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Youth Work Week 2019 blog: Young people treated fairly and equally 

Sadie White No Comments

Simon is a Youth Work Team Leader at Sheffield Futures. As part of Simon’s role, he delivers Youth Sheffield in the North of the city. Youth Sheffield is 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, Simon talks about how Sheffield Futures works to ensure young people in Sheffield are treated fairly and equally.

I’m a professional youth worker and have been involved in youth work for the last 20 years. My role within Youth Sheffield is to oversee all the youth clubs and youth workers in the North of Sheffield.

To quote Franklin D. Roosevelt, ‘If we can’t build a future for our youth, we must build our youth for the future.’ I believe that good quality, properly funded youth work can fulfil this function and as a society we owe it to young people to give them the best life chances.

Young people in Sheffield are starting from a very unfair and unequal position and unfortunately, the data shows how this trend is growing. To provide a flavour, in line with national trends, the most up-to-date data (August 2014) shows an increase in child poverty, with 24.7% of children recorded as living in poverty in Sheffield. That’s nearly a quarter of children. However there’s growing concern about increased differences in Sheffield between different parts of the city. In Ecclesall ward, 3.3% of children were living in poverty, whilst in Firth Park the figure was 14 times higher at 42.9% of children. The report suggests that there are clearly lots of causes of child poverty however that it’s likely the national welfare reforms are a significant driver of changes seen in levels of child poverty. Specifically the lower benefit cap that took effect in 2017 and has taken the number of households in Sheffield affected by the cap from 113 to an estimated 900 households. In total, those households contain 3,446 children. (Data taken from State of Sheffield Report 2017)

So, the playing field is far from equal yet Article 2 of the UN Convention rights of a child states that “No child should be treated unfairly on any basis”. This clearly sets out that no matter who you are, where you come from or your background you shouldn’t be treated unfairly because of this. Yet at some point in all our lives we have been treated unfairly or not as an equal to others based on our backgrounds, where we live as a result of perceived abilities in life or for other reasons.

Youth work readdresses this balance in that through coming into a youth work setting, young people are plugged into a range of support, advice and guidance as well as inspiring enrichment activities that act as a safety net and go some way to restore a sense of fair and equal treatment by society. In this setting they are exposed to positive role models. Our youth workers across the city are providing quality youth provision in safe and welcoming environments for young people. They treat all young people fairly and equally regardless of their post code, colour, creed, religious or political views or finances.  Through Youth Sheffield, we endeavour to put young people first and foremost, providing a safe and inspiring space where they are treated fairly and equally and are fully supported to make the best of their lives.

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/

Sheffield author A F Stone pledges support for Sheffield Futures

Sadie White No Comments

Sheffield author A F Stone has caused a bit of a buzz lately with the publication of her book The Raven Wheel – a gritty tale of the journey of three teenagers in Stoke on Trent where Amy grew up before moving to Sheffield fifteen years ago. Amy has also created a bit of a buzz here at our Door 43 emotional health and wellbeing service as she’s kindly offered to donate 80 per cent of all proceeds of her book sold through The Porter Book Shop to Door 43, here at Sheffield Futures.

The Raven Wheel deals with some dark and realistic themes including mental illness, suicide, drug abuse and difficult relationships as it tracks the young lives of the three main characters. Talking about why Amy chose to pledge her support to Sheffield Futures she said, ‘I chose Sheffield Futures and specifically the Door 43 service because I was looking for a local charity that provides the kind of support needed for the issues raised in my book.’

‘The three main characters are affected by a lot of things including mental health problems, social isolation, sexual abuse, family breakdown and bullying and Sheffield Futures offers a great holistic approach that would help young people facing issues like that.’

Commenting on the support Gail Gibbons CEO at Sheffield Futures said, ‘It’s clearly brilliant that Amy has decided to donate proceeds from the sale of The Raven Wheel to help young people that access our Door 43 service and that the book shines a light on the reality of some young people’s lives and the help that’s needed. We want all young people that might be experiencing emotional health and wellbeing issues caused by any of the themes raised in the book to know that support is out there for them. We wish Amy all the best for the future and for the success of The Raven Wheel.’

Here at our Door 43 emotional health and wellbeing centre at Star House we offer a preventative service focussed on intervening early with young people, to open up conversations and hopefully stop more serious issues in their tracks.

