Uncategorised

Sheffield Students Celebrate at St James’s Palace

Tash Bright No Comments

Last week, 8 young people from 4 schools in Sheffield attended a presentation at St. James’s Palace, London, where they received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards from celebrity presenter, Natalie Coyle, after sharing their experiences with Trustee for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), HRH The Earl of Wessex.

During the Gold Award Presentation, HRH took the opportunity to congratulate the group made up of participants from Birkdale, High Storrs, Notre Dame and Silverdale Schools on their successes and heard about their DofE journeys, which took each young person 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

gap

Those who achieve a Gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake an expedition in wild country. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Jules Walker, representing  Sheffield Futures DofE Operating Authority attended the presentation to see the group receive their Gold Awards, and said, “ It was a privilege to be a part of the young people’s Gold Award ceremony and listen to so many positive comments about the impact the DofE Programme has had for the participants. Many spoke about the confidence taking part had instilled in them and the satisfaction they gained from taking on new challenges. There is a great deal of hard work associated with achieving a Gold DofE Award but the rewards in terms of self development and community impact cannot be understated.”

Speaking about his DofE experience, John McDowell, who was one of the Gold Award holders at the  presentation, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of undertaking my Gold DofE Award with my friends and have found the skills I developed in terms of planning and structure have helped me to progress in my engineering ambitions. I’d recommend anyone with the opportunity to participate in the DofE Programme”

There are currently over 300,000 young people taking part in a DofE programme across the UK through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.

To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit www.DofE.org  

 

Be A Sheffield Futures Star This Christmas!

Elliot Walker No Comments

This Christmas, Sheffield Futures are running a special Christmas campaign called “Be A Sheffield Futures Star”.

This is a fantastic chance for local businesses and organisations to support a local charity this Christmas. They will get their name on one of our exclusive stars, which will be displayed on our prominent window front over the entire month of December.

sponsor-a-star-blank

Sheffield Futures building is located on the corner of Division Street and Carver Street, where there’s a massive footfall right outside at all times of day and night, particularly at Christmas!

By sponsoring a star, you’ll be helping the young people of Sheffield who need it most. You and everyone else will also see your company name on one of our Stars in this busy part of town and know that you’re helping a good cause. We will also list your company name and photo on our website and promote and thank everyone who has become a Sheffield Futures Star on our social media accounts.

Sheffield Futures is a dynamic and vibrant charity, which supports young people and adults to reach their full potential in learning, employment and life to achieve a better future. We deliver a wide range of services for young people, in particular those who are most vulnerable and disengaged in our communities. The voice of young people is at the heart of all our work.

Your donation will support our work towards counselling, activity and enrichment programmes, our equipment store, youth work and mentoring, and many more worthwhile causes.

Sheffield Futures Stars can be sponsored in two sizes. For a 30cm X 30cm star it costs only £25 and for a larger, 50cm X 50cm star it’s just £35! If you are interested then please get in touch with our Community Fundraiser via email at [email protected] or by telephone on 0114 201 6609.

Why not support our charity, be a Sheffield Futures Star and get your organisation’s name in a fantastic spot this Christmas?

Running for Sheffield Futures

Tash Bright No Comments

After starting my new job at Sheffield Futures I was immediately told about the running 10k in October for the charity. I must saw that the thought of it had me walking to the hills – I don’t run.  Anyone who knows me knows that although I like sport but running is not my forte. Me running for anything other than the bus is unheard of but I decided to run my first ever race and raise money for a charity and show some team spirit.

WEEK 1

After umming and ahhing I decided to get stuck in. I had 6 weeks to get ready, so I bought some running shoes and hit Meersbrook Park to begin my training. I am quite certain that the hill in Meersbrook Park came straight out of my worst nightmares. The view at the top is amazing but my first attempt at running up the hill was so slow and uncoordinated, it could only be described as a consistent trip uphill. After a few attempts, it seemed to get easier but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to fit in enough training sessions before the big race day.

 

WEEK 2

After about two weeks of training I know longer absolutely hated running, more of a strong dislike. I was consistently running 2-3K twice a week but but had not done over 5K. It seemed that 3K was the most I’d ever be able to do.

 

WEEK 3

I started adding gym work outs into my week, which helped build up my stamina. I wasn’t so daunted by the Meersbrook Hill anymore.

 

WEEK 4

I downloaded a great free app called Strava, which helped me analyse how fast I was running per kilometre. As I’m rather competitive, this helped me enjoy running, as I could see how I was improving each time.

 

WEEK 5

One week before the race I had started building up the distance each training session. I went from 6k – 8k and found that after 4k, I had got through the pain barrier and it wasn’t all that bad.

