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Raps, poems and real life stories

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We are looking for raps, poems and real life stories from young people aged 14-25 for Youth Word Up.

As part of Off the Shelf festival of words, Hive South Yorkshire are running their annual event: Youth Word Up – young people’s poetry, raps and real life stories. This is your chance to get involved. Book a one to one session with a professional writer today! Simply email: rywriters@gmail.com

You don’t have to write to take part, you can just tell your story, or record it anonymously. If you do want to be more involved, you could read your work at the Youth Word Up event, headlined by a top spoken word artist on Thursday 26th October.

Our impact on people in Sheffield City Region

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Sheffield Futures has proudly launched their annual Impact Report, demonstrating the ways in which thousands of people are benefitting from their services across the city.

The report for 2016/17 documents Sheffield Futures impact on young people, including supporting 3827 young people through one-to-one interventions and running 54 youth club sessions per week across Sheffield. The charity has presented 369 young people with Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and supported 816 young people to improve their attitude towards school. Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service have provided Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness training to 1093 young people in schools across the city region.

The charity provides mentoring and specialist support to those who need it most in the region. Sheffield Futures provide support and activities to help steer young people towards a more positive future, one in which they can fulfil their full potential in learning, employment and life.

The report was launched at Sheffield Futures Showcase Event on 18th July at the Workstation. At the event, four videos were shown, demonstrating how all Sheffield Futures services provide support to local people in four key areas: improved social skills, life skills and independence; enabling community participation and belonging; meaningful progression in education, employment and training and improved health and wellbeing.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Anne Murphy, launched the Showcase Event said: “Sheffield Futures have a huge impact on the lives of young people and communities in Sheffield. Today’s communities face many challenges and Sheffield Futures work is vital to helping local people overcome the barriers to success.”

Olympian, and Sheffield Futures Ambassador, Bryony Page, attended the event as well as Sheffield Young Advisors who were part of a “youth takeover” of all Sheffield Futures social media accounts. One young person on the Talent Match programme, Laura, told her story, from homelessness through to successfully sustaining employment. Young Advisor, Jess Chittenden, recorded a video where she talks about how Sheffield Futures have helped her to gain confidence and to become the person she is today.

The Impact Report 2016/17 is available on the Sheffield Futures website: https://www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Impact-Report-201617-small.pdf

Sheffield Vision for Young People

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Young people lead on creating their vision for Sheffield being launched, in partnership with Children and Young People’s Partnership Network (CYPPN). At a time of political uncertainty one thing is coming through strongly: that our children and young people care deeply about our city and country; and they have a huge amount to offer. Their success will generate economic growth, prosperity, and the lives they lead will generate a fair, inclusive and welcoming society. But young people today are growing up in the context of public funding cuts, increasing demand on services, and a changing environment driven by social media.

The Vision is simple: that everyone has the opportunities they need to enjoy their childhood and prepare for adult life as active members of their communities. CYPPN worked together with young people to understand the concerns, interests, hopes and aspirations that influence and inspire them. Sara Gowen from Sheffield Young Carers, co-chair of CYPPN, said: “the Vision puts young people at its heart. We will only achieve lasting change if we all work together with young people”.

Now more than ever we need to invest in our young people. As a city Sheffield is already facing challenges and is fragmented, with youth unemployment at above national average at 24.3%; 5.2% of teenagers are not in education, employment or training and a quarter of children in Sheffield were recorded as living in poverty. It is particularly important that we come together to listen to young people’s needs as community groups step in to make up for the shortfall in provision left as the Council allocates less funding for youth services. The voluntary sector makes a significant contribution to enhancing people’s lives and it is keen to work closely across all sectors to develop a shared plan for Sheffield. This Vision is just the start.

We understand the importance for every young person’s future of equipping them with the skills, experience and confidence they need to succeed. As a city we need to draw on the talents of every young person. Lesley Pollard from Children and Young People’s Empowerment, co-chair of CYPPN, said “we need to give young people a strong message that we value their contribution and care that they have every opportunity to succeed. Now more than ever that message of value matters – it is young people who form our future city”.

The full strategy can be downloaded from the VAS website, including the 7 outcomes young people in the city should expect for themselves, their family and friends.

Calling all political parties to focus on young people!

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We fully support National Youth Agency’s Manifesto, calling on all political parties to focus on young people. Find out more here.

“We believe young people need:


Recognise the value of youth work and develop a government-wide strategy that acknowledges its contribution to young people’s personal and social development. Invest in it and make it more accessible to young people.


Youth work based support can help young people take the opportunity that apprenticeships offer. Skilled youth workers support young people through the first crucial 6 weeks when the drop-out rate is highest and provide wrap around support for more vulnerable young people entering work for the first time.


Social action is great but a range of services catering for different needs should be available to young people and across a broader age range than 16-17 year olds.


