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Young people launch city’s suicide prevention pathway

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“I always had suicidal feelings as I grew up. I never got any support to help me cope with these and ended up attempting suicide twice.

“I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have experienced and that’s why I got involved with writing this suicide prevention strategy. Suicide is a scary thing to talk about but this strategy will help to make sure that children and young people’s needs are taken seriously.”

That’s the view of a 20 year old young woman in Sheffield who is one of a number of young people who have helped produce and launch Sheffield’s new Young People’s Suicide Prevention Pathway.

Sheffield City Council’s Every Child Matters 2015 survey shows that over a third of young people in Sheffield in year 10 (aged 14 and 15 years old) have had feelings so bad that felt they couldn’t cope with them.  Sheffield City Council has therefore been working with Sheffield Futures, Chilypep, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board to create the strategy to help reduce the risk of suicides and support young people to have good mental health.

The strategy is aimed at frontline practitioners to help them support young people at risk of suicide. It is part of a raft of new local initiatives supporting children and young people’s mental health, including:

 ·         A better link between child and adolescent mental health services and  schools.

·         A one stop shop for advice and counselling service for young people up to the age of 25.

·         Training for schools on a range of mental health issues.

·         Support for families, friends and those affected by children and young people’s suicide.

·         A tool to support practitioners working with young people and domestic abuse.

This comes on top of Sheffield’s existing programme which has seen ten schools provide emotional wellbeing support to its pupils and staff. 

Becky, who is quoted above, aged 20, is part of STAMP (Support, Think, Act, Motivate, Participate) a group of young people aged 14-25, facilitated by Chilypep who are funded to involve young people in working to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people across the city as part of Sheffield’s Local Area Transformation Plan.  The group has created a film to support the launch of the strategy, as well being involved in developing the strategy itself.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: “ We want  to create an emotionally healthy and wealthy city and this strategy that builds on our healthy minds work will help us to achieve this.

“Young people have told me that having a safe place to talk and get help early, is a vital part of helping them overcome stress and preventing their problems from getting worse. Through this strategy we will ensure that the support is there for our children and young people to do this.”

The new pathway was launched on 16 March at an event at the Town Hall attended by 200 children and young people professionals. You can read the Suicide Prevention Pathway here.

The film is available online at https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ah7J7bAZnjgEmnE7NY5Z8kXIxjq_

Young people speak out about the barriers they face whilst seeking employment

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people supported by the Talent Match Sheffield City Region (SCR) Programme met to discuss the barriers that face young job seekers. MP Paul Blomfield attended the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science event to discover how the Government can help young people to find employment.

The aim of the Festival of Social Science is to understand how social research informs policy and gives a better understanding of the society we live in. Young people’s futures: fulfilling work in the Sheffield City Region was hosted by Sheffield Hallam University and Talent Match SCR to discover solutions to three main priorities: mental health problems and learning disabilities, transport and employer engagement. These issues and potential solutions were fed back to MP Paul Blomfield, to take forward for positive change.

In Sheffield City Region, 20% of young people (30,000) are unemployed. Since 2014, Coaches from Talent Match SCR have supported 1500 18-25 year olds. Of these young people, 27% have experienced mental ill health, 16% have experienced homelessness and 10% have been convicted of a criminal offence. 97% of the people on the programme have received vital one-to-one support.

The group, made of young people and their workers, discussed how young people reporting poor mental health or learning disabilities can be supported whilst searching for employment. Talent Match SCR have been helping to address any issues by increasing counselling support for young people on the programme. It was suggested that services should be more readily available for people who work full time, for instance, evenings and weekends with an online support network.

Laura, a young person on the Talent Match programme said: “Employers need to trial different ways to support people with mental health problems; looking beyond counselling to things like art therapy.”