We know that young people can be put off accessing mental health services as they associate these environments with the stress and anxiety that is often fuelling their issues. Our Door 43 service ensures we can offer a safe and welcoming space for young people to openly talk about their feelings and access early preventative support in a completely neutral environment where they can literally get away from it all, clear their head and become ready to access the support they need.

Door 43 integrates a range of health and wellbeing support under one roof, giving young people the flexibility they need in terms of access to different specialist support services such as counselling and other psychological therapies, awareness and advice work, health clinics, signposting and mechanisms for referral for those who require specialist mental health assessment. We also offer social prescribing for young people. Much like going to the GP for a prescription, where we deem appropriate, we can prescribe therapeutic activities that young people show an interest in.

Young people can drop in to the Door 43 wellbeing café at Star House on Division Street on a Tuesday between 5-7pm or on Wellbeing Wednesday 11-4pm and on a Saturday 9.30-1pm. Our wellbeing workers can assess a young person’s level of need and provide appropriate support or refer young people on to more appropriate services through our referral network. Call 0114 201 800 or door43@sheffieldfutures.org.uk 

 

World Mental Health Day 2019: A short conversation can really make the difference

Sadie White No Comments

It’s World Mental Health Day today and this year the World Federation for Mental Health has chosen the theme of suicide prevention.

At our emotional health and wellbeing centre Door 43, our service is focussed on early intervention and is a preventative mental health service for 13-25 year olds that aims to stop mental health conditions in their tracks before they turn into more serious issues. It’s one of only a few of its kind in the country and since its inception the service has been very much in demand with the majority self-referring with issues such as stress, anxiety and low mood often caused by the overwhelming demands that modern life places on today’s young people.

Dan White, Head of Targeted Services and Health said, ‘It’s a good time to remind ourselves this World Mental Health Day that just a small conversation with someone can make a huge difference to a young person’s state of mind.’

‘Here at our Door 43 emotional health and wellbeing centre at Star House we offer a preventative service focussed on intervening early with young people, to open up conversations and hopefully stop more serious issues in their tracks.’

‘We know that young people can be put off accessing mental health services as they associate these environments with the stress and anxiety that is often fuelling their issues. Our Door 43 service ensures we can offer a safe and welcoming space for young people to openly talk about their feelings and access early preventative support in a completely neutral environment where they can literally get away from it all, clear their head and become ready to access the support they need.’

‘Door 43 integrates a range of health and wellbeing support under one roof, giving young people the flexibility they need in terms of access to different specialist support services such as counselling and other psychological therapies, awareness and advice work, health clinics, signposting and mechanisms for referral for those who require specialist mental health assessment. We also offer social prescribing for young people. Much like going to the GP for a prescription, where we deem appropriate, we can prescribe therapeutic activities that young people show an interest in. ’

‘We have seen very encouraging results from Door 43 so far and it’s really heartening to see the positive impact we’re having on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Sheffield’s young people.’

When talking about how the Door 43 service has helped him, Darren Jenks a young person who has accessed Door 43 in the past said,’Door43 is a place I can go and offload about what has happened in my week. I don’t feel judged by the staff; they are all so easy to talk to. I feel like having that space every week makes a massive difference to my mood.’

‘When I’ve got loads of stuff going on in my head, I can come in to see someone at Door43 and they help me to make sense of it all and we can make a plan together and I feel so much better.’

Young people can drop in to the Door 43 wellbeing café at Star House on Division Street on a Tuesday between 5-7pm or on Wellbeing Wednesday 11-4pm and on a Saturday 9.30-1pm. Our wellbeing workers can assess a young person’s level of need and provide appropriate support or refer young people on to more appropriate services through our referral network. Call 0114 201 800 or door43@sheffieldfutures.org.uk 

Joe Carnall of Milburn fame talking to a young person at the Door 43 wellbeing café

Doing Good Business – Woofley Jubbley!

Tash Bright No Comments

Amanda had a long-term ambition to set up her own business as a dog groomer but was finding it difficult to get started. She was in receipt of benefits and a significant barrier she faced was access to start-up finance for equipment and clothing. Amanda had enrolled in a City and Guilds Level 2 in Dog Grooming and successfully completed the training in April 2019. She now intends to enrol on the Level 3 course in Dog Grooming and would also like to study pet behaviour and psychology.

