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Blog: Young people’s response to Government’s consultation on statutory guidance for youth services

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The Government is calling for evidence from young people, local authorities and voluntary and community providers of local youth services to inform its revision of the statutory guidance on delivering youth services.

In this blog Emma Hinchliffe, our young people’s involvement lead, talks about the key themes raised in response to the consultation by young people in the Sheffield Young Advisors and the Sheffield Youth Cabinet.

The Sheffield Young Advisors are consultants who advise organisations on ensuring youth voice is central to their work and the Sheffield Youth Cabinet represent the voice of young people 11-18 across Sheffield.

In order to invite the views of young people, the government has provided a questionnaire for young people providing options for them to respond to. Within this, the government asked young people what they felt should be in the guidance to make sure it’s ‘useful’.

Our young people felt overwhelmingly that the government should include a statutory minimum requirement that young people should be able to access youth services, including youth groups offering a wide range of activities that are engaging for the young people in the area.

Within this, detached youth work, where young people are engaged by highly skilled youth workers on the streets and are signposted to youth provision was a key requirement. And importantly, in order to shape recommendations it was felt young people should be continually consulted to ensure the guidance is representative of young people’s voice in the regions so that youth work offers meaningful, inclusive, engaging and accessible youth work tailored for those young people.

Our young people felt that the guidance should be more agile and be reviewed ongoing to change in line with national and regional priorities to confront and tackle the major issues of the day for example, mental health, criminal exploitation and associated knife crime. Our young people went further to say that in the case of identified major issues in a particular area, that detailed preventative strategies be included in the guidance to keep young people safe.

When asked about the local council’s role in shaping the services provided for young people, all felt young people should be consulted throughout the planning, delivery and review process to ensure youth voice is central. And that it was important for those undertaking this to go the extra mile to ensure all young people in a locality are represented. Engaging with schools, colleges and education providers, youth clubs, youth voice groups and other community spaces accessed by young people for instance.

Peer to peer support and consultation were also suggested as ways to reach and represent harder to reach young people for example, those who have disengaged from society as a result of criminal exploitation, chaotic lifestyles or school bullying and in fact, are the ones who can benefit most from youth work.

The goals that young people felt were important to them when asked were education, employment, relationships, being healthy physically and mentally, a good quality of life and standard of living. They also acknowledged that everyone’s goals would be different but that education and youth work are essential social levellers.

In order to ensure these goals were achieved, they felt the focus should be:
· Quality, professional support for young people who are not in university but are post 18 and not in education or work
· Professional careers advice and help
· Peer to peer support to engage hard to reach young people
· Accessible professional youth services that present opportunities and activities for young people to get involved in what they are passionate about

Accessibility and awareness of the guidance was also highlighted as an area required to improve so that young people understand how the government is meeting young people’s human rights ‘to express an opinion on any matter affecting them and to have that opinion taken into account’ and can therefore justifiably hold the government to account.

Fozia Sultana, a Sheffield Young Advisor, said: “When it comes to guidance it’s important to have transparency and give all options and possible outcomes to young people. And young people need to feel as if they have more power and control rather than the information being enforced upon them and them feeling helpless as a result.”

In summary, the young people called for peer to peer support that goes the extra mile to meet the hardest to reach young people. They called for putting young people at the centre of the guidance by accurately representing the voice of young people at a regional level and respecting young people’s human rights through accessibility of the guidance.

We urge other young people to come forward and have their say before 11:45pm on 1 December 2019.

Blog: Gail’s thoughts on the Government statutory guidance review for local youth services

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Gail Gibbons is the CEO at Sheffield Futures, leading the charity to deliver initiatives that support young people. The Government is calling for evidence from local authorities and voluntary and community providers of local youth services, to inform its revision of the statutory guidance on delivering youth services. The review aims to highlight the positive role local authorities can play in the provision of youth services, and ensure the guidance is useful and accessible for all. Here Gail discusses the key themes from Sheffield Futures’ response to the consultation, explores how the current guidance can be improved and urges others to have their say.

We welcome the Government’s call for evidence to strengthen the existing guidance on delivering youth services. The current guidance for local authorities is statutory rather than law. Therefore, the way in which youth services are delivered across the country is hugely variable in terms of quality, type and frequency.

This guidance status has meant in practice that local authorities, in face of wider budget pressures, have needed to significantly reduce funding in this area, as the guidance is viewed as desirable rather than essential.