Kyle, a young person on the Talent Match programme said: “I have Aspergers and some people I work with don’t know how to speak to me, they’ve even asked me if I’ve processed tasks properly. We need to have a campaign about what language should be used to speak about learning disabilities and mental health. I’m lucky; my Talent Match Coach has taken the time to understand me and knows how to talk to me. The one-to-one support I have is very useful.”

Peter Wells, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Large employers might have the correct policies and procedures in place but it’s about understanding the individual.”

Some young people on the Talent Match SCR programme felt that they received support whilst searching for employment, but this support was no longer available once they entered employment. It was felt amongst those in employment that employers should engage more with their workers, with transparent feedback, equal treatment of staff and progressing staff ideas. Kyle said: “Employers need to go to the beehive and speak to the bees!”

Transport is often listed as a barrier for young people seeking employment. Some of the young attendees said that they did not feel confident asking if they were on the correct bus and others spoke about how they were unable to find the correct transport as everything is focussed on digital. “Some of the young people we support are homeless and don’t have a phone with internet access, others often have no credit, or their phones aren’t regularly charged. People presume that all young people are digital natives, but that is not the case with the young people we work with. It all comes down to affordability and accessibility” said A participant at the event.

There are many more barriers for young people seeking employment. Talent Match SCR runs a young people’s involvement team, giving those on the programme the chance to have their say and change things for the better. The group have implemented counselling, to assist with mental health problems, workplace buddies and more.

Paul Blomfield MP said: “I’m glad that [Talent Match SCR and Sheffield Hallam University] are doing this work and I’m really keen to hear more about the issues facing young people seeking employment. One of the challenges of being a Member of Parliament is that I represent 113,000 people across Sheffield and knowing what life is like for them; what the issues are and finding the solutions are only possible when we come together.”

One size does not fit all – #YouthWorkWeek

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield Futures has developed a model to ensure the youth work skill set is not lost despite the current climate of cuts to youth services. The recent Unison report ‘The Damage’ shows how cuts to youth services are damaging young people’s lives. In Sheffield, we are determined that this will not be the case.

It’s well known that there have been many cuts to youth services, with 350 youth centres closed nationally since 2012.

A teenage attendee at Woodthorpe Youth Club said: “Youth work is so important to us because our youth workers are always there for us even when we don’t deserve it, and won’t ever give up on us even though it feels sometimes like everybody else has.”

In Sheffield over the last six years, youth clubs have closed and opening hours and funding for activities have been reduced. The need for youth work does not reduce with funding cuts though. Youth workers support teenagers with everything from health, to employment, to citizenship and community involvement. The relationships that young people form with youth workers are invaluable, support is tailored and responsive to change in need. However, whilst youth work engagement and support skills are in high demand for one to one work with vulnerable young people, funding for traditional youth work services is reducing – leaving a skills gap.

Jon Boagey, National Youth Agency said: “In recent years youth work organisations like Sheffield Futures have responded to the pressing needs of the most vulnerable young people. Investment has shifted in this direction but we also need to fund programmes that support young people before their needs become acute.  Sheffield Futures has managed to continue supporting open access youth work and hopefully resources will be available to do this in the future.”  

This Youth Work Week, award-winning youth charity Sheffield Futures is celebrating the skilled work force that is often described as a lifeline for young people. All qualified youth workers have been given additional training so that they can deliver much-needed one to one support, assessing and supporting vulnerable young people at risk of poor life chances.. This flexible delivery ensures that young people have workers who delivers open access youth work in clubs as well as supporting them on a one-to-one basis through a case work approach. In Sheffield, youth workers are part of multi-agency youth support teams.

Louise Ellison, Community Youth Teams Manager at Sheffield Futures said: “The city of Sheffield is committed to ensuring that youth work skills and youth services are not lost. The City Council contracts Sheffield Futures to run youth services including regular youth clubs. Sheffield Hallam University deliver the Youth and Community Work degree, showing that in our city, there is both a need and people wanting to deliver

Sheffield has developed a flexible approach to youth work, developed to the individual and community need. For instance, the ‘curriculum’ delivered at Sheffield Futures youth clubs, is developed to meet the needs of the community and young people who attend. Youth work takes many forms in the city, and includes group work, one-to-one sessions, open access youth clubs and detached work, on the streets where young people are. Services are delivered by multiple agencies, including specialist workers who help young people to think about their future and take steps towards education, employment and training.