 

WEEK 6 - RACE WEEEK

I did one last run of 9k and a gym session the week of the race. I made sure to give myself a day off all exercise before the race.

 

RACE DAY!

I was actually super excited and the anticipation I think gave me the adrenaline to sprint over the finish line. I felt very proud of the fact I’d stepped outside of my comfort zone to help raise money for the young people of my beautiful city, Sheffield. I finished the race in 1hr 6 mins and altogether, my running partner Jake and I raised just over £250!

 

If you want to help raise money for Sheffield Futures, get in touch with our Community Fundraiser, Elliot at [email protected]

The Great Sheffield Futures Bake off

Tash Bright No Comments

Yesterday saw our Sheffield Futures staff whip up something pretty special for the annual Great Sheffield Futures Bake Off competition. It was definitely a day to remember with Bake Offs very own Howard Middleton, who hails from Sheffield, judging the competition here at Star House.
raspberryimg_20161026_121226jaffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The creativity of sweet treats was impressive, with eye catching Sheffield Futures inspired biscuits, decorative custard cream cupcakes and much more on display. Our special day coincided with the final of the Great British Bake Off, but don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet!

img_20161026_123951
elliot

Howard was an entertaining and attentive judge, so make sure to watch our Bake Off video below, to find out which three winners he chose for this year’s Great Sheffield Futures Bake Off!

img_20161026_123834

Thanks to everyone that took part and helped raise £76.99! Every penny from the Great Sheffield Futures Bake Off will be going towards supporting the local people of Sheffield and services that give young people the chance to reach their full potential.

Future Shapers Success

Tash Bright No Comments

Future Shapers is a programme provided by Sheffield Futures that offers personal and educational support to young people aged between 14-17 years old.

Tia got involved with the Future Shapers programme after her mum told her about Sheffield Futures and where to go to get help. Tia said: “I was unemployed, unhappy and I had a lot of worries as I had a lot of stuff to pay for. I was really struggling to find a job…it made me feel sad.”

Once a young person joins Future Shapers they are given their own personal mentor that will work with them to uncover where they need most support and tailor the support to the young person’s needs. Our mentors have helped young people gain confidence, attend extra-curricular activities and search for employment.

“Future Shapers helped me with my CV/cover letters, apply for jobs, and helped me sort out my Maths, so I can have functional skills in Maths,” Tia said.

Future Shapers treats every young person as an individual and understands that every journey will be different. Many young people are given the chance to gain the extra confidence they need to step outside of their comfort zone and push themselves to believe that they can succeed in life. Tia said: “I felt less worried and like something was going to get sorted soon. I felt like I would have a brighter future.”

Since joining Future Shapers, Tia went on to get a series of interviews and has been successful in securing an internship. She is now less worried about her future. “I feel comfortable in knowing that I can approach you Future Shapers if I need further support with anything,” said Tia.

 

If you want to know more about the Future Shapers programme, please give us a call on: 0114 201 2909 or email: [email protected]

Sexual Exploitation Service Manager Discusses Sexting

Tash Bright No Comments

During our Let’s Talk About Sexting campaign, we have been encouraging young people, parents and carers to learn more about sexting and why it occurs at the rates that it does and what the potential risks of sexting could be. Last week we looked at real life instances of young people sexting and the ways it has effected young people’s lives. This week we spoke with Sheffield Futures’ Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service Manager, Jane Fidler, to better understand how the young people she has worked with view sexting and what can be done to prevent young people from feeling anxious, depressed and in the worst cases, suicidal because of the consequences of sexting.

In part one of our interview with Jane, we look into the reasons young people sext as well as the consequences.

 

Next week we will be speaking to a parent whose child has been involved with sexting

If you have been affected by any aspect of sexting you can get help from the organisations bellow:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC – 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858.

They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

Revenge Porn Helpline – http://www.revengepornhelpline.org.uk/ or call on 0800 6000 459

Young People from Wordsworth Youth Club Learn New Skills

Tash Bright No Comments

Proactive young people who attend Wordsworth Youth Club in Parson Cross took part in a five week project learning how to use a skate board and have graduated with honors. The skateboarding project was a great success, as it engaged the young people in the local area in a fun and informative way. Over 30 young people attended the project funded by Yorkshire Sport that was designed to give young people the chance to learn new skills as well as change attitudes in and around offending behavior including anti-social behavior.

