Alex’s four minute fire videos to help young people into work

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Alex, our Employer Engagement Coordinator, has put together a series of four minute videos for young people who are looking for work. He covers lots of different topics, like CV writing, interviews and how to land that first job when you have no experience. Check them out and let us know if you have any questions or ideas for what Alex should cover in future videos.

Success for Sheffield’s youth election as voters turn out in their thousands

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Young people across Sheffield voted to decide who will be elected to join Sheffield Youth Cabinet, to voice their issues and concerns on a local, regional and national level. 2017 has been the most successful year for local young people voting in the Youth Cabinet Elections, with a total of 11,581 votes!

All over Sheffield, schools and youth clubs have been promoting the Youth Cabinet Elections, with posters advertising the school’s candidates as well as proud parents tweeting support on Twitter!

Birkdale School said: “Our lower school assembly handled the topic of democracy and we all voted [in the Youth Cabinet Elections this February.]”

Handsworth Grange said: “Pupils will be voting and showing their support. Good luck to our own Fozia Sultana.”

The candidates presented their manifestos in early February, which included their policies on important issues such as mental health, cheaper transport and a curriculum to prepare young people for life as well as other concerns.

The Elections announcement took place at Sheffield Town Hall and celebrated the achievements of the previous Youth Cabinet Members since they began their posts in 2015. Exiting members told of how they met with Members of Parliament and discussed the local issues they championed, which were then raised in the Houses of Parliament.

Lare Fergie said: “The past few years have been truly wonderful, and it has been an honour to represent the young people of Sheffield. One thing that has really stood out to me is that we can make a real difference.

Back when I was first elected, I had very little experience politically; I attended protests and was incredibly passionate about what I believed in. But since then I’ve managed to make some very real changes. I’m currently working for the Royal College of Psychiatrists alongside NHS England, writing pioneering policy, and pathways. I’ve spoken at countless conferences, to commissioning groups, and politicians. I’ve done TV, radio and newspaper interviews raising awareness of mental health problems… The list could go on.”

The group wished the new candidates well as they started their term in office.

Certificates were presented to the group for their achievements over the last year and each member was congratulated by Sue Mia, former Involvement Worker at Sheffield Futures who retired in March 2016. Sue said: “One of the best things about being a youth worker is seeing young people blossom, learn to have their say and I’m sure you will all go on to be a great success.”

MP Gill Furniss welcomed the event, saying: “Becoming a Youth Councillor will give you the confidence to speak on behalf of all young people in Sheffield. That confidence will help you to work with MPs and make a difference on a national scale. I’m so pleased that many young people have voted in this election and it is important that you all vote, and have your say in the future. Hopefully we will see you on the Council soon and in Parliament after that!”

The new Sheffield Youth Cabinet for 2017 – 2019 are:

Elected Youth Councillors for West Sheffield are; Arman (King Edwards VII School), Benjamin (Tapton School), Ismail (High Storrs School), Lara (Tapton School), Luke (King Edwards VII School), Rebecca (Tapton School) and Sam (Tapton School).

Successful Youth Councillors representing East Sheffield are; Abbi (Park Academy), Fozia (Handsworth Grange Community Sports College), Kate (Outwood Academy), Sapha and Shauna.

Elected Youth Councillors for North Sheffield are; Aisha, Jennifer (Hinde House), Joanna (Firth Park Academy), Leo (Yewlands Academy) and Megan (Ecclesfield School)

Lara Fergie, Youth Councillor for East Sheffield delivered a closing speech and thanked the participants for all of their hard work, saying: “Events like this give me hope that young people really do have a voice and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the next two years.”

The schools which participated in the voting process also received accolades. Schools were given a Democracy Award for their achievements with the Bronze award for 50% or more students voting, going to Park Academy, Newfield School and Stocksbridge High School.

Over 70% or more of students at the following schools voted, earning the schools the Silver award: Birley Community College, High Storrs School, Meadowhead School, Chaucer School and Hinde House.

Yewlands Academy received votes from 100% students, earning the school the only Gold award.

Sheffield Youth Cabinet Elections 2017

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What is this election?

This election is an opportunity for you to vote for a candidate to become a member of the Sheffield Youth Cabinet. Each candidate has written a manifesto to explain what they hope to achieve in this role.

What do the Sheffield Youth Cabinet do?

The Sheffield Youth Cabinet aim to represent the voice of all young people aged 11-18 who live in Sheffield. As a part of their role they work on campaigns to make adults and other young people look at and listen to the issues that you want seen and heard. This work is voluntary. They are all passionate about making Sheffield and the UK a better and fairer place for young people.

Where and when can I vote?