Ellie McMahon, Youth Worker at Sheffield Futures said: “I think youth work is so important because the transition from childhood to adulthood is one of the most difficult and confusing times in a lifetime, and youth work provides a safe and supportive environment for young people to find who they are and get answers to things they otherwise would not ask. It also teaches things that school doesn’t, and does so in a completely non-judgemental and inclusive way.”

Fire Safety Quiz

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[mlw_quizmaster quiz=1]

Sheffield Parent Talks About Their Child Sexting

Tash Bright No Comments

During our  ‘Let’s Talk About Sexting’ campaign we have looked at a wide range of topics surrounding young people sending and receiving sexual imagery. As our campaign draws to an end, the main thing that has become apparent is that there is so much to consider and it is imperative that we look at the bigger picture. Young people sexting has become a major issue in schools, for families, child exploitation services  and for young people as individuals.  Our society and the technological advances that have led to sexting becoming so common place means that we all must take greater care in understanding why young people sext, the risks of young people sexting and the laws surrounding young people sexting.

Young people’s safety is always and should always be the top priority when sexting laws are put in place or when dealing with child sexual exploitation.  This week we will be focusing on the often forgotten topic of how young people sexting can affect the whole family.  PSHE Association found that 78% of parents were either fairly concerned or very concerned about youth produced sexual imagery. We interviewed local Sheffield parent, Carol, whose fourteen year old daughter had recently been referred to the Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Services after various sexting incidents.

How did you first find out your child was sexting?

She told me. I’m really glad that she can be open with me because it makes me feel less worried that there’s stuff going on that I don’t know about.

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How did you feel when you found out your child was sexting?

I was quite horrified. I tried to conceal it but it is very shocking. You just think you can’t relate it to your own youth. You just think, ‘what’s going on’ but apparently that’s what happens. She’s educating me! Everybody is doing it. That’s the way it sounds.

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Does it help to talk to other parents?

Yeah it does. I talk to other parents. It is fairly widespread. You don’t want to think that your child unusually precocious. You think if they’re all doing but I still find it shocking.

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Why do you think young people sext?

Partly because they can, because there’s the technology available. I think it’s a very sexualised world now. I think of the things that we thought were a bit rude on Top of the Pops and now it’s nothing. They can all get porn on their phones. I find that really sad because before they’re ready for sex, it’s there. Kids are inquisitive aren’t they. I think they have this very sexualised view of other kids and themselves whereas emotionally their miles away from being ready for it. She has had a couple of experiences of sex and she didn’t like it. She knew she wasn’t ready for it. She felt coerced and that put her of for a bit now. There’s a difference between the real thing and looking sexy and people fancying you. Two separate things.

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What advice would you have for parents who are concerned their child might be sexting?

She’s always one step ahead of me. Even if I did manage to take her phone away, she’d just find another way of doing it. That’s her territory. I’ve got no way of knowing what’s on there. The thing that really really obviously bothers parents is the thought of them putting images on the web. We’ve talked about it ending up all over the place. I’ve told her what I think about it with things coming up on the news about images being circulated.

5-3

 

Have you learnt about any software that can be used to help monitor your child’s online/phone use?

I wouldn’t have a clue where to start about software to monitor her phone. I don’t have the ability. It’s gone beyond what I can do. We’re not idiots, it’s just so much has come so quickly.

5-7

 

How has working with Sheffield Futures helped you deal with the situation?