The Finale of the project saw the young people show off their newly developed skills at an indoor session at The House Skate Park. Young people who completed the sessions were invited down to the park where young people were awarded prizes from the Skate Board school for there participation.

skate-park-2

From the 30 young people that took part in regular sessions – six of the young people have signed up for a weekly class run at the indoor skate park “House”. The six young people from the local youth club had never been skating before and thought they would challenge themselves to step outside their comfort zone. Following the project which ended on the 19th August, the young people have signed up and are attending a special class for beginners, according to Nick Mosley from the Skate Board School, the young people are making great progress and learning new skills.

Sheffield Futures joined Paul Blomfield MP for a Big Conversation

Tash Bright No Comments

Members of Sheffield’s Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament joined young people at Sheffield Futures for a Big Conversation with Paul Blomfield MP. The Big Conversation is an annual community consultation with a variety of audiences.

On 22nd September, the Big Conversation came to Sheffield Futures on Division Street for a special event for young people aged 13 – 18. Deputy Member of Youth Parliament and chair of Youth Cabinet, Eleri Kirkpatrick, facilitated the event.

img_6590

The conversation tackled big issues such as racism and the school curriculum. One young person said: “We need a more diverse curriculum. Education can be the root of racism as we don’t understand different cultures and their contributions to society”. Other topics included LGBT people, discrimination and mental health. The young people expressed their concerns about how people with mental health issues aren’t taken seriously or considered ill unless they’re suicidal “Mental health is a spectrum. It’s not you’re completely okay or you need to be sectioned. Everyone deserves the opportunity to talk to someone and seek help”.

Eleri Kirkpatrick, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament said: “The Big Conversation is a great way for young people to speak honestly and directly about issues that are important to us with our local MP Paul Blomfield.”

Paul Blomfield MP said: Sex and relationship education, exam pressures, curriculum changes, mental health services are issues for young people. There are lots of issues to raise in Parliament.”

Real Cases of Sexting – The Impacts and Effects

Tash Bright No Comments

So far, our Lets Talk About Sexting campaign has looked into the reasons why young people might sext, the laws around sexting and also the consequences of young people sexting. This week we will focus on real life cases of how sexting has impacted some young people’s live. The range of consequences differs widely and each case and individual is different.

It is important to understand that the law criminalising sexual imagery of young people was created to protect young people from adults and sexual abuse, not criminalise young people. None the less, where police have been notified, the incident will be listed as a ‘crime’ and the young person involved will be a ‘suspect’.

 

A teenage boy added to police database for 'sexting'

In some instances, sexting may have no repercussions or it may be easily resolved between two people. Unfortunately, where sexual imagery of young people is created, stored or distributed, young people could be added to the police database.

A 14-year-old boy in the north of England was added to a police intelligence database last year after sending a naked picture of himself to a female friend. The unnamed teenager was warned that if he ever applies for a job that required advanced criminal record checks, for example if he wanted to work with children, the incident could be “flagged”.

After taking a sexual image of himself, the teenager sent it to a girl he was flirting with via Snapchat. The girl who received the Snapchat message took a screenshot of the image and shared it with her friends. The picture was then brought to the attention of the school.

In this case the boy was seen as the person in the wrong. If both himself and the girl in question were over 18, it would have been the boy who was treated as the victim, as the girl had shared his image without his permission and could be charged under new revenge porn laws. It is important to know how age effects laws.

The boy said he was “embarrassed” by the incident and now spends lunchtimes in the library to avoid being teased by classmates who claim to still have the image. He said: “I shouldn’t have done it. It’s just annoying really, something that I did when I was 14 could reflect badly in future.”

4-1-spirto-quote

Teenage girl given police caution for sending explicit selfie to boyfriend

A teenage girl received a police caution after sending sexual imagery of herself to her boyfriend. She sent the image to him from her phone and after they had an argument, he distributed the image to his friends.

The police became involved as the girl was under 18 meaning both parties were committing an offence. The girl was committing an offence because she had taken sexual imagery of herself and shared it and the boy was committing an offence as he distributed the image. He also did it with the intent of causing distress or harm.

Both received a caution but police are now warning other teenagers they could end up on the sex offenders register if they send explicit pictures of themselves via text messages or social media.

4-2-spirto-quote

Amanda Todd blackmailed relentlessly by online predator

Worst case scenarios of sexting have led to blackmail, depression and even suicide. Amanda Todd’s name has become synonymous with sexting and cyber bullying and it is probably the most high profile case of sexting to date.