We have youth services that in some areas have all but disappeared. This is a result of local authorities being so constrained by budget pressures, they have no option but to cut non-statutory services such as youth work, to free up funds to literally keep the streetlights on. This is devastating when we know that good quality, highly skilled youth work keeps our young people safe, enriched and enabled to build positive lives. Young people need this support more than ever after years of austerity has left swathes of the population in poverty, and children and young people even more vulnerable and in need of the vital safety net youth work can provide. That’s why I’m calling for a statutory youth service funded by each local authority area, staffed by highly skilled and qualified youth workers and underpinned by a set of professional standards, with a quality assurance framework based on positive outcomes for young people.

As part of any statutory youth service or guidance, there should be a clear definition for ‘youth services’. The term ‘youth services’ is generally recognised to mean, but not defined as youth work services, i.e. delivered by qualified youth workers, working to a set of professional standards. Without a clear definition, the positive impact of youth work for young people is diluted as services are not legally required to be delivered by qualified professionals to a statutory minimum standard.

The National Youth Agency have made the recommendation that at least two professional youth workers and a team of youth support workers and trained volunteers are required for each secondary school catchment area. This is a recommendation we wholeheartedly support.

Across the country outsourcing of youth services by local authorities to the voluntary and community sector is common, however the current guidance suggests that all local authorities provide youth services in house. This is not the case. In Sheffield for example, the local authority youth service was outsourced to our charity, Sheffield Futures, in 2002. This leads to my view that Government guidance needs to reflect the varied nature of the organisations delivering youth services across the country. It should show an understanding of the challenges the voluntary sector faces and provide guidance that reflects its unique strengths, for example Youth Partnership working.

In our area, Sheffield Futures provides the local youth service ‘Youth Sheffield’ on behalf of Sheffield City Council. In addition, there are a wide range of activities across the Positive Activities and Targeted Services spectrum, delivered by both statutory services and the voluntary sector, as well as private provision such as sports clubs.

As the local lead youth work delivery organisation, with strong links to national and regional youth work networks and professional groups, we are in the process of developing a Sheffield Youth Partnership. This will provide a co-ordinating function for a range of youth work providers to come together to build learning and capacity across our local sector. There are also a number of local multi-agency youth networks at neighbourhood level which meet regularly with the aim of co-ordinating provision in their areas. It is hoped that these could feed into a city-wide partnership, engaging with the local authority and other statutory services.

In conclusion, all young people deserve access to high quality youth services, regardless of where they are in the country. To counter the extreme poverty and associated resultant life limiting issues for all young people, we need statutory guidance that clearly defines youth work and provides minimum standards for delivery, for all sectors who deliver it, including the voluntary sector.

You can have your say and respond to the consultation until Sunday 1 December 2019.

Woodthope youngsters’ drive to transform community centre

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Woodthorpe youngsters’ drive to transform community centre

A group of inspirational young people, looking to transform their youth club have started a campaign to revamp it into a welcoming space that will attract more young people in the community.  

Woodthorpe, an estate in Sheffield and an area of high deprivation and anti-social behaviour currently has a youth club but attendees feel that more could be done to attract new club members who could hugely benefit from being part of the group.

Youth workers in Woodthorpe have supported young people at the Sheffield Futures club to form the Woodthorpe Social Action Project (WSAP).

‘We want to make the club more homely and inviting for people who haven’t been or maybe don’t even know Woodthorpe has a youth club. Youth club is a safer place than hanging around on the streets and somewhere that young people can come and have fun, get involved with positive activities and be with their mates. 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 letting them know what we’re doing and inviting them to come down and see the club.Says Cole,founder of the WSAP.

‘We’ve made a list of things we would really like to change about the club and are working on a plan with our youth worker at Sheffield Futures that includes a day of social action on the 5th April in the Easter holidays, where we are going to get involved in making the transformation happen working towards a grand unveiling in August.’ Says Ash, co-founder of WSAP.

‘We’re also really excited as Marcus Method, a Sheffield artist has kindly offered to do a mural for the club which is brilliant!’ Says Ash.

WSAP are enthusiastic to do something positive for young people in their area. They are meeting weekly to discuss ideas, organise fundraisers, create videos and plan the redecoration of their youth club. Gary Beatson from Sheffield City Council (SCC) was impressed by WSAP’s promotional video, which shows the group discussing the project and their plans for the youth club. Gary has since met the group and, after discussing the project with Senior FM Managers in SCC, they have kindly pledged to fit a new floor and lighting for the SCC-owned venue, which will go a long way to transform the space.

Commenting on the WSAP Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley and Shadow Policing Minister says ‘It’s fantastic to see such inspirational young people working hard to bring benefits for the whole of the Woodthorpe community. These young men and women are taking the initiative and working hard to provide a better place for their friends to be as well as the whole community and that is to be commended.’

