Sheffield Futures is changing

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Sheffield Futures is changing.

For 18 years we have delivered youth services for Sheffield City Council, providing young people with safe spaces, positive experiences and opportunities to thrive all across the city. From October 2020, the council will be in-sourcing these services. It’s been an amazing two decades, but now we’re looking forward to what’s next.

What won’t change is our mission – to support and equip young people and communities to achieve their full potential in learning, employment and life to secure a positive future.

We’ll be doing this through services such as our Door43 wellbeing service that provides open door mental health support to any young person who needs it. We’ll continue to be leaders in supporting young people into further education and work, providing specialist careers advice in schools and running our award winning programmes such as Project Apollo, which supports care leavers into further education, training and jobs. And we’ll continue to champion the work of qualified youth workers through our youth programmes (on a smaller scale for now, but we’re ambitious!) across Sheffield and beyond.

Our charity has had to become smaller for now, but we’re still mighty. To continue providing our vital services for young people, we’ll need support from like-minded people, companies, organisations. If you would like to work with us to give young people a better future, please get in touch with Mark Smith at [email protected] Alternatively, you can donate to our charity here.

We have a brand new website coming soon which will provide a home for our exciting future plans. But in the meantime, please stay in touch through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – just search Sheffield Futures!

Door 43 wellbeing blog: How food affects mood

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Hey everyone, it’s Christos here from Door 43. I’m one of the social prescribing link workers and today I’m going to be explaining what a balanced diet is and also how the food you eat can impact your mood and thoughts.

As restrictions continue to be eased and we begin being able to do more and more with our time, we need to make sure we have enough energy to cope with our increased activity levels. A healthy, balanced diet is always something to consider but with continuous changes taking place in our lives right now, you could say it is of even greater importance.

Let me ask you a question then… what is a balanced diet? If you’re unsure and would like to find out then I suggest you keep reading, but don’t worry, I’ll try my best to keep it simple. So here goes…

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet is one that incorporates all the five food groups including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre and vitamins & minerals. Now you might be asking yourself, well what foods will provide me with these five food groups? Good question! So first let me explain to you the importance of these five food groups and where you can find them, followed by ways to achieve a balanced diet.


What you need to know about carbohydrates is that they ultimately provide your body with energy. Great sources include foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and oats. Let me give you another tip though. Wholemeal varieties are considered to be the best option as they release energy more steadily while also containing more vitamins and fibre. Often described as the main source of energy for the brain as well as muscles, eating regular meals based on carbohydrates in the form of unrefined starchy foods (listed above) can positively impact mood and behaviour so in turn are good for mental health as well as physical health.


The main benefits of protein are to build and repair muscle. Lean meat, fish, eggs and cheese are really good sources of protein while great plant-based options include peas, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Similarly to carbohydrates being important for your mental health, proteins provide the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. With all the current changes to our lives at the moment our thoughts and feelings are likely to be affected regularly, so try to keep on top of your protein intake to support during these times.


A lot of people try to avoid fats but believe me when I say that all fats aren’t the same. Your brain needs fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 to function and develop. These kinds of fats can be found in oily fish, poultry, nuts, olive and sunflower oils, seeds, avocados, milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs. There are also other fats essential to health including monounsaturates (e.g. olive oil) and polyunsaturates (e.g. sunflower oil). It’s the trans fats that you want to avoid or eat in moderation, which you tend to find in cakes, biscuits and fried foods… all the foods that taste so god damn good!


The importance of fibre is often forgotten about but to achieve a healthy digestive system I suggest you make sure you’re eating the right foods. Your gut can reflect your emotional feelings and if you’re stressed or anxious your gut may slow down or speed up. So to support healthy digestion, foods high in fibre include wholegrain products such as oats, cereals, bread, and pasta, and also beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables.

Vitamins & Minerals

Now you must have heard about eating your five a day! Although some experts now say that seven is the magic number when considering fruit and vegetables. And I’ve even heard the number ten be branded as being the optimum amount. Either way, you might be asking the question, how much is one portion. Well, as a general rule, one portion is roughly a handful, small bowl or small glass. The reason why the recommendations keep going up however is because fruit and vegetables are packed with so many important nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibre, which control a range of bodily functions to keep you physically and mentally healthy. So get a variety of different colours in your diet for a good range of nutrients and begin to achieve at least that five a day benchmark.

