Young Advisors

Youth Work Week 2019 Blog: Active members of their communities and society

Sadie White No Comments

Gail Gibbons is the CEO at Sheffield Futures, leading the charity to deliver initiatives that support young people including Youth Sheffield, Sheffield’s city wide youth service. Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and confident and take part in enriching activities, keeping them safe and supported to make the most of their lives. For today’s #YWW19 theme, Gail talks about how Sheffield Futures works to encourage young people in Sheffield to be active members of their communities and society.

We strongly believe that all young people have the potential to play a positive and active role in their communities and wider society; and that it is critical that young people are provided with opportunities and supported to do just that. Youth work and the youth work delivery model provides the perfect platform for enabling young people to make a positive contribution to their communities. As well as building confidence, active citizenship through youth work enables young people to demonstrate their capacity to make a difference and to develop soft skills sought by employers. It also enables young people to see the world from others’ perspectives and to develop a broader and deeper understanding of our wider society.

Active citizenship includes young people taking part in formal decision making in local areas. For example, Sheffield Futures co-ordinates the bi-annual national Mark Your Mark Campaign for Sheffield – encouraging as many young people as possible from schools, colleges, youth clubs and organisations to vote for the issues most important to them. The issues gaining the most votes are then taken forward by young people through local and national campaigns and debated by UK Youth Parliament members in Westminster. Our elected Youth Cabinet represents young people across Sheffield, and takes forward issues important to young people on their behalf – making a real difference to how services are delivered in our city. At local level, youth voice is an important part of our youth clubs – where young people are consulted on our youth work curriculum so that it really meets their needs.

Each year hundreds of young people we work with are involved in volunteering and social action projects – giving back to their local communities. Sheffield Futures is a member of the national #iwill campaign – with young people leading on a wide range of social action initiatives. These have ranged from the Woodthorpe Youth Club Social Action Project – which has recently been nominated for a local Community Award; to young people taking part in the annual Keep Britain Tidy litter pick initiative; and involvement with a local youth organisation partnership to raise awareness around issues relating to young people and health.

Our young people have also been involved this year in a number of projects aimed at educating their peers, and supporting the development of local statutory services to enable them to be more relevant and responsive to young people. For example, as part of a Home Office funded Early Intervention Fund programme, Sheffield Futures has trained up a group of young people to act as peer mentors – working with young people in schools to raise awareness about the risks of knife crime and child criminal exploitation. We are also supporting South Yorkshire Police to set up a South Yorkshire Young People’s Independent Advisory Board; and our Young Advisors are supporting the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board to improve their practices.

Our young people have taken part in a wide range of festivals and events this year – raising awareness of issues which matter to them; and providing suggested solutions to some of the most challenging issues in society today. For example, our young people have led an event as part of the Festival of Debate; have taken part in the Migration Matters Festival; have been involved in Off the Shelf festival; and have an important role in the city’s Age Hub work. One of our Young Advisors also spoke at the recent Northern Powerhouse Conference about young people, work and skills.

If you or a young person you know would benefit from getting involved in any of the initiatives mentioned here and would benefit from support please reach out to Sheffield Futures. Tel 0114 2012800 or enquiries@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Find out more about your community youth club here https://www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/things-to-do/

 

Bridging the Gap: Improving Communication Between Young People and the Police

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield Futures hosted a Festival of Debate event to discuss Bridging the Gap, improving communication between the police and young people in our city. The event looked at how can the police better communicate with young people, why wouldn’t a young person report a crime and what can be done to change that?

Following on from Sheffield Youth Cabinet’s knife crime consultations with young people, we wanted to start a discussion to see how we can work together for a better, safer Sheffield.

The group looked at community policing and how stronger links could be made between the police and young people. Feedback stated that “police should be aware of people’s mental health” and that when appropriate, “police should laugh with young people.”

The group felt that recruiting younger PCSOs would be beneficial and there should be a police presence in areas where it is lacking.

The group also discussed what areas are best to engage with young people and the wider community, what would work best for young people, that may not work for the wider community and whether communications needed to be improved with the whole community and not just young people.

They also looked at whether in a time of cuts, what alternatives might there be to improve police presence, including Neighbourhood Watch. Some young people felt that it was important to increase “early years school visits” to “reduce stigma of the police.”

The attendees were split into three groups and moved to three discussion areas, each group getting an opportunity to speak about the three identified themes. One theme was perceptions of the police in 2019.

Some of the young people said they “hate the police, they’re too quick to blame people who are non-white.”

“It’s not just colour, but also about what area you live in.”