Local business Loadhog have pledged to provide six volunteers to assist with the re-decoration of the youth club, painting the walls in colours that have been approved by all youth club attendees. On Friday 5th April, volunteers, WSAP, Sheffield Futures youth workers and colleagues will work hard to transform the space.

WSAP is fundraising and asking the local community for cash and equipment donations to improve the club, if you can help, please see: http://ow.ly/OHSh30o6pAE

WSAP are looking for good quality donations that will stand the test of time in a busy youth club:

Main room:

  1. Decorating materials – all prep materials and paint
  2. Furnishings – soft furnishings, 4 sofas, chairs, picture frames, roller blinds, disco ball!

Chill room:

  1. Furnishings – sofa and soft furnishings

Kitchen:

  1. Fridge
  2. New kitchen & installation

Music room:

  1. CD Mixer
  2. Earphones
  3. Storage
  4. Chairs
  5. USB / SCART lead
  6. Mixer stand

Could you help WSAP? You can make a cash donation here http://ow.ly/OHSh30o6pAE or call 07766 751 614 or email fundraising@sheffieldfutures.org.uk if you have time or skills to help.

-Ends-

Media contacts

For more information and associated imagery please contact:

Sadie White, Media and Communications Officer

Email: sadie.white@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 6622

Natasha Bright, Marketing and Communications Co-coordinator

Email: tash.bright@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 8647

Notes to the Editor – About Sheffield Futures

We are an independent charity, which supports young people and adults to achieve their full potential in learning, employment and life. We deliver a wide range of services to young people and adults from our city-centre multi-agency one-stop-shop and from our delivery sites in local communities.

We are passionate about making sure that young people’s voices are at the heart of everything we do, and have a particular focus on working with disadvantaged and hard to reach young people and communities.

We work closely with our partners across the statutory; voluntary, community, faith; and private sectors to work together to support young people, adults and communities towards a better future – and we welcome opportunities for furthering our partnership work

February Half Term with Sheffield Futures

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An unusually sunny February half-term was packed with fun activities for young people in Sheffield with Football, Ice Hockey and climbing on the menu.

Attendees of Norfolk Park Youth Club and Millan Youth Club and young people from the wider area got together with Street League at Goals Sheffield for a two-hour, 6-a-side mixed tournament.

We love working with Street League, who use sport as a gateway for education, skills and employment for young people aged 16-24. Elsewhere, young people enjoyed ice skating and climbing followed by a group meal to round off an active week.

“It was a great opportunity to get young people from different Youth Clubs and backgrounds together,” said youth work coordinator, John Moloughney. “The teams were totally mixed, even staff and volunteers got a game so it was a really great time.”

What’s on at Sheffield Futures?

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Have you left School or College? are aged 16-18 years old and Not in Education, Employment or Training?

  • Duty Service for Young People 16-18

Sheffield Futures can help you by providing information and advice on:

  • Employability support i.e. application forms, CV’s and  interview techniques
  • Apprenticeships
  • Work-Based Learning opportunities
  • Vacancies
  • Benefits  Advice for Under 18’s

We offer a drop-in service at Star House:

When:             Monday – Friday – 11.00am – 3.00pm

Where:            Ground Floor, Star House, 43 Division St, S1 4GE.

 

 

  • Door43 Wellbeing Cafe

Door43 is a Youth Information, Advice & Counselling Service (YIACS) based at Sheffield Futures. We offer holistic emotional wellbeing support for young people aged 13-25 in Sheffield.

When:             Tuesday: 5pm – 7pm

Where:            Ground Floor, Star House, 43 Division St, S1 4GE.

Sexual Health Week 2018: Safe sex & consent

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It’s Sexual Health Awareness Week next week 24 – 30 September. This year the theme is consent.

Consent means agreeing to do something and when it comes to sex it means agreeing to take part in sexual activity.

Brook is the leading sexual health charity for young people under the age of 25 and has some great resources on its website relating to safe sex and consent.

Check out this link to find out more about consent and your rights, including age of consent, sex, consent and your rights, enthusiastic consent and what is sexual harassment?

Also check out this video, Sex is like tea – which explains whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything.

Help with sexual health

If you feel like you could benefit from talking face to face with someone about sexual health and how to protect yourself then come and talk to one of our friendly staff at Door 43 who can help out with things like providing condoms, pregnancy tests as well as basic STI screening.

If you feel like you want to talk to someone in confidence about any of these services please come in to Star House between 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Help for those who may be at risk of sexual exploitation

Here at Sheffield Futures we also run a service for children under 18 who may be at risk of being sexually exploited. If you feel you need help or may be vulnerable in this way we can help.

Child sexual exploitation can happen to anyone. It is never the young person’s fault and there is help available.

Is this you?