Ok so I think that’s enough nutrition talk for one day! Hopefully you’ve picked up a few tips that you can introduce into your diet and lifestyle. If you do decide to make any changes then I’d suggest you try to make steady, gradual changes rather than anything too quick and drastic. Your body needs time to adapt and get used to new ways otherwise you’ll run the risk of a falling back into old habits. Now one last tip to finish! To optimise both your physical and mental wellbeing, combine a healthy balanced diet with regular exercise. Your future self will be grateful for it believe me.

I’m disappointed with my A level results… what’s next?

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Sarah, from our careers team, is back to talk you through what’s next if you’re disappointed with your A level results and what the new ‘triple lock’ arrangement is all about…

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because your A Level results aren’t as good as you had hoped. It’s hard to take and, after such a long, stressful wait, you’re bound to feel massively disappointed. But it’s not over yet.

The government have put certain special arrangements in place, which they have called a ‘triple lock’. These are:
1. Accept the result.
2. Use your mock exam results instead – but you must ask your school to pursue this.
3. Re-sit in the autumn.

Let’s unravel what each option might mean:

Option 1: Accept the result
Why, you might ask, would anyone do this if there are other options? But if you were holding a university offer (or two offers) what do they say about your results? Universities have stated they will be flexible, and you might find they will still offer you a place.

Log into UCAS Track, check your status and, if the university hasn’t made a decision yet, then pick up the phone and speak to them. (Be prepared to wait as help lines will be busy). You might be in a stronger position than you think and here’s why: Universities want to fill their places.

Universities want students who will succeed on their course – which is why they look at your grades – but they also want people who will stay. They like it if you can show commitment and, if you have already applied to that university and made them your first (or second) choice then you have already demonstrated this in spades. That gives you a head start so make the most of it. Describe what led you to choose them – the research, the open days, the discussions with staff and students.

If you have been turned down, the positive thing is that you’re in Clearing early and can take advantage of any places that are still available. Get onto the UCAS website and start looking.

Option 2: Use your mock exam results
If you’re thinking about this option, then presumably your mock grades are higher than your results. However, this isn’t a straightforward process. You must ask your school to appeal on your behalf and they will have to show that the exams were taken under approved conditions. So, there are two warnings:
1. You can’t be certain yet that your mock grades will be approved.
2. It’s going to take a bit of time.

Universities have been asked to hold places if students are appealing but, while you’re waiting, Clearing will be happening. If it turns out that your mock grades aren’t acceptable and the university still turn you down, then you could have missed out on a place somewhere else.

Option 3: Re-sit
The third option in the ‘triple lock’ is to re-sit any subjects you’re not happy with in the autumn. There’s a further safety net in that you can then use whichever result is higher as your official grade.
Again, there are issues around time. The exam boards are only just beginning to announce the schedules but Ofqual has estimated that the results for A Level re-sits should be published before Christmas and GCSE re-sit results in January or February 2021. In most cases, terms will have started by this point. Universities have said they will try and be flexible but, as things stand right now, there’s a high chance that this option would involve applying to university again for 2021 with your new grades.

What do you do?
This must be your decision and yours alone. There isn’t a solution that suits everyone. But here are our top three tips.
1. Find out as much as you can, so that your decision is well informed.
Talk to your school and ask how confident they are that the mock grades will be approved. (They won’t know for sure – they’ll still be waiting for clarification.)
Talk with the university concerned – what are the minimum grades they will accept? Have a look in Clearing – are there other courses that interest you?
2. Tell the universities concerned if you are appealing or planning to re-sit and keep them in the picture.
3. Think about what matters most to you. How much do you want to do this course at this university? If necessary, would you be prepared to wait and reapply for a place in 2021? Or would you be equally happy studying somewhere else?

As we said at the beginning, it’s not over yet! All the signs are that Clearing could go on for longer than usual this summer because universities are likely to be holding places pending appeals. Courses may well fill up and then offer places again. There will be twists and turns along the way so keep going and good luck!

For more help
Sheffield Futures Results Helpline: Thursday 13th August, 1.00-4.00pm and
Friday 14th August, 10.00-4.00pm. 0114 201 6644

The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline: 0800 100 900

UCAS Clearing: www.ucas.com

Results Day 2020 – A Levels and equivalent

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Thursday 13th August is A Level results day. It’s always an anxious time but this year there are more questions than ever. Sarah Traynor from our careers team looks at some of the questions you may have in the run up to results day and provides some of her top tips on getting prepared so you’re ready to act to achieve your further education or training goals. 

