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.”

      

Migration Matters Festival 14-22 June

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield continues to celebrate migration with the return of the UK’s largest city-wide Refugee Week event!

“Britain’s largest festival that celebrates the contribution of refugees and promotes understanding of why people seek sanctuary is more relevant than ever.” – New Internationalist, 2017.

Migration Matters Festival returns to Sheffield with its biggest line up to date for Refugee Week 2019, showcasing a large spectrum of local, national and international acts that will come together to celebrate the positive impact of migration in the city and the UK.

Sheffield Futures are proudly participating in Migration Matters Festival this year, with a photography exhibition by young people across Sheffield. The photographs will be shown on Monday 17th June at Sheffield Futures, Division St between 5-7pm and then for the rest of the week. Young people who have participated in the project live in Sheffield and represent the diverse communities that make Sheffield great, including Roma Slovak, Pakistani and Somali communities.

“Driven by this year’s Refugee Week Theme, ‘You, Me and Those Who Came Before’, the festival sheds light on how Sheffield and the UK has been forged by the generations of people whose cultures have shaped and made it a richer place. While the country has been plunged into uncertainty – a word we’ve all grown weary of, it’s essential we don’t lose sight of what makes this island great: its people.” – Sam Holland, Migration Matters Festival Director.

This year’s 8-day festival will take place from 14th to 22nd June with over 60 events during what will be the UK’s 21st annual Refugee Week. Migration Matters Festival is set to continue the important work of bringing communities together to enjoy a culturally rich mix of theatre, music, film, dance, spoken word, academic talks, and food – covering key topics such as LGBTQI+ identity, mental health and activism to name a few.

Migration Matters Festival is at venues across Sheffield, 14-22 June. Full lineup and how to book are at www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk. All events are Pay-What-you-Decide to ensure that the festival is open and available to all. However, it is advised that tickets are reserved for most events through Tickets for Good who specialise in making events accessible to vulnerable audiences.

www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk

Twitter/Instagram: @migmatfest #sheffieldisopen #MigMatFest19

Facebook: www.facebook.com/migrationmattersfestival

Update: Woodthorpe Social Action Project! #WoodthorpeSAP

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people from Woodthorpe want to improve their youth club, to make it a welcoming space that the whole community can benefit from. Currently the community space is used by two groups, including Sheffield Futures Woodthorpe Youth Club. Attendees at the youth club have formed a group: Woodthorpe Social Action Project (WSAP) who “want to make the youth club more homely and inviting to people who haven’t been here before.”

The group have met with local Councillors to show them the space and the changes they would like to make. Here’s Ash showing them the paint samples they have chosen and how they voted as a group to decide which one to go with!

WSAP also met with Ryzard and Mo from All About You who run a session for young people with learning difficulties at Woodthorpe Youth Club.  They discussed what they were planning to do with the centre and how they plan to incorporate the young people from All About You group’s ideas and needs. 

They also discussed other opportunities to get involved in community action through All About You including using the outdoor areas and painting outside!

The group have been busy meeting local Police Community Support Officers to discuss their work, which led to a conversation about the area and local young people’s issues. The group discussed knife crime and young people’s solutions to the problems.

WSAP met with local employer, Loadhog, who have generously offered to support their social action project. Staff from Loadhog will be offering support painting and decorating on the main social action day (Friday 5th April) and the young people are delighted to have been offered their help. The group received a tour of the site and discussed ways in which they would try and help. 

The group are looking for support from local people, businesses and more to make their ideas a reality. Before any decorating can take place, there are repairs that need to take place and equipment which is no longer in use to be removed. WSAP will be holding fundraisers and asking the local community for donations to improve the club, but are also looking for donations of time and skills for the repair work.

Could you help WSAP? Call: 07766 751 614 or email: fundraising@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

“Anything that anyone can do would be great because this is a second home to us.”


#YouthWorkMatters

Woodthorpe Youth Club Social Action Project

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people from Woodthorpe want to improve their youth club, to make it a welcoming space that more young people can benefit from. Currently the community space, owned by Sheffield City Council, is used by two groups, including Sheffield Futures Woodthorpe Youth Club. Attendees at the youth club have formed a group: Woodthorpe Social Action Project (WSAP) who “want to make the youth club more homely and inviting to people who haven’t been here before.”

WSAP have made a list of things they would like to change about the club and are working on a plan – leading up to a day of social action during the Easter holidays, where they will work with local businesses and partners. This project will involve young people-led fundraisers, asking the local community for their time, skills and expertise and bringing together businesses, decision makers and young people to make positive change in an area that has received negative press. Last June, the Guardian reported a rise in serious violence across Sheffield, focussing on Lowedges and Woodthorpe “two of the estates blighted by a murder and three shootings in recent weeks.”

WSAP are meeting weekly to discuss ideas, organise fundraisers, create videos and plan the redecoration of their youth club. The group said: “Youth club is a safer place than being on the streets. We want to make it look better and we’re going to get involved as much as we can. We’ve written letters to MPs and Councillors inviting them to come down and see the club.”

The youth club stands back from the road, with little outdoor lighting to show that a session is on, which may attract new attendees. This is something that the group would like to change, with additional flood lighting so that they can make use of the club’s football pitch during the dark evenings.

Inside, the club needs a lick of paint and an upgrade to their furnishings. The group “met a street artist who we want to do a mural at the youth club. This project is giving us the experiences that we probably won’t ever have again. How many people will be able to say ‘I helped paint that wall with an artist’?!”