  • A Ballot Box will be or has been delivered to your school.
  • You can vote in your school or possibly in your local youth club or at a youth group that you go to.
  • You can vote anytime from the 6th of February to the 14th of February 2017

Why should I vote?

  • You are voting for a young person who wants to make a difference for you and other young people.
  • Democracy and living in a fair and equal society is important for everyone.
  • These are not adult politicians making decisions about your future, these are young people giving you a voice now.

How do I vote?

  • Take 5 minutes to watch and listen to the Manifestos – coming soon to the Sheffield Futures website/Facebook and in your schools.
  • Decide which candidate you think would do a good job.
  • Think about the issues that they have said they will try to improve.
  • Put a cross or tick next to the candidate that you choose on your voting slip.
  • Put your voting slip in the ballot box.

If you have any questions please contactLee Raven – Youth Worker, Sheffield Futures, Star House, 43 Division Street, Sheffield, S1 4GE

We are all Daniel Blake

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I was one of the many thousands of people who, in the last week, cried in the cinema watching I, Daniel Blake. I watched the film from a position of privilege: in good health, full time employment and having never lived in poverty. In the queue, I moaned about a sandwich that I had bought earlier and soon felt ashamed of my #firstworldproblem.

If you haven’t seen I, Daniel Blake yet, I urge you to do so. For me, it was an important reminder about other people’s realities and that not everyone has the same opportunities that I have, and that sometimes things go wrong, whether this is health, job loss, family problems, lack of support and education… the list goes on.

After the film, I started thinking about the NowThen campaign Fairness on the 83. If you aren’t familiar with it, please see their website here. The campaign focussed around the inequalities and deprivation in Sheffield, and how radically that differs on the 83 bus route. At one end, there are people living in the top 1% most deprived in the country, and the other, the bottom 10%. I think that is really hard to get your head around, and it hadn’t struck me that there are so many people in Sheffield who are living in absolute poverty, but this was confirmed in a conversation I had with one of our Future Shapers Mentors at Sheffield Futures.

Future Shapers Mentors work in all secondary schools in Sheffield. They work with young people who have been identified as being at risk of becoming Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). These young people receive tailored support, from their own personal Mentor. This programme is pretty unique as it allows young people to do things on their own terms, they aren’t given a prescribed course where each week they have to participate in something that they do not want to do, but instead they lead the way and work with the Mentor to achieve at school and life. Sometimes this means simply attending school, at other times it means building their confidence to ask when they don’t understand something, it can even mean gaining a volunteer placement or apprenticeship.

The reason we don’t have a set route with young people, is that we know that one size does not fit all. We also know that it’s impossible to know what goes on behind closed doors. The Mentor told me that his job is “an eye opener, it’s shocking when you find out discover the real reason why someone isn’t attending school, or why they don’t have the confidence to ask questions in class.”

“The kids I work with are all in their school uniforms, they make an effort to wear the right things and fit in with their classmates, it’s almost impossible to tell what their living situation is. The uniform is deceiving, but it’s also so important to them to not stand out, or draw attention to the fact that their shoes don’t fit them anymore.”

One particular poignant scene in the film depicts a mother who has not eaten as she wanted to feed her family and she’s desperately hungry. I was shocked to find out that, in Sheffield, some of the teenagers Sheffield Futures work with “just don’t eat when they’re not at school, they rely on free school meals so they end up going hungry in the school holidays.”

Some of the young people we support have to share small living spaces with their families. “One of the girls I work with shares a bedroom with her mum, she has no privacy, space or comfort. She’s started spending more time outside and not at home, meaning she’s much more vulnerable to exploitation. Of course you wouldn’t know this to look at her.”

“Others have accommodation, they have homes, but no money for food or carpets for the floors.”

For many of the young people we work with, home life can be chaotic. “Everyone has a different story, one of the boys I work with had to leave home because he thought it was unbearable to stay, he sofa-surfed for a while, had no money to attend school and wasn’t anywhere long enough to shower or eat a proper meal for five days.”

 “It’s a massive achievement for some that they’ve even made it in to school.” In school, the structured day allows teenagers to leave their worries at the door. The Mentors work in schools with young people, on a one-to-one basis, offering much needed support.

“Talking helps to alleviate some of the daily worries and stress that they’re carrying around. As we talk one-to-one, they know they can share their problems and won’t get in trouble for telling it how they see it. Young people need support, and when they reach out, they need it immediately. Often services don’t have the resources to offer support if a young person doesn’t engage with their programme, so that’s why Future Shapers works, we’re in the schools, we can be where they are, when they need us. Everyone’s needs are different, we should all take the time to listen, find out what those needs are and learn how to address them.”


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.