What’s your top tip for results day?

That’s easy – make a plan! You’re bound to feel stressed on the day so think ahead and make a list beforehand of all the things that might happen: What if you don’t get the grades? What if you do better than expected? What if you change your mind? Then prepare an action plan for each situation, e.g.
• Use www.ucas.com to find out which courses still have places.
• Do some research and prepare your own shortlist.
• Make a note of university helpline numbers (published on their websites).
• Look up your UCAS Track login details.
Above all, keep the day free. If you need to contact universities, they will want to speak to you, not your parents or teachers.


‘How will I get my results?’

Check this with your school or college. They are all working out ways of doing this while following safe distancing rules.

‘Remind me how they’ve worked out my grades.’

Your teachers submitted assessed grades, based on various factors. These have been standardised by the exam boards into calculated grades.

‘Will the calculated grades look any different?’

No, they will look the same as any other year.

‘What if I’m not happy with these grades?’

The government have put in place a safety net which they are calling ‘the triple lock’. It means you can:
1. Accept your results. Even if they’re lower than you had hoped, you may still get a university place – read on to find out how!
2. Ask for your mock exam results to be used instead.
3. Re-sit exams in the autumn.

‘My mock exam grades were higher than my results, so I want to use them. What do I do?’

Tell your school or college as they need to appeal to the exam board on your behalf. They will be asked to provide evidence that the exams were held under approved conditions.

‘What will happen to my university place while I appeal?’

The government has asked universities to hold places open for students who appeal.
‘I’m not happy with my results but I don’t want to use my mock grades either. What can I do?’
In certain circumstances your school or college can appeal against the results. Start by speaking to them as they must do this on your behalf.
You can also re-sit any subjects you’re not happy with in the autumn.

‘What if I re-sit in the autumn and get an even lower grade?’

Don’t worry, if that happens, the higher grade will stand.

‘Would I get the re-sit result in time to start university this year?’

Possibly not, it’s estimated that A Level re-sit results will be published before Christmas and GCSEs in January (for English and maths) or February 2021. However, universities have said they will try to be flexible so speak to them before you decide.

‘What if I’ve taken vocational qualifications?’

Calculated results are being awarded wherever possible. However, there are complications if there needs to be a workplace assessment. If it hasn’t been possible to do the assessment safely, then these results are unfortunately being delayed. You should have already been informed if this affects you.

‘I’ve got a conditional offer for university. What happens when I get my grades?’

If you get the grades, you’re in! Log into UCAS Track and it will confirm your place.
If you don’t get the grades, stay calm, log into Track and check your status. The university may still take you, especially if you’ve only just missed the grades.
The university may make you a ‘Changed course offer’, such as a foundation year. You can accept or decline so check it out first.
If Track says your firm (first) choice has turned you down, but you have met your insurance grades, then your place will be confirmed there.
If Track hasn’t been updated, ring the university admissions department. Helplines should be open from early morning. This is your chance to tell them how much you want to study there. Universities have said they will be as flexible as they can, plus you’ve already applied for that course which shows your commitment. You can still make a very good case for yourself!
Make sure you tell the university if you plan on appealing to use your mock result (or if your school or college is appealing for any other reason). They have been asked to keep places open for students who appeal.
If Track says you’re in Clearing it means both your firm and insurance choices have turned you down. Again, keep calm – there will still be courses with vacancies and universities will want to fill them, so keep a clear head but move quickly. This is where all that preparation can pay off!

‘How does Clearing work?’

All the information is on www.ucas.com but briefly, use the Clearing search tool to find courses with vacancies; check out the course and then ring the university / college and ask them to consider you.
UCAS has a new, optional service called ‘Clearing Plus’ which makes course suggestions based on your original application. Click on ‘See matches’ to view them. However, if you want to explore other courses, you can just browse all vacancies.

‘What happens when I ring the university?’

Let’s take a step back! Before you ring, do some research into the course and the university. Even better – do the research before results day! When you ring, be prepared to wait as lines may be busy. When you get through, state your Clearing number (which will be on Track) and your UCAS ID. They will look up your application and they may ask you a few questions. Treat it like an interview and be prepared to explain why you want to do that course at that university. The aim is to get an informal offer.
Find out if there’s an open event – these may not happen in the usual way but there may be a virtual event or tour instead.
Once you are sure you want the place, apply for it formally through Track.