“The police don’t go to areas where they don’t sell drugs, but they should go everywhere.”

“I see the police as a gang but they can keep people safe in some respects like abuse against children.”

One of the young people had a different experience with the police when they were with their Youth Justice Service worker. They described their experiences as positive.

The third discussion topic was online presence and what would work when trying to communicate with young people. The group said: “humorous videos, but not patronising ones” would be good and that it was okay for the police to “use all social media except Snapchat.”

“Communication doesn’t have to only be online, it should be face-to-face.”

“Police have a negative image and they need to work on how they’re perceived. Social media should help to humanise the police.”

One young person said “there is a perception of the police as being threatening.”

“There is a fine balance between uniform being for creating safety and enforcement.”

One said “there should be a guide to how to contact the police online, for young people.” “The police need to create a helpline which feels accessible to young people and is young people friendly.”

Young people fed back that their most used social media is Instagram, followed by Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp and finally Facebook.

Some believed that it would be appropriate for the police to use these channels and provide approachable and friendly content.

One young person said that it was important to “address online cyber crimes including selling drugs and methods for young people to pass on information.”

“Transparency is important and police posts could create get their messages out.”

The attendees then joined together with a Q&A session with the police. The group were joined by Superintendent Paul McCurry, Superintendent Melanie Palin and Sergeant Simon Kirkham to discuss some of the issues that were raised in the debates and discussions.

Young people challenged the police about racism in the police force and stated that the police had no presence in their communities. Sergeant Simon Kirkham offered to run sessions where the debate could be continued.

Sheffield Young Advisor Shuheb Miah said that conversation at the debate concluded that there was “ideological bias – police are proportionally from a white culture so they lean more towards their own culture without realising that others view them in a racist light.”

Shuheb continues, “The key issues were trust, faith and the effort to report to the police. Media portrayals create a typification of a certain criminal type which shapes the views the police have of offenders.”

Key issues from the debate include: “interaction and understanding, social exclusion/segregation and partiality (BME- 25% under 25 yrs)”

“United Nation convention of the rights of a child says: ‘Child’s state is a primary consideration in the context’ of them being vulnerable in juveniles justice.”

The Bridging the Gap debate attendees said that “999 police line isn’t very efficient when you’re in an emergency and waiting ‘on hold’ could become dangerous.” Solutions could include:
⁃ “Officers suggest an app is created that on use pinpoints location and creates an individual helpline with a member of the police who can help directly
⁃ Access to social media (Twitter) like the Facebook SY police page where surveillance can occur to monitor safety of online servers.
However… this runs the risk of a ‘surveillance society’ or the ‘Big Brother effect’ where protection conflicts with people’s private lives.”

Shuheb said that the group he was with spoke about the power that police held. One said: “They are bullies by making young people powerless and not listening to what they’ve to say in the wake of implementing justice.”

Others said: “If a good service is given by the police the this good experience will be disseminated to others who then share the positive experiences with the police which they will also expect to find if a situation arises with the police creating unity.”

“The people and their behaviour rather than the race should dictate the treatment.”

One said “When an act is committed it is the behaviour/situation that is to blame and has influenced this act.”

Some of the group felt that their communities would not attend a conversation with the police. “Communities not wanting to attend as an already negative/tainted reputation with the police and they have a lack of faith.”

Shuheb’s overall views of Bridging the Gap event:
🙂 The event helped address issues especially the BME community view
🙂 Issue focus meant that the senior members could not work closely with the groups/members who felt affected by the police processes that did not benefit them.

😞 The police are cyclical by focussing the same old issues again and again when aspects like racism exist and simply talking about them will not remove these ingrained biases.”

      

Why Human Rights Matter for our Future by Sheffield Young Advisors and Youth Cabinet Members

Tash Bright No Comments

The Political Quarterly recently commemorated 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with a special edition, focusing on the contemporary relevance of the UDHR within the UK.

Three young people from Sheffield Futures wrote statements for the Political Quarterly about the human rights that are most important to them and why human rights are important for the future.

To read Sheffield Youth Cabinet Members: Jude and Khalil and Sheffield Young Advisor Natasha’s pieces, please see the Political Quarterly here.

New event! Bridging the gap: improving communication between the police and young people

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Thursday 30th May 2019

6-7pm at Sheffield Futures, Star House, 43 Division St, Sheffield, S1 4GE.

BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE

How can the police better communicate with young people?

Why wouldn’t a young person report a crime?

What can be done to change that?

Following on from Sheffield Youth Cabinet’s knife crime consultations with young people, we want to start a discussion to see how we can work together for a better, safer Sheffield.

