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We launch a new wellbeing helpline to support young people

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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’re so proud to be launching a new support line to help young people with issues such as low mood, anxious thoughts and loneliness.

We’ve come together with NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to create the support line so young people in the city aged 12–18 can talk about issues they’re struggling with.

The service is run by emotional health and wellbeing practitioners who are part of our Door 43 wellbeing service here at Sheffield Futures.

Dan White, Head of Targeted Services and Health at Sheffield Futures, said: “There’s been a real need for mental health support for young people for some time, but the coronavirus pandemic has created even bigger challenges for young people.

“Many are cut off from their support systems, such as their friends and schools. Managing uncertainty, worry and the disruption to daily life is very difficult, particularly for those who do not have positive relationships with their families.

“Door 43 usually provides much of its support face-to-face, but due to socially distancing measures we’ve had to bring much of that work online. We’re really pleased to be able to add the helpline to our services and feel it’s needed now more than ever.”

The team can speak to young people who might be struggling with challenges such as exam stress, relationship issues, bullying or isolation.

The service can also signpost young people to additional services if they require more long-term support.

Dr Steve Thomas, Sheffield GP and Clinical Director for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Dementia at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re really happy to see this new helpline established with the skill and expertise of colleagues at Sheffield Futures.

“It’s an important addition to the opportunities that are available for our young people to access support, care and information when things may be difficult emotionally and psychologically, particularly in these tough times.”

Jeff Perring, Medical Director at Sheffield Children’s, said: “This provision is really welcome. Our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are continuing to work hard to provide support for children and young people at this time. This new phone line provides young people with an additional way to talk about things they may be struggling with and is a great asset to the care provision already available.”

The support line is open Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm, call 0808 275 8892.

Careers Adviser Amy talks through options for year 10 students

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Are you a year 10 student? Wondering what your next steps are? Amy, from our Careers Adviser team, is here to break everything down for you in under five minutes. 

 

What is Ramadan? Some questions answered by our youth worker Amin

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This year Ramadan began on Friday 24th April and will continue until Saturday 23rd May. We know many young people across Sheffield will be celebrating Ramadan a bit differently this year due to social distancing restrictions, and we hope they’re staying safe and well during this special but challenging time. But what is Ramadan? Our youth worker Amin has been answering some of your questions.

What is Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan is observed by over a billion Muslims from across the world and is regarded as the most special month of the year, as it was the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

In Islam, Muslims fast for the full ninth lunar month, which is called Ramadan.  The fast starts at dawn and ends at sunset everyday of Ramadan. Ramadan is a period of increased devotion. In it, Salaat (prayers) are normally performed with greater intensity over 30 days until the reading of all the chapters of the Quran are completed, culminating in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.

Why a fast?

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. The practice of fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the hardships of the less fortunate. Therefore the month of Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to practice, self-discipline, sacrifice, civil conduct and empathy for those in need. It encourages generosity and charity. Muslims actively donate to charities during this month and feed the hungry.

How do Muslims observe Ramadan?

All Muslims are required to fast everyday throughout ramadan, though there are exceptions for those who are ill, pregnant or nursing, menstruating or traveling, and the elderly. Children are not required to fast unless they have reached puberty, although many still do out of choice.

In addition to abstaining from eating any food, drinking any liquids, Muslim’s also refrain from smoking, defamation of others and engaging in any sexual activity, from dawn to sunset.

When do Muslims end their fast?

Fast may be broken at sunset before Maghrib prayers after ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers). This occurs just after sunset. Dates are traditionally the first food to be eaten each evening. The fast-breaking meal is called Iftar. After a sunset prayer large meals are the norm, usually with family and friends. Suhoor is a meal taken just before sunrise, before the day of fasting starts.

What comes after Ramadan?

Ramadan ends after 29 or 30 days. Eid al- Fitr is the annual three- day celebration that happens immediately after the last day of Ramadan. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash. Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan.

What are some phrases I might hear said at this time of year and what do they mean?