‘If I get the grades but I’ve changed my mind can I apply for another course?’

If you have met and exceeded your offer, (e.g. achieved AAA when you needed AAB) then you can use UCAS Adjustment, which lets you apply for other courses without first giving up your place.
If you don’t qualify for Adjustment, you must turn down your place before you can enter Clearing. If you’re sure you want to do this, select ‘Decline your place’ on Track.

‘I didn’t apply for university – is there still time?’

Yes, if you haven’t applied or if you applied but aren’t holding any offers, you can use Clearing from 6th July.
‘I’m not sure I want to start university with so much going on. Will they hold the place until next year?’
You need to ask the university. If your place is for this autumn, they are not obliged to hold it, in which case you would have to withdraw and re-apply for 2021.

‘Ok, but if I’ve got the grades, I’d get a place next year, wouldn‘t I?’

Unless they defer your place, there are no guarantees. If a lot of students withdraw this autumn then it could lead to an increase in applications for 2021 (especially as the number of 18-year-olds is set to start rising). It’s possible that entry could become more competitive.

‘I just don’t know what to do!’

We know it’s hard. This is a unique situation and we can’t be certain what’s going to happen. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all‘ solution, but start by finding out what your university is planning to do, e.g. how much teaching will be online and how much will be face-to-face. Check what will happen on campus and in student halls, which facilities will be open and what safety measures will be in place. There looks likely to be disruption for at least a few months but on the other hand, if you really want to do the course, and especially if it’s selective, then weigh it all up.

‘What can I do if I take a gap year?’

Good question! You need to use the time positively, partly for your own wellbeing, but also to support your UCAS application next year. You can get ideas to research from websites such as: www.ucas.com/alternatives-to-university and www.notgoingtouni.co.uk
Bear in mind that activities such as travel may be restricted, and that the job market is unstable. The government recently announced a Kickstart programme for unemployed 18-24-year-olds so look out for more details.
Your own community might be looking for volunteers, so visit: www.sheffieldvolunteercentre.org.uk

‘Is there any other way of getting a degree?’

Higher and degree apprenticeships are jobs where you study for higher education qualifications with your fees paid. They’re in a range of work sectors. Search for vacancies on: www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

‘Any other tips?’

Hang on in there! The signs are that Clearing could carry on longer than usual this year so don’t give up.
For more help
Sheffield Futures Results Helpline:
Thursday 13th August, 1.00-4.00pm
Friday 14th August, 10.00-4.00pm
0114 201 6644
The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline: 0800 100 900
UCAS Clearing: www.ucas.com
For more on calculated grades, appeals and autumn re-sits:
If the stress is getting to you, check out our Door 43 wellbeing service: www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/i-need-help/door43

Good luck!

Our youth workers take to the streets to support young people across the city

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Sheffield Futures youth workers are taking to the streets to ensure young people get the support they need while youth centres remain closed due to lockdown and social distancing rules.

Our charity is commissioned by Sheffield City Council to lead 40 youth work sessions in 20 youth centres across the city, but these were temporarily closed in March due to lockdown.

Louise Ellison, Deputy Services Manager at Sheffield Futures, said: “Detached youth work in communities is something that’s happened for decades, but it’s needed now more than ever during this current crisis.

“It’s a really challenging time for everyone but for young people it’s particularly hard if they don’t have good relationships with their families and have been cut off from their support networks, like their school and friends.

“We know life isn’t going to return to normal quickly and that the impact on young people’s mental health and job prospects is going to be vast. So qualified youth workers who are trained to communicate with and support young people, so they can make positive choices and keep themselves safe, are going to be key.”

Our youth workers are currently out in communities each weekday evening supporting vulnerable young people and actively engaging with groups of young people who may have been identified by the police, local schools or other agencies as needing support.

Youth worker Amin Kassim, said: “Detached youth work enables youth workers to work with young people in a place they feel comfortable and on their terms.

“While our teams have been out and about in communities such as Darnall, Manor, Woodthorpe and Page Hall, our experience has been that there are some young people out in groups but they are doing the best to abide by social distancing rules on the whole.

“The government guidance can be confusing so we believe that many young people will be feeling uncertain about their responsibilities and perhaps anxious too.