Young people need financial know-how at key transition points in their lives – when they start a job, when they start living independently. Building these skills are as important as formal qualifications in supporting young people’s life chances. Government needs to back a comprehensive programme of financial capability and see investment in services of this kind as a long-term benefit.


Lower voting age to 16 years and acknowledge the contribution young people make to society at this age.”


Don’t forget to register to vote. You can do that here and it only takes two minutes – all you need is your National Insurance Number.


What are the main political parties policies for young people? Find out below:

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Rent to buy deposit-free homes for young people.
  • Housing benefit reinstated for 18-21 year olds.
  • Votes for 16-17 year olds.
  • Young person’s bus pass with two thirds discount.
  • £100 per week for start up entrepreneurs. Read more.

 Labour Party

  • Abolition of tuition fees and reintroduction of maintenance grants.
  • Free lunches for pupils.
  • Votes for 16-17 year olds.
  • Extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health.
  • Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.
  • Improve careers advice.
  • Investment – in teachers and facilities – in FE sector.
  • End the cuts to youth services. (no detail on this available yet)
  • Extend Staying Put arrangements to support all children and young people in residential and other forms of care until they are 21 (not just foster care). Read more.

Green Party

  • Scrap tuition fees and fund student grants.
  • Reintroduce the Education Maintenance Allowance.
  • Guarantee access to apprenticeships for qualified 16-25 year olds.
  • Raise the national minimum wage level to living wage levels for all.
  • Lowering the voting age to 16 and introducing political and active citizenship education for all young people. Read more.

 Conservative Party

  • Better access to mental health care in schools with teachers trained in mental health first aid and curriculum related learning.
  • Improve technical education to offer a real alternative to academic routes for young people.
  • Establish new institutes of technology which focus on STEM and are linked to employers and universities. Read more.

Mental Health Awareness Week #mhaw17 with Sheffield Young Advisors

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This Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked young people what made good mental health practitioners.

On Monday, at our Festival of Debate event #MakeYourMark young people told us that they believe “mental health needs to be taken more seriously.” 

“I have severe anxiety and I struggle to speak to people. I keep myself to myself and let all my frustration out when I get home. I wish that people knew I was suffering, that would help me to open up.”

It was discussed that young people would like to speak about mental health in schools: “I think that Mental Health Awareness should be taught in schools, perhaps through role-playing exercises at least once a term so that people know about it and know how to help others.”

The group believed that: “There needs to be more support for young people and a place to go if you’re stressed about exams.”

Some young people felt thatMental health services are stretched to capacity.”

One young person said: “Everyone should be treated the same, including people with mental illness – they should be told off when they say something mean and doing mean things.”

It was felt that there is not enough awareness in schools and that “Mental illness should be as important or visible as physical illness. If someone’s off for a broken arm, when they come back people are loving, if you’re off with mental health problems then people don’t know how to act around you.” 

Designing the Future: Climate Change

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These blog posts were collated by Sheffield Futures staff, based entirely on ideas from a range of young people in Sheffield at our ‘Designing the Future’ workshop, where we asked them to discuss various topics, identify the key issues and come up with potential solutions. We strive to give a voice to all young people, so all of their points of view have been included. 


Our planet’s resources are dwindling – unsustainable sources of energy, like fossil fuels, are being taken advantage of. The carbon dioxide emitted contributes to the Greenhouse effect, and the resulting global warming would make sea levels rise and cause many countries to be flooded. Many people travel alone to work in a car that can fit 5, which is clearly a waste of petrol.

Our increasing consumerism demands more electricity and more meat – but mass farming of livestock increases methane levels, contributing to the greenhouse gases and therefore to global warming.

The government’s taxes on renewable energy are set to rise, meaning the sector will suffer – less people will be able to afford it, meaning less money will go towards researching and refining methods of acquiring sustainable energy.



One of the crucial ways to combat climate change is by investing in, rather than taxing, renewable sources of energy. This encourages the growth of the sector, allowing more research to yield more innovative, efficient ways of procuring energy sustainably.

A very simple way is to invest in more energy efficient buildings that don’t need much electricity in the first place. Eco-houses require minimal heating due to their insulation, with skylights providing natural light in the day time, and many other ways of bypassing the need for electricity. We should encourage people to purchase light bulbs. One suggestion is to limit the use of energy per person or per household, or reward low energy consumption – use under a certain amount of electricity and receive a free theatre ticket.

Subsidising public transport would encourage more people to get the bus, which is a much more energy-efficient way of getting around. Car-sharing should be encouraged and rewarded for regular commutes, as this would ease traffic significantly as well as reducing fossil fuel emissions.

Environmental awareness should be a more prevalent part of the curriculum – teaching the next generation about the consequences of wasting resources is an effective way to make sure they treat the Earth well in the future.