I think Sophie has gone through a big change where she’s felt herself a lot more grown up than her peers. She’s quite vulnerable and she’s quite impressed by people who are living what she sees as an exciting lifestyle. There were a couple of episodes where she was brought home by the police in the early hours as she was out with a boy she met from school, so that’s why we were referred by social services to the CSE team and I found it massively helpful. They discuss with Sophie about staying safe and different aspects of drugs, sex and alcohol in a way that Sophie would be telling to get lost. I’m really grateful that we’ve got that support… As a parent, you’re the one responsible for them and you can make errors because you just don’t know where to turn next. The natural thing is to clamp down and say you are not doing that and it just makes it worse but that’s the immediate thing you think you should do. Then you talk to the Sheffield Futures Sexual Exploitation Service team, who have knowledge and experience and you work out a way of dealing with it that is going to be a long term as rather than getting angry. When this thing is confronting you, you just panic and I think it makes a massive difference [to get support] because you could really make it a lot worse.

5-9

 

Has the sexting led to bullying?

There was a situation where she talked about it at school and that got spread around the school and she did find people talking about her and it was out of her control and that really upset her. That thing of other people knowing. Then of course the story gets changed.
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Has sexting changed your relationship with your daughter?

I think as a parent it takes a bit of the idyllic parent thing away. You know you have the ‘my little girl’. You just have to grow up about it really and think it’s a thing. It’s there. I think parenting is one long compromise anyway. You have to let go of your own illusions and dreams because it’s the child being safe and happy that matters. That’s all you want.

 

If you have been affected by any aspect of sexting you can get help from the organisations bellow:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC – 0808 800 5000, by emailing help@nspcc.org.uk, or by texting 88858.

They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

 

 

Sheffield Futures Launches Mi LifeMapp

Tash Bright No Comments

We are happy to announce the launch of Mi LifeMapp – a youth focused app created by Sheffield Futures that acts as a guide to staying healthy, happy and safe in Sheffield.

Mi Life Mapp is a great resource to help young people deal with issues they may be facing in real life, whilst giving them advice on the organisations at hand to help them.

mi-lifemapp

Sheffield Futures’ long history of working with young people in Sheffield has put us in an ideal position to develop an app aimed at the issues we know young people find important. The Sheffield Futures Young Advisors and Youth Cabinet members talked with young people to develop the app and find out what issues should be included. Young people are always a part of the development of our resources to ensure that they are youth friendly and a resource that young people will engage with.

Mi LifeMapp gives the basic facts about concerns surrounding bullying, sexual health, mental health, relationships, wellbeing and things to do in and around Sheffield. The app is easily downloadable from most mobile phones and is the perfect starting point for vulnerable young people who may need to find out how they can get help . Though the app does not go in depth on every topic, it does point out the key issues and explains who young people can contact for more help.

The Mi LifeMapp is free to download from http://bit.ly/MiLifeMapp. The Mi LifeMapp grew out of Sheffield Futures Mi Book, which is on its third edition and features help for young people on the same issues. If you are interested in collecting some printed copies of MiBook please email tash.bright@sheffieldfutures.org.uk.

 

Festival of Debate Events at Sheffield Futures

Tash Bright No Comments

We put young people at the heart of all of our services. It’s important that we help you to have a voice, and to know how to make the most out of opportunities to speak to decision makers. We’re hosting three events with Festival of Debate this autumn, that will help you to have your say and talk about global issues!

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The Global Vote (Tuesday 11th October, 5pm at Star House)

The Global Vote lets anyone anywhere vote in any election. The founder of the Good Country (who measure which country was the happiest) and the Global Vote, Simon Anholt is coming to Sheffield Futures as part of Festival of Debate to talk to young people about elections and votes in other countries and how they affect you, as well as showing them his website.

https://www.facebook.com/events/826891764114870/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-global-vote-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27305967885

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Asking Powerful Questions (Tuesday 25th October, 5pm at Star House)