“They need support right now, to understand the risks and their responsibilities, rather than judgement.”

If you are aware of groups of young people who would benefit from interaction with youth workers, contact [email protected]

Sheffield Futures is also providing youth work sessions online and through their social media channels, for more information visit www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk for more information.

Sheffield Futures signs Open Letter to Boris: “Kick start the economy by investing in jobs and people”

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Our charity, along with over 200 organisations across the UK, has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the Government to publicly commit to a new Opportunity Guarantee.

The UK is experiencing the biggest economic crisis in 300 years, and on Tuesday 16th June latest figures are expected to show the highest rate of unemployment in over 100 years.

The new Opportunity Guarantee scheme, backed by some of the UK’s biggest employers, would help to kick start the UK’s economic recovery by investing in jobs of the future, helping people access the jobs market, and providing opportunities for young people.

The open letter, signed by cross industry partners – including Sheffield Futures, The Prince’s Trust, Heathrow Airport, Asda, universities and charities – has political backing from Metro Mayors Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region), Dan Jarvis (Sheffield City Region) and Jamie Driscoll (North of Tyne Combined Authority).

Together, over 200 voices called on Government to invest in a new Opportunity Guarantee that:

  • Promotes job creation by investing in the jobs that we need for the future
  • Doubles the capacity in services that help people into jobs, with greatest support for those facing disadvantage
  • Provides an education place, apprenticeship, or job for every young person

Commenting on the open letter, Lord Bob Kerslake said: “The message to Government is clear – with the Jobs retention Scheme winding up, we must invest in an Opportunities Guarantee. We need to create opportunities for people to skill up, and have a guaranteed role in our economic recovery, and we must put these plans in place now.”

You can view the letter in full here https://www.communitiesthatwork.co.uk/opportunity-guarantee/



Black Lives Matters online session: the voice of young people

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Our charity stands in support of the Black Lives Matters movement.

We recognise the tremendous pain caused by the murder of George Floyd, and the continued instances of systemic racism and police brutality. Following the peaceful protest in Sheffield this weekend, we know that many young people are forging the way for real change and wish to have their voices heard.

On Thursday 11th June 2 – 3pm, some of our youth workers and youth involvement team will be facilitating an online discussion. All young people aged 11 – 25 are welcome. 

The session will be an opportunity for young people to discuss the issues and the impact they have on young people in Sheffield.  We hope you will join us to share what you feel needs to be done to support change and challenge these issues locally, regionally and nationally.

If you wish to join us, please email [email protected] or contact us through any of our social media platforms to request the link.

How to look after yourself before, during and after a protest

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We stand in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and recognise that young people may wish to exercise their human right to protest in the coming days.

While at protests it’s natural to go through a range of emotions – you may feel intensely sad, exhilarated, angry, scared or happy. It’s really important that you take time to process these emotions and reach out to friends and family for support if you need it.

Chris, from our Door43 wellbeing team, talks us through how to look after your wellbeing before, during and after a protest. 

Take care and look after each other.

How will the coronavirus impact my application?

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Are you a young person wondering how the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing will impact your application for a full time course, apprenticeship or work based learning placement?

Our Careers Adviser Sarah talks us through the things you need to know in these quick four minute videos, including how to prepare for a telephone interview if you haven’t yet secured your place.


Supporting #BlackLivesMatter and young people

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Our charity stands in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We recognise the pain that the murder of George Floyd, continued instances of police brutality and systemic racism is causing around the world and in our own city of Sheffield.

We’re here to support young people and be an ally against racism.

For any young people who are struggling with difficult emotions due to these recent events, our Door43 wellbeing service is here to support them. They can call 0808 275 8892 Monday to Friday 5pm-9pm and Saturday 9am to 9pm, to talk to one of our wellbeing practitioners.

Following the announcement of the Black Lives Matter protest in Sheffield, we recognised that young people may wish to exercise their human right to protest. We wanted to support young people to do this as safely as possible, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic. Our Door43 team shared a video about how young people can look after their wellbeing before, during and after a protest, and our youth work team hosted an online session to discuss the issues and explore how young people can be agents of change.

Over the coming days and weeks our youth workers will also be engaging with young people in their communities through street-based youth work. If you have any concerns about young people in your community who may need support during this time, please contact [email protected]

For more information about the #BlackLivesMatter movement visit www.blacklivesmatter.com

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.