Amanda’s Doing Good Business coach worked with her to set some achievable goals that would helpe her to develop her business.  The support included business planning that;

  • considered the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats connected to the potential business and an action plan was devised to overcome the threats and weaknesses
  • included a marketing plan that considered branding, web presence, networking and options for advertising and securing local customers
  • helped the client to choose a business and domain name: wjlocaldoggrooming.co.uk
  • provided one-to-one guidance regarding search engine optimisation for the business to rank higher in search engines such as Google
  • involved financial planning in the form of a cash flow forecast.

A huge barrier to progression was that Amanda did not have all the finance she needed to start her business. The Building Better Opportunities ‘Barrier Busting’ fund came in very useful and paid for the branded work wear that was needed. Amanda’s coach also found some local start-up funding to pay for essential equipment to get Amanda started in business.

Amanda notified her work coach at the Job Centre who then discussed the new Enterprise Allowance with her. Amanda can now develop her business whilst receiving benefit payments.

Working with Building Better Opportunities opened doors to start-up finance, courses and marketing for Amanda.

The support enabled Amanda to launch her business and she is now registered as self employed and has been working as a dog groomer for the past 6 weeks.

Amanda said: ‘I have tried for many years to find help to start my dog grooming business and found many barriers. Finding Doing Good Business has been amazing and, with their help, my business is now on the road to success. A big thank you from me!’

Amanda’s Doing Good Business Coach said: ‘I think Amanda’s success is due to her commitment to the process. She knew what she wanted and was willing to work with me as her coach to set realistic goals and work on agreed actions to move things forward.’

Amanda offers a dog grooming service from her base in Doncaster. You can visit her website here: Woofley Jubbley Dog Grooming.

Official launch event: Project 0114, tackling child criminal exploitation

Sadie White No Comments

Last night marked the official launch of Project 0114 – the project to tackle child criminal exploitation and associated gun and knife crime across the city. Led by Sheffield Futures and delivered in partnership with organisations across the city, the project, is set up with Home Office funding through Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner.  Project delivery partners are Sheffield City Council, ACT Sheffield, The Unity Gym Project, Broomhall Girls Group, Manor Castle Development Trust, My Life Project, Princes Trust, and Change Grow Live (CGL).

Speaking at the event Dr Alan Billings said ‘When I speak to young people the message is clear that they’re most worried about stabbings nowadays, and that’s got to change.’

‘Criminal gangs are targeting younger people, encouraging them to get involved in criminality. Young people, looking for friendship, are drawn into the gang and through the simple task of carrying a package, may be taking the first steps towards criminal behaviour.’

‘We all need to work together in partnership to educate young people and offer early intervention to ensure they understand the risks and can make good decisions – if approached by organised crime gangs.’ he continued.

Project delivery partners running activities with young people at the event included The Corner, Unity Gym, Sheffield City Council, Broomhall Girls Group, My Life Project and Manor Castle Development Trust as well as Sheffield Futures charity partners GB Boxing who attended to run workshops with young people along with England Netball.

From June onwards, year seven pupils in secondary schools across the city, along with year six children in primary schools in targeted areas, will have six information and skills-based sessions focussed on preventing child criminal exploitation and exploring the effects of knife and gun crime. The series of sessions will be co-delivered by youth workers and specially trained young people in schools.

Young people will be provided with information about how they can seek support to move away from serious youth violence and to understand their rights and responsibilities in this area. This element will form a key strand of the new Violent Crime and Organised Criminality (VCOC) strategy in Sheffield.

A second strand to the programme will see youth work activities delivered for young people in targeted areas to provide safe spaces where they can benefit from the strengths and experience of delivery partners, learning new and inspiring arts, music, media and sports skills. The five areas of the city as identified in the VCOC strategy are Broomhall, North East Sheffield, Manor Castle/Arbourthorne, Burngreave/Pitsmoor and Lowedges.

Gail Gibbons, CEO at Sheffield Futures said, ‘Through Project 0114, we hope to equip our children and young people to be able to steer clear of the serious threat that comes from organised crime, child criminal exploitation and the associated violent crime we are unfortunately seeing become more and more frequent across the city. And, in the areas we know are being targeted by criminals intent on exploiting our young people we hope to engage children in inspiring activities and at the same time offer safe spaces where young people can learn and thrive.’