“I wanna do some spray painting because it sounds fun.”

The group are looking for support from local people, businesses and more to make their ideas a reality. WSAP will be holding fundraisers and asking the local community for donations to improve the club, but are also looking for donations of time and skills.

Could you help WSAP? Call: 07766 751 614 or email: fundraising@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

“Anything that anyone can do would be great because this is a second home to us.”


#YouthWorkMatters

#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.’ 

SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis officially opens Sheffield Futures Health Zone for young people

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield’s largest youth charity, Sheffield Futures officially launched their new Health Zone for young people to access all of their health and wellbeing needs, with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.

The Health Zone space has been transformed thanks to funding from the Department of Health’s Places of Safety capital grant and sits within Sheffield Futures emotional wellbeing service for young people aged 13 – 25: Door 43.

The Health Zone was launched by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis who said: ‘The young people who spoke today have given an incredible testimony to the service. It’s a tough world and it’s a tough time to be growing up and the pressures that young people face are much more acute than the pressures that my generation faced. As a result of that, many young people require support and help which is nothing to be ashamed about, all of us, at some point in our lives will need a bit of help.

‘That is why the work that is done here, by Sheffield Futures is incredibly important work.’

During an opening speech, Sheffield Futures Head of Targeted Services and Health, Dan White, spoke of the lengthy consultations with young people, mental health groups, healthcare professionals, Sheffield Hallam Architecture students and more to ensure that the Health Zone will meet the needs of young people. Feedback included the need for rooms for private conversations, as well as larger rooms for activities, a kitchen, a certified health room and modern soft furnishings, all of which feature in the new space.

The attendees were also joined by young people who have been supported by Door 43: Sam, Phoebe, James and Tara who spoke to their Health and Wellbeing Worker Sadie Charlton about where they were before the service, what work has been done with them and where they want to be in the future. Tara said: ‘Since I started coming here, I feel like I have meaning in my life.’

Sam said: ‘Before I came to Door 43, I had given up on life. I had given up on my hopes and dreams for the future. I stopped leaving the house and socialising, it took a lot to get me to come here. Door 43’s Wellbeing Café is a good opportunity to speak to like-minded people. Since coming to Door 43 I’ve realised that I can actually do the things that I want to do. The staff encouraged me to start working towards becoming a paramedic, they’ve encouraged me to start college again and do what I want to do. I would never have done it if it wasn’t for Door 43.’

The official opening of the Health Zone had an emotional high, with a performance from a young person who is supported by Door 43, Jenny. Unfortunately, Jenny lost her job due to her emotional wellbeing, and to pay rent, she sold her beloved guitar and keyboard. After Sheffield Futures posted Jenny’s story on social media, they were kindly donated a guitar and keyboard to give to her. Jenny has been writing songs about her mental health journey and performed at the event.

Door 43 aims to prevent young people from requiring expensive statutory, crisis led, interventions through offering unique combination of early intervention and prevention work, including counselling and other psychological therapies, awareness and advice work, health clinics, signposting and supported referral pathways, and personal support.

Many of the young people the service supports just need a safe space in which they can talk about how they feel in a comfortable environment. The Health Zone will be used flexibly to meet the varying needs of young people, taking a holistic view of emotional wellbeing and delivering early intervention and prevention work to release pressure on acute services.

Sheffield Futures train with the professionals at GB Boxing!

Tash Bright No Comments

In the run up to the GB Boxing Championships, Sheffield Futures took a group of young people from their youth clubs and young people from Empire Boxing Gym to meet the boxers and be coached by the professionals at their world-class facility. Many of the young people Sheffield Futures work with have not seen live sports before, let alone take a tour around the training facilities, meet the athletes themselves and ask questions about how to take their own careers forward.

Sheffield Futures corporate partners, GB Boxing, based at the English Institute of Sport, prepare and train the boxers that compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games. The partnership focuses on the use of boxing as a tool to bolster Sheffield Futures’ community involvement work and inspire Sheffield’s young people to achieve wider personal development through sport.

    

Sheffield Futures Community Youth Teams have seen the benefits boxing can bring to young people otherwise at risk of falling into risky antisocial behaviour, including:

  • Healthy eating and lifestyle: Maximising physical ability through nutrition and healthy lifestyle
  • Mental health: Feel good factor achieved through exercise and team sport
  • Social skills: Interaction and engagement which builds confidence and enjoyment in positive social interaction
  • Self-control & anger management: Self-control of skills and the ability to be mentally strong in exercising this
  • Self-defence and safety: Helping young people to deliver safe skills for self defence
  • Racism and homophobia: Discussion of legendary boxers that had been publicly victimised due to their race and the ethical implications
  • Gender: Conversations around the evolution in women’s boxing and its increasing popularity

18+ and looking for a warehouse job?

Tash Bright No Comments

Are you 18+ and looking for a warehouse job? Drop in on Thursday 1st Nov to find out more.

Need more information or can’t make it? Email: alexander.leonard@sheffieldfutures.org.uk 

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.

Youth Word Up is BACK!

Tash Bright No Comments

Join us on Thursday 25th October 7.30pm-9.30pm at The Hubs (Sheffield Hallam Student Union, opposite the Showroom on Paternoster Row) for an inspiring evening of poetry and performance from local young people. The night is always fantastic and we would recommend it!

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.