (5)

L30 1 (3)

L35 (2)

L36 (2)

L31 4 (1)

L31 5 (1)

L28 (1)

WN7 4 (1)

WA11 (1)

WA8 9 (1)

WA10 (1)

CH4 2 (1)

CH6 2 (1)

CH4 5 (1)

8 participants did not give their postcode.

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