Ramadan mubarak = Blessed Ramadan

Ramdan Kareem = Happy/generous Ramadan

Mubark aleik al shahr = May you get the blessings of the mont

Lockdown challenge: creative writing

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John, from our Young Advisor team, has been using his time during lockdown to do some of the things he loves, including creative writing. Read his piece ‘Sheffield’ below. We’d love to share any pieces you’ve been working on. Email or send them to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Sheffield by John

It seems like it’s been a long time since I was last in Sheffield City Centre. The 27th February was the opening of the Star House youth club. I was there alongside a few of my colleagues representing Sheffield Young Advisors. We all had a great time, we played Mario Kart on the Wii, we played FIFA.

It’s hard to think that two months have passed since that day. I miss catching the tram on the way into work, I miss walking along West Street and then along Division Street to get to Star House. Sheffield city centre is a weird one. It’s relatively small compared to other big cities and you could probably get across it within a couple of hours if you wanted too. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in character. You’ve got the aforementioned West Street and Divison Street, places where people come together to not only have a good time but to create. Follow West Street along far enough and you come to City Hall, a venue steeped in musical history with a city that bleeds musical talent.

It’s not just the places that are special though, it’s the people. One of the reasons that I love going to work so much is because of the people I work with. They’re a lovely group of young people and I’m proud to be able to call a lot of them friends. Whether it be working together on projects or just having someone to talk to, working with the people of Sheffield is always a thing I look forward to doing.

It’s a special place Sheffield. It’s a city that I’m proud to call home and city I’m proud to say is where I’m from.

Committing to Ramadan in an uncertain time

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This blog is written by Young Advisor Shuheb Miah, in his own words.

Hi there! My name is Shuheb Miah and I work as a young advisor at Sheffield Futures, where I work with others to make services and resources aimed at young people (YP) more user friendly, so they work best in helping YP as part of the YP’s generation myself! This is paramount with what’s currently happening now and I hope in this climate, this post can give young people (YP) a little hope, confidence and some time to reflect!

I am also quite proud to say that I’m from an ethnic minority background of British Bangladeshi decent, which brings me to the main purpose of this short post: Ramadan and my reflections so far as well as for YP in lockdown who are fasting, whether from the Muslim community or not!

It’s both a blessing in disguise for me to be able to celebrate and maintain this sacred tradition this year round (fasting having started from Friday 24th April post sehri time at 3.59AM or on Saturday for most Muslims), but at the same time I’m sure for anyone reading this post, whether from the Muslim community or those who are simply devoting their time to fasting in this holy month, can agree with me that is a very difficult time for us all. Partly, due to the lockdown guidelines set out by the government mainly telling us all to stay home and only go out when essential once a day (for exercise, shopping, work or medicinal supplies). Whilst this change has had a clear effect on our day-day lives, I think it’s safe to say that these rules are in place to protect us all and also perhaps more vaguely, to let us know that we are in this together as well.

The values behind Ramadan have never been clearer to me and have allowed to see a symbol of togetherness and solidarity in the lockdown. Fasting also referred to in Muslim faith as Sawm as the fourth pillar of Islam, is a time of empathy and feeling thankful for what we have compared to those across the world who are not as privileged as us here in the UK. What better time to reflect and show our immense gratitude, our compassion for the YP, adults, children and families that have been deprived long before the virus from shelter, a place to call home and access to basic food and water; it truly saddens me on how these issues are heightened at this time.

I think it’s exceptional how the coronavirus pandemic has led to so many unforgettable realisations and has taught me a lot. It gives me both immense happiness and pride to be fasting in this time. These include how resilient our NHS has been in this adverse time and also the amazing and valiant frontline key workers including the amazing professionals at Sheffield Futures providing virtual assistance to YP on their Facebook page, Instagram and on their website. Furthermore, for those risking their lives to support the public and YP affected in this time (NHS staff, teachers, youth and social workers/care, bus drivers and retail staff amongst many more), a mere thank you wouldn’t be enough.