Project to tackle criminal exploitation of young people begins in Sheffield

Sadie White No Comments

Project 0114 – the partnership project set up with Home Office funding through Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner focussed on tackling child criminal exploitation and associated knife and gun crime across the city is underway. Sheffield Futures is leading the initiative in conjunction with Sheffield City Council, ACT Sheffield, The Unity Gym Project, St Marks Church, Broomhill, Manor Castle Development Trust, My Life Project, Princes Trust, and Change Grow Live (CGL).

From June onwards, year seven pupils in secondary schools across the city, along with year six children in primary schools in targeted areas, will have six information and skills-based sessions focussed on preventing child criminal exploitation and exploring the effects of knife and gun crime. The series of sessions will be co-delivered by youth workers and specially trained young people in schools.

Young people will be provided with information about how they can seek support to move away from serious youth violence and to understand their rights and responsibilities in this area. This element will form a key strand of the new Violent Crime and Organised Criminality (VCOC) strategy in Sheffield.

A second strand to the programme will see youth work activities delivered for young people in targeted areas to provide safe spaces where they can benefit from the strengths and experience of delivery partners, learning new and inspiring arts, music, media and sports skills. The five areas of the city as identified in the VCOC strategy are Broomhall, North East Sheffield, Manor Castle/Arbourthorne, Burngreave/Pitsmoor and Low Edges.

Gail Gibbons, CEO at Sheffield Futures comments, ‘Through Project 0114, we hope to equip our children and young people to be able to steer clear of the serious threat that comes from organised crime, child criminal exploitation and the associated violent crime we are unfortunately seeing become more and more frequent across the city. And, in the areas we know are being targeted by criminals intent on exploiting our young people we hope to engage children in inspiring activities and at the same time offer safe spaces where young people can learn and thrive.’

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: ‘Criminal gangs are targeting younger people, encouraging them to get involved in criminality. Young people, looking for friendship, are drawn into the gang and through the simple task of carrying a package may be taking the first steps towards criminal behaviour.

‘We all need to work together in partnership to educate young people and offer early intervention to ensure they understand the risks and can make good decisions – if approached by organised crime gangs.’

National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day – Think, spot and speak out against child abuse

Tash Bright No Comments

Say something if you see something #CSEDAY19

It’s National Child Sexual Exploitation Day (CSE) on Monday 18th March to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.  

Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

Research by the NSPCC has identified that 1 in 20 children have been sexually abused, 90 per cent of them by someone they knew. However, of the 43,000 children in England who are subject to a child protection plan at any given time, only around 5% are on a plan for sexual abuse. (NSPCC 2014)

Help spot the signs

CSE is hard to spot but often manifests as part of wider forms of exploitation. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable if they have an unstable home environment, have recently experienced bereavement / loss, have difficulties socialising, live in poverty, are homeless, missing or have physical or learning disabilities. These are just some of the situations where children and young people become vulnerable.

Speaking on the subject Jane Fidler, Sexual Exploitation Service manager at Sheffield Futures comments, ‘It can be really hard to spot the signs of sexual exploitation but some of the warning signs can be things like children and young people suddenly acquiring money, clothes or other items without a plausible explanation, exclusion or lack of attendance at school/work, gang association or sudden isolation from their usual friends and relationships with controlling or significantly older adults.’

‘Leaving home or care without explanation and going missing or persistently returning late can also signal a problem, along with excessive texts or phone calls, returning home under the influence of drugs or alcohol, excessive use of social media / the internet or any other significant change in usual behaviour.’

‘The warning signs are very varied and can be easy to pass off as adolescent behaviour but it’s important to stop, think and act if you think a child or young person you know is showing these warning signs. It’s all of our responsibility to protect the children and young people in our communities.’ Jane continues.

Help is here waiting

If you think you might need help or are worried about a child or young person in Sheffield you can call the Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service at Sheffield Futures.

The Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service aims to prevent sexual exploitation, protect children and young people and offer support throughout Sheffield. The confidential service is made up of youth workers, CSE specialists, healthcare professionals, social care, parent support workers, police and specialist trainers.

Help is here waiting for you so call us on 0114 201 8645 oremail sses@sheffieldfutures.org.uk in the strictest of confidence.

Rosheen, 16, from an abusive family background was also under threat of enforced marriage which resulted in her going missing and being found with a known perpetrator of sexual exploitation in the town centre.

As Rosheen was at threat from her own family a forced marriage protection order was put in place and she was moved into supported accommodation however was no longer in education. She was regularly smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol and had lots of drugs debt as a result.

A Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service worker at Sheffield Futures supported Rosheen through the difficult journey back to a safe path in life and comments ‘I worked with Rosheen to support her with employment and training, attended meetings and appointments with her, talked about her wellbeing/mental health/grooming/coercion and control and shared legal information with her.’

‘Rosheen now has a stable, age-appropriate boyfriend, remains in supported accommodation, has stopped using drugs/alcohol and is starting a new job as a carer and is looking to go back into education. Rosheen is building bridges with her family and thinking about her religious beliefs in a positive way – she feels in control. All her debts have been paid off and her mental health has significantly improved.’

Help at hand for those ‘furthest away from the jobs market’

Tash Bright No Comments

Mental health & disability top reasons for being ‘most stuck’

Help is at hand to support those ‘furthest away from the jobs market’ back into meaningful education, employment or training. Legacy 6 – an extension of the heralded National Lottery Community Funded Talent Match Sheffield City Region Project which got thousands of young people in the region back into education, employment or training – will provide focussed support for 20 – 24 year olds ‘most stuck’ as a result of issues including mental health and disability.

Data from Talent Match National Common Data Framework shows that those furthest away from the jobs market and therefore most in need of help are so because of a number of factors with mental ill health at the top of the list of reasons with 52 per cent of young people affected. 50 per cent have a disability and 43 per cent have a disability that limits their activities in some way.

Many young people considered furthest away from the jobs market are so as a result of experiencing abuse, unresolved loss, grief and extreme trauma in their histories and as a result of not having access to therapeutic mental health support they have essentially been left alone to deal with problems themselves which has only served to compound mental health problems which have eventually defined their lives.

Legacy 6 will offer a range of bespoke support for these young people that will help to tackle some of the biggest barriers to meaningful progression that include lack of qualifications, low self-confidence, low understanding of the skills employers are looking for, identifying career goals and accessibility issues. Support will include bespoke career planning and coaching as well as health & wellbeing support and exposure to real world employers as well as support with practical issues.

Karen Challis, Head of Education and Employment services at Sheffield Futures comments,

“Legacy 6 will give us the opportunity to focus on the young people with very significant life issues who need our support. The National Lottery Community Fund will support this work for one more year, focusing on 80 young people who are furthest from the labour market. We will use our experience from Talent Match to build on the fantastic work of the Coaches, and particularly to offer a wider range of support for those with mental health issues.”

Jenny’s story: recording in a studio through social prescribing

Tash Bright No Comments

Jenny moved to Sheffield in April 2018 “with just a suitcase and a guitar.” Earlier that year, she had felt the push to leave the seaside town she had been living in to move to Sheffield the “music city.” Jenny was excited about “all the music venues, nightlife and students” and moved to do what she wanted to do – make music.

Alone in a city she didn’t know, Jenny was working in hospitality, living in a shared house and her mental health began to deteriorate. Seeking help after a mental health crisis, she was referred to Door 43, the emotional wellbeing service for young people at Sheffield Futures.

“From the first moment I visited Door 43, I felt like I was listened to,” she said. “Door 43 was a really warm and welcoming environment and I felt that when I told my story, that my worker really listened.”

Jenny began to visit the weekly Wellbeing Café, a drop-in session filled with positive activities, staff and volunteers to talk to, cups of tea and inspirational talks from sportspeople, musicians and more about their own mental health stories.

Jenny’s worker encouraged her to follow her dreams and to do what she wanted to do when she moved to the city, make music. Together they worked on exercises to increase Jenny’s confidence and began to look to the future and exploring Jenny’s passions.

Jenny found herself out of work and unhappy with her living situation. One of her coping strategies was playing her guitar and writing songs about her feelings, and unfortunately she had to sell her guitar to pay her rent. Her worker knew how much this meant to her and through a social media shout-out, managed to get Jenny a kindly donated guitar and keyboard within 24 hours.

Jenny said: “The guitar and keyboard kept me alive.”

Jenny moved out of her shared accommodation into a house on her own and began feeling much better.

When Door 43 held a grand opening for their premises, with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, they asked Jenny to perform one of her songs. It was Jenny’s first public performance in over a year, and her first in Sheffield. She said: “No-one in Sheffield had heard my music and I was really nervous, but it went really well. Afterwards I felt so much more confident and I got some great feedback.”