Amanda Todd was a Canadian teenager who suffered at the hands of an online predator and took her life at the age of 15. She created a video explaining her ordeal weeks before she committed suicide. After speaking with a man who had flattered her online she ‘flashed’ him but the man took a picture of her breasts. He asked her to put on another show for him, but she refused. The man then found her classmates on Facebook and sent them the photograph. To cope with the anxiety, Todd descended into drugs and alcohol and ill-advised flirtations and sex. Her classmates ostracised her. She was forced to move school but the images were sent to the new school as well. Amanda suffered from anxiety, major depression and panic attacks and attempted suicide a few times before finally succeeding.

The 38 year old Dutch man who blackmailed and harassed Amanda relentlessly is suspected of blackmailing dozens of young women from the United States into performing sex acts on their web cams. He will be extradited to Canada to face trail after his trial in the Netherlands, which will begin early next year.

 

Alanna regrets getting caught sexting but doesn’t regret the act itself

Alanna McArdle spoke as an adult about how she had enjoyed using webcams as a 13 year old with the boys in her school. She explained how it had helped her explore her sexuality. She had wanted to be sexual and engage in sexual activity but it was the reaction from adults, once the activity became common knowledge amongst parents and teachers, that effected her perception of herself. She says: “I had an arrangement with around five or six boys in my year at school when I was 13 years old. I would log on to MSN Messenger almost immediately after I got home from school”.

Alana’s story is interesting as it uncovers how little is known and understood about childhood sexuality and how we progress into adults and what behaviour may or may not be ordinary or acceptable.

Alanna said: “I walked into school on the first day of Year 9, I knew that everyone knew. My parents knew; the other children’s parents knew; I’m pretty sure that every teacher at my very small school knew…As a semi-beginner’s introduction to double standards, the boys involved escaped any visible punishment in school. They got some pats on the back from their peers. I, on the other hand, was a slut… The boys around me were expected to be sexual. But my own desires and enjoyment? They were unacceptable.”

Alanna’s case mirrors a common situation in which young girls often face harsher social consequences than boys for sexting. NSPCC research discovered that sexism was normalised for contexts for all relationships on and off line meaning girls consistently received consistently higher rates of bullying, scrutiny, violence and blackmail for sending pictures than boys, who were often praised and got ‘ratings’ from their peers for receiving nude pictures from girls.

4-3-spirto-quote

 

17 year old boy labelled a pervert

James, a 17 year old teenager who called Childline, was labelled a pervert after he sent a sexually explicit video to his girlfriend. He said: “My friends and I talk very openly about sexting, our experiences within our relationships, and the sort of things we’ve sent each other. So it can seem like everyone’s doing it.”

The fact that sexting has become somewhat normal within our society can often lead young people to underestimating the risks that could occur. James said: “There are definitely risks involved. Someone saw a video message I had sent to a previous girlfriend, took a screen shot and posted it online. They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it – it was clearly me pictured.”

Once an image or text has been sent, it cannot be unsent. It is easy to lose control of an image as you cannot guarantee where it will end up and who will see it. This can lead young people (and adults) to feeling a severe humiliation and a sense that things have spiralled out of their control. James said: “I was completely devastated and, to be honest, almost suicidal. I got the picture taken down eventually, but by that stage people had ‘unfriended’ me and the damage was done.”

 

It is always important to think before you send a text or image of the consequence that could ensue. How would you feel if your parent saw the picture, or your teachers and classmates. Think of the cases above and how it affected these young people’s lives.

 

Next week we will be speaking to a child exploitation expert about sexting

If you have been affected by any aspect of sexting you can get help from the organisations bellow:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC – 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858.

They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

Revenge Porn Helpline – http://www.revengepornhelpline.org.uk/ or call on 0800 6000 459

What Are the Risks of Young People Sexting?

Tash Bright No Comments

When talking about the risks of sexting, it is often assumed that young people do not know the consequences of sharing sexual imagery. Findings from SPIRTO have shown that many young people do know the risks and try to manage these risks by leaving their face out of pictures or using apps like Snapchat.

This week, our Let’s Talk About Sexting Campaign looks into the consequences of sexting and how gender often plays a role in how young people are treated once it has been discovered they have sent sexual imagery.

There are many reasons why young people might sext, which we looked in to last week. Young people may start sending ‘nude pics’ as a way of boosting their self-esteem. They could be pressured into sending pictures or young people may sext as a way of exploring their sexuality as part of their natural curiosity about sex.