After reading an article in the Guardian by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, it truly hit me on the risk our NHS staff workers face, like warriors going out to a battlefield knowing what’s at stake. I send over my condolences and indebtedness to all of our NHS staff (whom the mayor says have been hugely affected) and to all who have lost their lives serving the public.

Equally, behaviour is something that has stood out to me with the clap for the NHS/carers, which happens every Thursday evening and urge others to do as well. Perhaps a small gesture but massive for showing our huge thanks and something I feel fulfilment to take part in. Even on a smaller scale, the way my family and many families I’m sure across the UK have come closer together at home. I know for a fact that these changes are working to keep our NHS and our lives moving forward, together.

Coming to the end, I just wanted to wrap up with how things are going for me in the first few days of fasting with a few cloaked tips! Whether I’m going about my day reading a book or listening to an audiobook, cramming films/shows on Netflix and Disney+ or doing an online course, I always make sure to pray namaaz for my family, friends and everyone affected and for those who have tragically died due to the virus. I can say with certainty that I will never forget the hardships yet determination, that we as a society will pull through and are showing now and also for the amazing things and people that have come to light during this pandemic.

I hope that everyone stays safe, at home and Ramadan mubaraak 🙂

 

 

How will the coronavirus pandemic affect my GCSE and A level exam results?

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Since the government announced the closure of schools and that examinations will not go ahead as usual this summer, you may be feeling uncertain about what is next. 

Sarah from our Careers Education, Information and Guidance team has put together a Q&A with the information we currently have.

I was due to take my GCSEs this summer and my sister was taking  A Levels. What’s going to happen now?’

Don’t worry, GCSEs and A Levels will still be graded, and they will look just like the results you would have got any other year. Schools, colleges and exam boards are working together to make sure this happens.   

How will they do it?

Your school or college will work out an assessed grade for you in every subject. This is the grade they believe you would have achieved if teaching and exams had carried on as normal. 

How will they work out my assessed grades?

Your teachers will look at how you’ve performed in things like assignments, homework, classwork, course work and mock exams. They will also rank students; this means that for every subject and within every grade they will place students in order of performance.  

Will I have to hand in any extra work?

It’s up to your school or college to decide. However, you will not be disadvantaged if you’re unable to complete any work that was set after schools and colleges closed.  

Will my grades just be based on what my school says?

No, your school or college will send their assessed grades to the exam board, who will then look at all grades submitted and standardise them. This is to make sure everyone is treated fairly.  

Will my school tell me my assessed grades?’

No, they are not allowed to tell you.  

I’m home schooled. How will it work for me?’

If the school / college / centre where you had registered to take your exams has seen enough of your work to make an assessment then you will get a calculated grade. If they are unable to do so, you can ask to register at a centre which has more experience of this type of learning and assessment. However, there may be cases where unfortunately there won’t be enough information to award a calculated grade. If this happens you will have the opportunity to take the exams either this autumn or in summer 2021.

You need to: 

  • Contact your exam centre to ask whether they can assess your grades. 
  • If you wish to register at another centre, contact the exam board for details. 

When will I get my results?

A Level results will be issued on Thursday 13th August.
GCSE results will be issued on Thursday 20th August.   

Will the grades look different?’

No, they will look just like the grades you would have got in any other year and you will receive a certificate in the same way. 

Will the grades be accepted?

Yes, colleges, sixth forms, universities and employers have been told to treat the grades just as they would any other year. Remember that no-one is sitting exams this summer, so it will be the same for everyone. 

What if I don’t agree with my results?

Exam boards and the government are looking into this. Appeals will be allowed but possibly only on certain grounds, e.g. if there has been a mistake in calculating your grade. Your school or college will lodge the appeal.    

Can I retake?

Yes, there will be the opportunity to re-sit subjects either this autumn or in summer 2021. The plans for autumn resits, and the subjects that will be available, are still being drawn up but they should be published soon. 

What if I retake and get an even lower grade?

You will be able to use whichever grade is higher as your official grade. 