Designing the Future: Gender

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These blog posts were collated by Sheffield Futures staff, based entirely on ideas from a range of young people in Sheffield at our ‘Designing the Future’ workshop, where we asked them to discuss various topics, identify the key issues and come up with potential solutions. We strive to give a voice to all young people, so all of their points of view have been included. 


Both women and men are disadvantaged in different ways based purely on their gender. In the workplace, women are sometimes expected to wear heels and make-up. Men earn more money on average, and statistically hold more of the powerful positions. On the other hand, women get more maternity leave than men with paternity leave, and some organisations use this as grounds to not employ women.

Women can be objectified and ridiculed under the guise of humour by ‘Lad culture’, and the same ‘Lads’ would laugh at men if they were being abused by a woman.

The media can objectify and patronise women, and can teach boys that they must be muscular, practical and emotionless. Most 6-year-old girls think that words like ‘Genius’ are male traits, but most 6-year-old boys don’t feel comfortable expressing their feelings.



Measures should be taken to ensure that people are treated by their merits at work: the distribution of power and the wage gap should always be tending towards being even. Maternity leave and paternity leave should be made equal, meaning employers have no prejudice between hiring either gender.

One of the key ways to normalise these biases is with early education – training teachers to interact young children exactly the same as each other, without taking their gender into account. Sex education should be in mixed classes. Young people should be taught to treat each human as an individual, and not to make presumptions or hurtful jokes about people based or gender.

The media has a responsibility to portray men and women equally – reporters should stop obsessing over women’s shoes and commend their accomplishments instead. MP’s should give all gender issues proper representation.

Proud of being a Sheffielder? Tell us why!

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We would like to invite you to join us to talk all things Sheffield! Are you proud to be a Sheffielder? Tell us why!

Why is Sheffield such a special place? What’s your story? Join the conversation: Wednesday 29th March 5.30-7 at Millennium Gallery, Arundel Gate, S1 2PP.

For more information, please contact Sarah Stevens, Young People’s Involvement Manager: sarah.stevens@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 2783.


Designing the Future: Migration

Tash Bright No Comments

These blog posts were collated by Sheffield Futures staff, based entirely on ideas from a range of young people in Sheffield at our ‘Designing the Future’ workshop, where we asked them to discuss various topics, identify the key issues and come up with potential solutions. We strive to give a voice to all young people, so all of their points of view have been included. 


One of the main issues with migration is the public perception of immigrants. The mainstream media tends to publish a divisive rhetoric which preaches negativity for publicity.

There are many complex economic implications to immigration policies – they affects the job market, housing, healthcare, education and many more things. Finding solutions to these issues doesn’t seem to be the focus of society – despite globalisation bringing everyone in the world closer, many would rather stop people coming into the country altogether.



Politicians should be lobbying for successful working migrants to gain citizenship. Young people should be educated on the practical and economic implications surrounding immigration so they are not so easily swayed by speculation based on stereotypes. In order to engage young people with such issues, the Department for Education should periodically release relevant, up-to-date learning resources and lesson plans that present balanced arguments for both sides, to be used by teachers across the country. Schools should invite visitors of various nationalities to speak to their pupils, showing the benefits of cultural diversity and of accepting people into the UK.

Designing the Future: Misinformation

Tash Bright No Comments

These blog posts were collated by Sheffield Futures staff, based entirely on ideas from a range of young people in Sheffield at our ‘Designing the Future’ workshop, where we asked them to discuss various topics, identify the key issues and come up with potential solutions. We strive to give a voice to all young people, so all of their points of view have been included. 



The internet is an enormous source of misinformation – previously, facts would have to be verified to be published, but now anyone with a computer can reach and influence millions worldwide. People take their statements as fact, which can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Many sources of ‘facts’ are motivated by money. Search engines and social media websites prioritise the content of those who can afford advertising, meaning the opinion of those with money shows up first. People’s views are verified as social media sites show them personalised content, creating echo chambers of what people want to hear.

Media outlets release negative headlines simply because scandal sells, but this can have a massive impact – from unhealthy obsessions with image in celebrity culture, to the unfair, negative portrayal of different religions. They use compelling, sensational language to cover their lack of transparency with their information sources.

The media also contributes to the high turnover rate of controversies – politicians seem to be knowledge increasingly concerned with short-term gain to the point of telling outright lies, with the that the headlines tomorrow will distract the public from the indecency of today.



People should be held more accountable for what they say and what they publish. Politicians who lie for their own or their party’s gain, and people in the media who knowingly publish fake news, should be apprehended for fraudulent behaviour.

Media outlets could be subjected to independent reviewers to verify facts so that more accurate information is portrayed.

Role models, celebrities (and everyone else) should stand up for the importance of facts, call out fake news stories and use their influence to preach a kinder way of communicating.

Social media organisations and search engines should be more transparent about how their systems work, and should prioritise factual results by filtering out unreferenced articles.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.