This session is designed to help young people make the most out of every conversation with decision makers. It will help young people to discover who to approach, what to discuss and how to persuade. This workshop is run by the Politics Project through Sheffield Futures and Festival of Debate. As Sheffield Futures is all about young people’s voice, this is vital to our work and we would like to encourage all young people to attend.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1830089530556330/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/asking-powerful-questions-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27304357067

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Designing the Future (Tuesday 8th November, 5pm at Star House)

We want to know what young people think about global issues. We’ll be holding a world café discussion about: climate change, gender and race inequality, migration, water and sanitation, healthcare and more. This is a great opportunity for young people to have their say, discuss potential solutions and join the dots between the biggest global issues today. This is a joint event with Festival of Debate and Sheffield Futures.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1655412368083798/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/designing-the-future-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27306324953

Volunteering helped Sheffield teen find her future career

Tash Bright No Comments

Volunteering at Sheffield Futures, was the starting point that helped local teen make positive changes in her life.

Nineteen year old Courtney Castledine was filled with excitement as we spoke to her on the first day of her new full time job at Talent Match Sheffield City Region. Courtney began volunteering at Sheffield Futures at the age of thirteen after a series of challenges at school. Sheffield Futures provides local young people with the support and opportunities that enable them to make positive choices in their lives.

Growing up, Courtney explained how she didn’t get on well at school: “I struggled with all sorts at school…I wanted to do the best I could but found it difficult.” Courtney’s school referred her to Sheffield Futures who have links with schools all across the city.

Courtney defines her mentors at Sheffield Futures as part of her family. Speaking fondly of her time volunteering, she describes how she got involved with art projects at the local youth clubs that Sheffield Futures run. She particularly enjoyed designing anti-bullying posters: “I was so passionate about designing the posters, helping other people was all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to use my experience to give something back and help other young people”

At age sixteen, after volunteering at the youth clubs, her mentor suggested she go for the role of Young Advisor at Sheffield Futures. Young Advisors are paid to help organisations make their services youth friendly. As part of Young Advisors, Courtney went on to win the National Young Advisors Impact Award. She stated: “Being a Young Advisor built up my confidence massively. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and talk to you if I didn’t have all the previous experience. I probably wouldn’t have got the job I have now.”

During Courtney’s time as a Young Advisor she applied for a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship through The Source, which helped her to secure her new full time job as an Admin Assistant for Talent Match Sheffield City Region. After completing the Apprenticeship Courtney has now been kept on and is helping to coordinate support for other young people aged between 18 – 24, looking to gain access to employment, education and training.

We can help you in many ways, from careers advice, to volunteering opportunities!

10 ways to destress for exams

Ruth Durkin No Comments

1. Get a change of scene

We all know the feeling of sitting at your desk, staring at the same page of revision for an hour, with none of it sinking in. Go for a 10-minute walk! Physical exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which cheers you up. Drinking in some nature can take your mind off work for a while, allowing you to reflect on what you have to do away from the pile of paper.

2. Turn off your computer screen

It’s all too tempting to scroll through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram when you’re having a break from revision, but staring at a screen all day is scientifically proven to increase stress in some people, and makes it difficult to sleep. Try giving someone a call – old friends, family, partners, anyone to take your mind off revision without the need for a screen!

3. Listen to some music

Cranking up the volume on a feel-good classic can really brighten up your day, and turn the same dingy revision den into a daytime disco!

4. Eat some fruit

Chocolate may be tempting, but the guilt might stress you out more! Instead, why not go for the natural goodness of fruit? They have plenty of sugars to give you energy. Bananas are particularly good; the potassium helps to keep your blood pressure down.

5. Meditate

Meditation doesn’t mean sitting cross-legged on top of a mountain, chanting ‘Ommm’… but spending 10 minutes with your lights off in bed practising Mindfulness can be a great way to clear your head and get a healthy dose of perspective on your workload. There are plenty of apps and online tools that can help guide you through meditation – just Google ‘Mindfulness’!