If you retake in the autumn will you get your new grade in time to start university?

This isn’t clear yet. The aim is to issue autumn resit grades by Christmas, but it will probably be after the new term has started. Universities (and also colleges and sixth forms) will try to be flexible but, if you’re thinking about autumn resits, you should seek advice nearer the time and consult with the university / institution concerned.  

I’m still in Year 10 but I was due to take some GCSEs this summer. What will happen?

You will get a calculated grade like Year 11 students.  

What’s happening with other qualifications?  

It will depend on the qualification. There are many different types, so this is complex and some of it is still being sorted out.  

Broadly speaking, for qualifications that are used for entry to university or further education you will, where possible, receive a calculated grade (as with GCSEs and A Levels). Many BTECs, for example, will fall into this group.

However, some vocational (work related) qualifications must also involve assessing your skills to make sure you are capable of doing the job. Where possible these assessments are being adapted so that they can still happen safely (e.g. online or through video). There may however be a small number of cases where the assessment will have to be postponed. This will only happen as a last resort and the assessment will take place at the first available opportunity.  

How can I find out more?

Keep in touch with your school or college who are working with exam boards to sort this out  

This information is being updated all the time, keep checking here for more.

Our Careers, Further Education and Training Helpline

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Need help working out your next step? If you’re aged 16-19 and are looking for a job or are considering further education or training, you can speak to our team for information and guidance.

We know these are uncertain times, and you may be struggling to get in touch with your training provider or college, or just wondering how to move forward. We’re here to support you.

Our helpline is now available Tuesday-Thursday between 1pm-4pm. Just give us a call on 0114 2016644.

 

National award win for charity project to support young people leaving care into employment

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A pilot project to help young people leaving the care system move into education, employment or training has won a national award in recognition of best practice at the UK Career Development Awards 2020, run by the Career Development Institute.

The project, named Project Apollo, commissioned by Sheffield City Council and funded by the Department for Education with investment from The Big Issue Invest and Sheffield Futures is delivered in partnership with the Leaving Care Service. It is a direct response to the need to support young people leaving care to secure positive futures.

Alex Leonard, Employer Engagement Co-ordinator at Sheffield Futures, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won the Innovative Employer Engagement Award and hope that our achievements will act as a best practice example to others looking to support young people into productive futures.

“Many young people who have experienced the care system have significant and lasting negative effects on their mental health and wellbeing and are statistically much less likely to move into further learning, employment or higher education successfully.

“It can be difficult to understand the needs of young people leaving care if you’ve never had experience of the challenges these young people face. Through Apollo we have been able to communicate with employers to demonstrate the value of these vibrant young adults as a talent pool. By doing this we negotiate opportunities and open doors for these young people to find inspiration and access the opportunities they so desperately need.

“That’s why projects like Apollo have such an important role to play, effectively working to give young people that have had a difficult start in life essential support to lead productive and happy lives while at the same time selling their skills to employers.”

The project aims to support 100 young care leavers towards a brighter future with careers guidance, help applying for opportunities, work experience, practical careers advice and barrier busting long term support.

Adrian Hackett, Director at Kollider, a digital and tech incubator, said: “Our business is about bringing together a vibrant community of talented people and combining great ideas. In May 2019 we were on the lookout for someone to manage our financial accounts and were recommended to get in touch with Sheffield Futures.

“Sheffield Futures’ positive approach helped us to instantly develop a great working rapport. They have a pre-determined process which made the task of hiring effortless from our perspective. They helped us shape the job description making it easier for a young person to understand, and then produced a candidate for us from Project Apollo. We hired the candidate and he has been a fantastic addition to the team now for six months! We have had continuous support from Sheffield Futures since.”

So far, 29 care leavers have successfully transitioned into employment, 16 have progressed onto work experience or volunteering opportunities and 32 have restarted education and training courses. The project runs until October 2021.

Important information about coronavirus and our services

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Sheffield Futures is here to support young people. Throughout the coming weeks and months we will continue to do this, we’ll just be working a little differently.