  • You are under 18
  • You are friends with older adults
  • You have an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • You stay out late and even all night
  • You don’t stay in with your family and friends your own age very much
  • You don’t go to school
  • You have tried drugs and alcohol
  • You chat to people online who you have never met
  • You are sending or receiving inappropriate images
  • Sometimes people don’t know where you are

Help is here waiting for you.

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, the Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service can help you. Call us in the strictest of confidence now on 0114 201 8645. You’re not to blame for what’s been happening and you are not going to get into trouble. Help is here waiting for you so call us on 0114 201 8645 or email sses@sheffieldfutures.org.uk in the strictest of confidence.

 

Volunteer Week – Michael’s Story

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It’s the last day of Volunteer Week 2018 and our last chance to celebrate and share the fantastic work that volunteers do for Sheffield Futures. From supporting young people in our youth clubs, to helping adults in the Job Shop, to chatting with the group that attend our Well Being Cafe, to fundraising, our volunteers graciously give their time, effort, energy and more! We couldn’t do it without you, so thank you!

Throughout this week, we’ve been sharing the personal stories from our volunteers, letting you know how they got involved, who they help and who’s benefited!

On the last day, we have Michael’s story to share with you. Michael is a volunteer at All Saints Youth Club. Since he began, he’s got stuck in and very much involved. This is his story…

I have been volunteering for just under half a year with Sheffield Futures at All Saints youth club. Previously, I was volunteering with Burngreave library, which caters to the whole community and includes activities specifically aimed at youth groups, like games clubs, homework clubs and also events, such as World Book Day, which focuses on young readers.

However, I was looking to focus on working solely with young people, so found out about Sheffield Futures and had an informal interview to see if they had a suitable volunteer position in the Burngreave area.

Luckily, Sheffield Futures does have a nearby youth club, All Saints, where I’ve been helping out weekly. We work in a relaxed atmosphere and play sports, like table tennis, basketball and pool, as well as computer games. I have been able to get to know the young people in the area and like being able to chat about anything they wish! 

There has been a string of crimes in the area over the last year and I believe youth clubs, such as All Saints, play an important role in reducing anti-social behaviour amongst young people, creating a sense of community instead of alienation. 

I am glad I have taken this opportunity to support the local community and hope to continue to work with young people. I would recommend to anyone with an interest in working with youth in Sheffield to contact Sheffield Futures, as they provide all the support required, regardless of previous youth work experience, to allow you to feel confident in working in this field!

 

If you want to make a difference and get involved with volunteering, you can find all our opportunities here!

Thank you for reading our amazing stories from our very own volunteers this week. We’re proud and honoured to have such a great volunteer team supporting us all the way! To anyone who’s interested in volunteering then we recommend just getting stuck in! It’s fun, beneficial and very rewarding!

Happy Volunteers Week!

National Citizen Service: Giving back to the community

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Sheffield Futures celebrated the achievements made by 111 young people on the National Citizen Service programme earlier this month.

Over the course of 4 weeks this summer young people aged 17 and 18 from across Sheffield came together to work on social action projects that would directly benefit the local community.

During the four weeks, our young people spent time on an outdoor residential undertaking adventurous activities, learning to work as a team, developing leadership skills and pushing themselves to achieve things they never thought possible.

In weeks two and three, young people developed life skills learning essential skills such as how to live independently and budget as well as undertaking a social action project for a local charity. Our NCS graduates supported local charities with fundraising initiatives and care packages including those for the City’s homeless. Those that benefited included young people in our own Community Youth Teams across the city and the Door 43 emotional health and wellbeing service. Other organisations that benefited included Chilypep, Water Aid, Bluebell Wood, Richmond Care Home, Roundabout, Sheffield Mind, Archer Project and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

‘We’re so proud of all the fantastic young people that have gone on the National Citizen Service journey with us this Summer. What a fantastic achievement to challenge yourself in such an all-encompassing way, living away from home and working as part of a team to benefit those in need within our community.’ Says Gail Gibbons, CEO of Sheffield Futures.

‘We know from our celebration event that the young people involved gained a lot from the NCS programme this year and we look forward to welcoming the next set of young people onto the programme.’ Gail continues.

Sheffield Futures is one of the delivery partners for the National Citizen Service in Sheffield.

Our Duke of Edinburgh open award students receive their Gold Award at Buckingham Palace

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#Nomineat challenge

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We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in our #nomineat challenge in support of money for life by sharing some of the entries with you all. As well as sharing and receiving meal tips across social media we have posted money tips and diaries to support young people who may be interested in learning budgeting skills. You can see some of our posts and tips to creating budget meals on the slideshow below. #nomineatsuccess!

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.