In association with South Yorkshire Police.

For further information and our full programme visit www.festivalofdebate.com

#YouthWorkMatters: How a listening ear helped me turn my life away from crime

Tash Bright No Comments

‘It just didn’t register with me that shoplifting might have a negative impact on anyone else. I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t have a conscience.’

*Names have been changed

Jemma, 19, had just received a caution from the Police for shoplifting when she was introduced to Sheffield Futures and became a Young Advisor, giving young people a voice, which ultimately helped her turn away from a life of crime.

‘I first got involved with Sheffield Futures when I was 16.  At the time I had just received a caution from the Police for shoplifting and whilst I was in custody the Police asked me if I’d like to do a six week course to work out what might be making me shoplift and turn to a life of crime.’ Says Jemma.

Ironically, this was a real turning point for Jemma, just when she thought she had hit rock bottom there seemed to be hope. ‘They said that if we could get to the bottom of why I was making the wrong choices we might be able to change my behaviour. I had a one to one meeting with a support worker from MAST. We met every week for 6 weeks and talked about the negatives of shoplifting and consequences.’

‘It was then I realised that I didn’t think stealing would impact anyone else. The course helped me to develop a conscience and re train my brain to think about the consequences of my actions, not just for me but for everyone involved. I didn’t feel bad and didn’t have a conscience. It was basically 6 weeks of retraining my brain. We realised that I was bored and that’s why I was stealing.’

Jemma’s MAST worker also introduced her to programmes in Sheffield that she may be interested in. ‘That’s when I got involved with the Young Advisors – giving young people a voice – at Sheffield Futures. I didn’t think I’d ever be accepted into something like this again as I had a caution that would last 5 years.’ Says Jemma.

As part of her role with the Young Advisors at Sheffield Futures Jemma has spent time working on the children and young people’s safeguarding board, acting as a youth consultant, looking at how to best communicate with young people that have been identified as at risk.

Talking about her experience Jemma says, ‘I felt so safe speaking to my manager about my background and felt that I wasn’t judged but was just being given an opportunity to progress and gain experience.’

‘From my experience with the Young Advisors at Sheffield Futures I now know I want to work with children and young people as part of my future career. It’s given me so much experience and so many skills as well as crucial self-awareness. I’m now confident with public speaking and have made a difference in the community and feel tuned into the city’s issues. I’m a real people person and I love talking!’

Jemma is now studying at University and is on a positive path forward. ‘It was brilliant to be able to tick no convictions on my application form!’ Jemma says. ‘Thanks to the young advisors and Sheffield Futures taking a chance on me I’ve got the self-confidence, self-awareness and experience to achieve the things I never thought I would do in my life.’ 

Youth Work Matters exhibition Mon 29th Oct – Fri 2nd Nov, Winter Gardens

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield’s largest youth charity, Sheffield Futures, are celebrating youth work and its fantastic achievements for young people and communities. Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed nationally. In Sheffield, we are pleased to say that youth services are still funded by Sheffield City Council, although delivery is reduced annually.

To celebrate and demonstrate the value of youth work, Sheffield Futures has developed Youth Work Matters. Youth Work Matters is an exhibition to showcase why youth work is so important to the communities in our city. Featuring young people from across the city, these photographs tell the story of why youth work matters and needs continued support for the benefit of all Sheffield’s communities.

For this project, we visited nine of the youth clubs that Sheffield Futures run each week across the city, including one club for young with learning disabilities; we spent time at the Wellbeing Cafe for young people with emotional wellbeing issues and spoke to Sheffield Young Advisors and Sheffield Youth Cabinet, to see why youth work is important to them.

 


How you can support us:

Find out more about how youth work transforms lives by following our #YouthWorkMatters campaign on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters

Please visit www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk to find out more about what we do and how you can support us with fundraising, volunteering or as an ambassador.

Drop The Knife: youth knife crime consultation, for young people.

Tash Bright No Comments

HAVE YOUR SAY.

We want to hear from young people: what do you think about knife crime?

Wednesday 31st October (half term) 1.30-3.30pm

at Sheffield Futures, Star House, 43 Division St, Sheffield, S1 4GE.

ALL OPINIONS ARE IMPORTANT AND YOU CAN REMAIN COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS.

Please RSVP: marketing@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or via Insta: @sheffieldfutures

#youthworkmatters

 


Sheffield Futures new campaign ‘In Celebration of Youth Work’ celebrates and demonstrates the value of youth work within our communities.

Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people.

Our young people led campaign over the coming months is all about the celebration of youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. We invite you to show your support by….