To protect our team and the young people we support, we are following government advice on social distancing and all those who are able to work from home are now doing so.

As much of our work is usually carried out face to face, we’ve adapted our services so vulnerable young people can still be supported through this challenging time.

 

Youth Sheffield

[email protected]

Following government advice, all of our youth centres across the city are now temporarily closed. However, our youth workers are still engaging with young people in their communities (known as detached youth work) to enable them to continue supporting those who are particularly vulnerable.

Our youth work team are working on a calendar of activities, such as boxing demonstrations, cooking tutorials and other interactive sessions to provide for young people through social media and other digital platforms during this time. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Door 43 wellbeing service

[email protected]

Our Wellbeing Practitioners are now providing one-to-one support by telephone to existing service users on Wednesdays, in place of our Wellbeing Wednesday drop-in service. We hope to be able to extend this offer to more young people soon.

We have also launched an additional support line, which can be accessed in the evenings and on Saturdays. You can find out more information about this here. 

We have increased the amount of open access support we offer as we recognise that this time will be particularly difficult for young people that were already experiencing low mood, anxiety and other challenges.

Currently the team are providing daily content on different topics via Instagram’s IGTV, such as staying active while at home, motivation and managing uncertainty. Follow them here.

Our Young Person’s Social Prescribing team are continuing to support young people, referred through GP surgeries across the city, through phone appointments.

Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teams

All schools are currently closed due to government guidance. Our Careers Advisers who would normally be based in schools are not currently available, but we will let you know as soon as this changes and will post any updates here. If you have any queries on Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance please contact Amy Cooke (Tuesday-Thursday) [email protected] or Lorraine Jones (Monday and Friday) [email protected]

Our Send Advisors are also available by phone for existing service users. If you aren’t currently being supported by our SEND team and would like to get in touch, contact Sue Williams Bradshaw [email protected]

Our Careers team are closely monitoring the national situation and will be producing guidance materials on how young people will be awarded qualifications and any impact this will have on their progression to further education and employment.

We’ve been posting videos, to support young people looking for work and for year 10s thinking about their options, on our YouTube page.

The Amber Project and Missing Young People’s Service

The Amber Project is supporting vulnerable young people involved in exploitation, by phone.

Return interviews are now being conducted by phone with young people who have gone missing.

 Community Youth Team (CYT)

[email protected]

Our Community Youth Team are supporting case loaded young people who are at risk of involvement in gangs, exploitation and offending behaviour, by phone.

The team is also working to provide group sessions online, via webinar or similar platforms, so young people can continue to engage in interventions and courses on crime and consequences, victim awareness and online safety.

Our Targeted Youth Support (TYS) Advisers are providing guidance to NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people aged 16-19 through an open access helpline and are following up with existing service users directly.

 

Contact Sheffield Futures:

General questions about services and appointments [email protected]
HR 0114 2012750 [email protected]
Finance [email protected]
Communications and Marketing (including media enquiries) [email protected]

Contact other services within Star House:

Youth Justice Service 0114 2288555
Leaving Care Services 0114 2039060
Children Looked After 0114 2930223

For updates on our services follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Our response to the new Sheffield City Council Investing in Young People strategy

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Sheffield City Council has shared its plan to agree a new strategy Investing in Young People. 

In response to the report, available via the Sheffield City Council website, our CEO Gail Gibbons, said: “We absolutely welcome an ambitious strategy for young people. We’ve been closely involved with putting together its direction, so support many of its aims, such as building upon the successful partnerships that are already delivering many of these services across the city.

“We’re delighted to hear about the investment of a further £2m, something we have been advocating for some time, and we are looking forward to hearing how this will enhance delivery for young people.

“However, we have concerns around the impact on Sheffield Futures and frontline delivery, in terms of the proposal to take these services in-house, and we are seeking discussions with the local authority on how this might work.

“For now, it’s business as usual for our team, working with young people all across Sheffield to protect them from risk and to support them to live positive and productive lives.”

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.