It is important to remember that even though looking into the consequences of sexting may be shocking, it is important not to jump to conclusions and judge young people harshly if it has been discovered they have sent sexual images. It is often detrimental to punish young people for sexting, as it acts to deter young people from sharing issues they may be facing and seeking help. The aim of looking into the consequences of sexting is to raise awareness of the risks and legalities that could occur, with the main aim being protecting young people from child abuse

1. Loss of Control

In this digital age we live in, it is easy to quickly share our experiences and detail our lives through pictures via social media. Unfortunately, once a picture has been sent you cannot be sure where it may end up. This is especially important to consider before sending sexual imagery, because once an image has been shared, things can quickly spiral out of control and the young person may no longer know who their picture might have been forwarded to. Digital footprints are notoriously hard to erase.

Young people that have had negative experiences with sexting often talk about the feeling of losing control and things quickly escalating to the point where they felt overwhelmed. This sense of despair was detrimental to their health and well-being and in some cases led to feelings of anxiety, depression, self-harm and in the worst cases – suicide.

It is important that young people contemplate how they might feel if the picture they are considering sending was seen by their classmates, shared on Facebook or seen by their parents.

3-1-loss-of-privacy

 

2.Sexting and Sexism

Research conducted NSPCC found that culturally pervasive sexist beliefs were rampant in secondary schools and acted as the backdrop in which sexting took place. The discovery that sexism was normalised for contexts for all relationships on and off line meant that girls consistently received harsher consequences (bullying, scrutiny, violence, blackmail) for sending pictures than boys, who were often praised and got ‘ratings’ from their peers for receiving nude pics from girls. The potential of new technology has added another way in which young people can achieve status with their peers. The sharing of images has been linked to young people, usually young men, vying for power within their peer group and using others, usually young women’s images as the means to do that.

As recent as this month, MPs across the country have begun recognising the need for increased awareness and education in schools addressing sexism that views women as objects of male desire and labels girls/women negatively whilst praising boys for the same behaviour. The same research showed that even when girls refused to participate in the sending of photos, this did not mean they were safe from the implications of this practice and routine forms of sexism. Boys who do not engage in getting ‘ratings’ from their peers for receiving pictures from girls were at risk of being labelled gay or anti-sex, while girls are bullied for being virgins if they don’t engage in sexting and ‘slut shamed’ when they do.

MP, Maria Miller stated this month; ‘It is difficult to explain why any school would allow girls to be subjected to sexual harassment and violent behaviour that has been outlawed in the adult workplace…Failing to reinforce what is acceptable behaviour could well be fuelling the ‘Lad Culture’ that the Government has already identified as a problem in colleges and universities.’

3-2-sexism

3. Vulnerable to Blackmail

There are offenders that seek out sexual images of children and young people and they can be highly manipulative. They can use fear and blackmail or make the young person feel guilty, worthless or that they haven’t  got a choice. Whether young people send images of themselves to strangers or people they know, there is no guarantee where the pictures will end up. Once an offender has a picture of a young person, they may try to persuade them to send sexual images by saying they will be hurt or upset if the young person refuses. They may then continue to blackmail the young person into sending even more explicit pictures by threatening to post their images online or show them to people the young person knows (school/family) if they don’t send them more.

“What we’re seeing is abusers taking advantage and getting images out of young people and then blackmailing them for more by saying, ‘If you don’t do more for me, I’ll send these to your family and friends,'” Ceop’s head of education, Jonathan Baggaley, said.

3-3-blackmailing

4. It is Illegal

It is illegal to produce, store or share sexual imagery of anyone under the age of 18, even if you are the person in the picture. It is important to keep in mind that though the age of sexual consent is 16, sending sexual imagery of anyone under 18 is illegal. The law criminalising indecent images of children was created to protect young people from adults and sexual abuse. It was not intended to criminalise children. None the less, where police have been notified, the incident will be listed as a ‘crime’ and the young person involved will be a ‘suspect’. Outcome 21 was created specifically for such cases and helps to formalise the discretion available to police when handling crimes such as youth produced content.

3-4-law

5. Pictures Could be Uploaded on to Porn Websites

Once something has been sent, it cannot be unsent. Pictures and text are easily shared, especially when people are in trusting relationships. It is important for young people to understand that relationships may end and the once trusted partner may use the same pictures to humiliate them. There are whole websites dedicated to this act known as revenge porn. Pictures of sexually graphic content of the individual may have immediate consequences, such as images being uploaded and shared on porn websites for all to see or even going viral and becoming public knowledge to people at their school. In comparison, pictures that have been sent may resurface years later and effect job opportunities in the future and relationships in later life, so think before you send.

 

Next week we will be looking into real life instances where sexting has taken place and what the outcomes were.

 

If you have been affected by any aspect of sexting you can get help from the organisations bellow:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC – 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858.

They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

Revenge Porn Helpline – http://www.revengepornhelpline.org.uk/ or call on 0800 6000 459

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.