6. Sleep

This one sounds obvious, but the number of people who don’t sleep properly is astounding. You may think you don’t have time to get a solid kip, but your brain will take in a lot more information after a proper rest, so it can actually increase your revision productivity. Make sure you turn screens off (computer and phone) an hour before bed, as the blueish light stops you from getting to sleep.

7. Write a list of things you’re happy about

Sometimes, in the depths of a tough study session, it’s hard to remember what it’s like to be happy. Write a list of all the things that cheer you up, and have a look when you feel like it’s all getting a bit too much. It could be anything from football in the park to a hot bath – climbing trees to cuddling puppies.

8. Say no, politely!

Don’t forget about your friends and family and make time to see them when you can. However, some people might not understand that you need to focus on your studies and, for the time-being, you may need to see people less frequently than usual. Explain to your nearest and dearest that you’d love to see them when your exams are over, or even better, to celebrate when you receive your results! Don’t take on too much or you might feel overwhelmed.

9. Smile!

Even fake smiles are proven to improve your mood. We’re not sure why, they just do! Time yourself for one minute of grinning, and you’ll probably feel a lot better after it!

10. Open a window

If you really don’t have time to go for a walk, even cracking a window open can be a great way to feel better. A cold breeze can be very invigorating, and the fresh air benefits your body, making you mentally and physically prepared for work.

9 ways to improve your concentration

Ruth Durkin No Comments
  1. Clear the room

 Try to find somewhere quiet and relaxed – too many people around will inevitably distract you. It’s also important to clear your workspace – a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind!

  1. Get rid of online distractions

The internet is a weird, wonderful and wide-reaching place – brilliant for many things, including procrastination. It’s so easy to get carried away checking Twitter, and it can be a real spanner in the works for your train of thought. There are heaps of browser extensions that block out specific websites for an hour or two – Search Google for ‘Blocksite’, a popular one.

  1. Clear your head

You know that feeling when you’re in the zone, and 2 hours later you’re staring at an entire essay but you’re not quite sure how it all happened?

Great spurts of working energy don’t just come from nowhere. You have to start out with a clear mind, with no distractions knocking around. Try downloading a ‘meditation’ app, they’re brilliant 10 minute exercises to help you clear your thoughts.

  1. Write down your goals

You’re never going to achieve much with your day if you don’t know what you’re setting out to achieve. Writing down your goals for the day makes it ten times more likely that you’ll conquer them. Seeing them laid out, ink on paper, is almost like having a written contract with yourself – and ticking them off is all the more satisfying when you get to stage 7.

  1. Set Deadlines

Having written down your goals, put a time frame on them! And not just “today I’ll do X Y and Z” – think “9:00-11:00 finish X, 12:00-2:00- finish task Y”. Breaking apart your time means you won’t get overwhelmed by all the bits and bobs you have to do, and you can focus fully on one task at a time.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to cram a year’s worth of work into one day either, be realistic!

  1. Break apart tasks

So you’ve followed the above steps, and now you’re getting to a whopper of a task. Take 5 minutes to brainstorm a plan of how you will do it from the very first steps – anything you’ll need to research, to the first steps of actually doing it

  1. GET ON WITH IT.

This is the most important step, the one to pay attention to if you forget all the others: JUST DO IT. It’s all well and good faffing around with step 1-6 all day but it’s not going to get anything done. Try and get those out of the way quickly.

  1. Short, Regular breaks

Once you’re on a roll, don’t let it burn you out – try and take a short break once an hour. Don’t get sucked in to the internet or social media – try to do something a little more invigorating. Go for a walk, make a cup of tea, dunk a biscuit for a dangerous amount of time – whatever gets you pumped.

  1. Live healthily

A healthy diet and regular sleeping pattern makes all the difference to how long your concentration holds out. You’d be surprised at how much more you get done with 8 hours kip and some form of granola-yoghurty brain food combination for breakfast!

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.