Through Sheffield Futures social prescribing programme, Jenny was introduced to Nigel Humberstone, who runs Beehive Works, a music studio in Sheffield. He had kindly offered studio time and assistance for Jenny to record an EP of songs about her mental health. Jenny said: “Recording my music is something I’ve always wanted to do. I used to record my songs on voice notes on my phone! Nigel and Klive have been so helpful and have made sure that everything has been done properly. I feel like there are no limits on what I can achieve now.”

Jenny has launched a Bandcamp, where people can hear and buy her music. She has finished recording five songs about her mental health journey and is looking forward to playing some shows over the summer. She said: “I’ve had to be patient and work hard to record these songs, everything takes longer than you think it will – but I’m excited to start gigging over summer. I’m being realistic and trying to be organised, but I’ll always be a dreamer.”

National Social Prescribing Day – 14th March

Tash Bright No Comments

StreetGames becomes nationwide social prescriber in local communities

Sports charity funds link workers in four UK cities to tackle social issues among young people

National sports charity StreetGames has funded four link workers to support young people accessing local sources of support in four cities across the UK. The programme will allow young people to have access to free counselling, sport and volunteering opportunities, and will support with literacy, training or employment.

These appointments follow StreetGames being selected as one of 23 new schemes across the country to share in £4.5 million of funding from the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC). The grant means StreetGames will be able to support local partners in Brighton & Hove, Luton, Sheffield and Southampton, to work with vulnerable young people, aged 5-25, helping them to get extra care and support in their local neighbourhood.

StreetGames has partnered with YMCA DownsLink Group in Brighton & Hove, No Limits in Southampton, Sheffield Futures in Sheffield, and Active Luton in Luton, who will provide physical hubs from where the service will be coordinated.

Talking on the announcement, Paul Jarvis-Beesley, Head of Sport and Health at StreetGames, said: “Social prescribing refers to the process of helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare, by connecting them to a range of local, non-clinical, community services which might be run by the council or a local charity. This is something StreetGames is very passionate about. Through the programme, a dedicated link worker will spend time with each young person finding out what they need and make the connection to the menu of local activities and services on offer. This intervention can be crucial in ensuring young people succeed as they grow in to adulthood.”

The programme will provide for over 2,100 young people, who will have 4-6 sessions each with their link worker before being directly referred into local services. Each service will be open to all, but additional resources will be allocated to making it accessible to young people who experience social exclusion through poverty or protected characteristics.

The initiative follows the launch of the Government’s Loneliness Strategy in October, which noted the value of social prescribing. In a recent speech to The King’s Fund about the benefits of social prescribing, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, said he saw social prescribing as “becoming an indispensable tool”, adding, “social prescription is about making better use of what we already have – making the arts and social activities more accessible”.

Cat Pritchard, Brighton & Hove CYP Wellbeing Services Manager, said on the news: “We’re delighted YMCA DownsLink Group is one of the organisations awarded a proportion of this funding. We will be setting up a social prescribing scheme within our Brighton & Hove Children & Young People’s (CYP) Wellbeing Service. This service works with young people aged 4-25, offering a range of innovative mental health interventions and is a local collaboration with YMCA DownsLink Group, Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, Mind in Brighton and Hove and HERE. This funding gives us the opportunity to improve the transition between services for children and young people locally. We are excited about the positive impact this new link worker role could have on the lives of children, young people and families in Brighton and Hove.”

Dr Christa Beesley, a GP for Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC in Brighton and Hove, added: “I am delighted to have the support in social prescribing now being offered in Brighton. The gap between what is needed for young people experiencing mental health difficulties and what is available is huge, and waiting times for specialist therapy are very high. Social prescribing helps us to fill this gap and to get the whole community involved in supporting our children and young people.”

Sports and music have long been associated with supporting people through conditions including diabetes, dementia, loneliness, anxiety and depression. Activities offered under social prescribing are varied, and are already having a great impact on the lives of the UK’s young people. Jenny, a participant of the programme led by Sheffield Futures, said of the initiative: “The social prescribing programme has really opened my eyes to see what is available for me in Sheffield. I’ve been writing music since I was nine and now my Health and Wellbeing Worker has helped me to access studio time through the programme, which is mind-blowing! I recently moved to Sheffield and this service has helped me to gain confidence, it’s helped with my mental health and taught me to be more open-minded. I’ve been looking into song-writing with a community group, and social prescribing has shown me that there are so many opportunities out there.”

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.