  • Sharing the following message on social media: Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people. At @SheffFutures we want to celebrate youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. See: www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/in-celebration-of-youth-work
  • …Or write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters
  • Running a fundraiser to help Sheffield Futures to continue delivering quality youth work to young people in Sheffield city region. Every penny you raise will help Sheffield Futures to transform lives and create positive futures.
  • Pledging to be a Sheffield Futures Ambassador and raising awareness of their work by making key introductions, sharing their messages, attending events and more.

Contact us, email: marketing@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 8647

International Youth Day celebration!

Tash Bright No Comments

International Youth Day (12th August) is aimed to draw attention to youth issues and was started by United Nations in 2000. Every year, Sheffield Futures host their annual Youth Day celebration event, providing free fun activities, displays, information stands and more, for all the family.

This year’s theme for International Youth Day is ‘safe spaces for youth,’ something that Sheffield Futures is proud to provide across the city, with weekly youth clubs and their one-stop-shop for young people at Star House on Division Street.

“Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves.” say United Nations.

On Friday 10th August, Sheffield Futures held their celebration at Ice Sheffield. Over 300 young people and families attended the event and enjoyed face painting, football, henna, a graffiti workshop, bucking bronco, bungee run, music, hair glitter, a dance display and more.

Sheffield Futures corporate partners GB Boxing held a training session with three coaches for young people. GB Boxing prepare and train the boxers that compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games and are based at English Institute of Sport.

Sheffield Futures organised a variety of youth organisations to provide information for attendees, with stalls from Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Door 43 the emotional wellbeing service for young people, Talent Match SCR, Chilypep, Change Grow Live, Pet-Xi, Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, SAYiT, Sexual Health Sheffield and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

At the event, Sheffield Youth Cabinet and Sheffield UK Youth Parliament asked where young people felt safe and here are the results:

  • 85% of young people felt safe where they live
  • 29% of young people did not feel safe in the city centre
  • 73% of young people felt safe at school
  • 70% of young people felt safe in public spaces
  • 62% of young people felt safe in open spaces
  • 13% of young people did not feel safe on public transport
  • 81% of young people felt safe in a youth club
  • 70% of young people felt safe in places of worship

The event was kindly sponsored by SIV, and would not have been possible without their support.

Free Money for Life masterclasses by young people for young people

Sadie White No Comments
A series of money masterclasses to equip young people with the skills to become more cash confident and in charge of their financial destiny will be delivered by Sheffield Futures during the first half of this year.

It’s understood that 60 per cent of young people aren’t taught money management skills within education and 42 percent of young people can’t interpret the difference between being in credit and overdrawn on a bank statement. The Money for Life project, a national initiative aimed at young people between 16 and 25 and the result of a collaboration between UK Youth and The Mix, comes in response to these worrying statistics that point towards the need for financial education and support for our young people to enable them to live successful lives in control of their financial destinies.

Using fun and interactive activities and led by trained young people, the Money Masterclasses consist of four one to two hour modules and will cover the following topics:

  • You and Your Money: Young people are introduced to financial basics from reading a bank statement to understanding how tax works.
  • Surviving ‘til Pay Day: All about budgeting and making money go that little bit further. Young people are taught how to create a budget that outlines ways to save.
  • Independence Day: How to survive away from home, from paying bills to furnishing property and getting the best value for money.
  • Your Money Talks: Understanding credit scores, what they are and what we can do to improve them. We ask young people to think about the importance of every day spending decisions and the implications these have for the future.

Commenting on the project Sarah Stevens, Young Peoples Participation Development Manager at Sheffield Futures says, ‘With ever more complicated financial products on the market and the sometimes dire implications for people when they don’t understand them, financial literacy is becoming increasingly important. It really is essential that we are responsible and provide our young people with the information and tools to become financially literate and able to navigate their way through the financial aspects of life.’

‘We’re really pleased to have been chosen to deliver the masterclasses for young people across Sheffield to help fill the knowledge gap and enable young people to become financially responsible and self-sufficient citizens.’ Sarah continues.

The programme is ideal to be delivered to groups of students in higher education or as part of traineeships or apprenticeships. Those responsible for young people in this capacity or young people aged 16-25 and living in the Sheffield area that may benefit from the Money for Life project can register their interest at the following link www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MFLREG

You can find out more about Money for Life on our website at www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Money For Life is funded by Lloyds Banking Group and Sheffield Futures has been chosen as the delivery partner for Sheffield.

Our impact on people in Sheffield City Region

Tash Bright No Comments

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

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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.