How young volunteers are transforming Sheffield’s communities

Tash Bright No Comments

Young volunteers from Sheffield Futures, are giving their time and energy at organisations around Sheffield to make positive changes in the community.

Sheffield Futures social action project, Sheffieldr, has enlisted young people aged between 11-19 who are enthusiastic to get involved with all projects big and small. Volunteering ensures positive change in the young people’s lives, as they gain valuable experience such as teamwork and life skills.

Benefits can also be felt in the wider community. Volunteering with Sheffield Futures has seen the young people paint a mural to represent diversity at Parson Cross Boxing Gym and has more recently seen a team of young volunteers restore life back to the gardens at Herdings Youth Club.

The young people volunteering at Herdings Youth Club garden heard about the project through Community Youth Team’s youth club at Woodthorpe. The group worked hard to tame the overgrown outdoor space and now have plans to revive the faded flower beds and introduce fruit and veg to the garden. Once the garden is complete, local primary schools will be invited to explore and tend to the gardens.

The Sheffield Futures youth social action projects oppose the often negative portrayal of young people today. Think tank, Demos analysed six UK newspapers over the past 10 years and found that the words most commonly associated with “teenagers”, “youth” and “young people” were “binge-drinking”, “yobs” and “crime”. The time that the young volunteers dedicate to each project at Sheffield Futures mirror recent national research conducted by Business in the Community. Statistics show that young people are using volunteering to further their career aims and gain new skills more than any other age group and 80% of employers value volunteering on a CV.

Volunteering in the community also gives the young people the chance to work as part of a team. The one-off volunteering projects are a great way for young people to see the positive change that they have made in one day. One young person said that they felt “very proud” of the difference that their work has made to Herdings Youth Club garden.

Another young person who volunteered with Sheffieldr explained that “It was nice to get involved in laying the foundation of the Mural in our boxing gym to enable us to take control and make it attractive.”

Sheffield Futures are always looking for young volunteers to get involved and organisations that may be in need of transforming a community space. It is a unique and exciting opportunity that will see young volunteers help organisations for free for one day events or over a couple of sessions.

Future Shapers give young people an Xtra Push

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Students participating in the Future Shapers programme have successfully completed Xtra Push – a fun-filled personal development training programme aimed at helping young people to gain confidence, assertiveness, control and show commitment.

Associate Leader, Yasmin Celik said: “Xtra Push has been a very positive programme for our students and we’re very happy to celebrate the success of Future Shapers at Chaucer. It really is a fantastic programme for young people and I’m so happy that everyone is fully engaging with it.”

Sheffield Futures runs the Future Shapers programme where all participants have their own Mentor who tailors support to meet their needs. This could be to gain confidence, attend extra-curricular activities, improve attendance, gain qualifications, socialise with other young people, search for employment and much more.

Future Shapers Mentors deliver Xtra Push to students on the programme. The course gives young people a chance to seize opportunities, build resilience and motivate personal change.

Chaucer Students have enjoyed Xtra Push, Kayleigh Stanton and Megan Allott said: “I liked the teamwork sessions and games.”

Y10 Student Charlie Drayton said: “I really liked Xtra Push, the course was eye-opening and it has really helped me with my team-work and confidence. It has also made me realise what I would like to do when I leave school.”

Assistant Head Teacher Gemma Furness said: “They were all so much calmer after the sessions.“ Y10 Manager Alison Scholey, agreed and said: “I think it’s helped with their self confidence, I’ve seen a real difference.”




Members of Youth Parliament for Sheffield launch campaign against racism and religious discrimination

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Six Members of Sheffield Youth Parliament (MYPs) are joining almost 300 elected Members of Youth Parliament in launching a year long campaign to combat racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim and Jewish.

The National Day of Action on Friday 22nd January saw Members of Youth Parliament call on politicians and schools to join their campaign ‘Don’t Hate, Educate!’ in their strive to “help young people speak out” about racism and religious discrimination. In Sheffield, Youth Councillors will support MYPs when they meet with their local MPs.

Over the next year, UK Youth Parliament will campaign to challenge negative attitudes around race and religion; work with others to educate their communities in order to tackle ignorance around race and religion; and promote integration in their communities. The campaign starts following the Make Your Mark ballot which took place in the autumn of 2015 seeing the issue become one of the top five with 95,000 young people nominating it as their most important issue and then the subsequent vote by Members of Youth Parliament in House of Commons to make this their national campaign in November 2015.

Eleri Kirkpatrick, Member of Youth Parliament who spoke passionately on this issue at the House of Commons debate in November, said: “I’m really pleased this was voted in as our national campaign as we shouldn’t tolerate ignorance, hatred and racism in our society.”

Nick Clegg Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam and former Deputy Prime Minister said: “As a liberal, I believe no one should be persecuted or discriminated against because of who they are. It was great to see young people politically engaged and taking action to educate their peers and raise awareness. I will be lending my support to the Youth Parliament’s ‘Don’t Hate, Educate’ campaign and put pressure on the government to continue the fight to eliminate hate crime altogether.”

The issue is thought to have come out as one of the top issues for young people in the Make Your Mark youth consultation, following increases in race and religion related hate crimes between 2014 and 2015. In England and Wales the Home Office reported there were 42,930 race related hate crimes (representing a 15% increase from the year before) and 3,254 religion related hate crimes (43% increase from the year before). Similarly in Northern Ireland, 2,277 race related incidents and crimes were reported showing a 36% increase from the year before. 80 religion related crimes and incidents were also reported showing an increase of 116% from the year before according to Police Service of Northern Ireland. The only exception in this trend has been in Scotland where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service reported there was a 9% decrease race related hate crimes and a 4% decrease religiously aggravated crimes.

Celebrating young people’s achievements

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Talent Match, an employment programme for Sheffield City Region (SCR) celebrated the achievements of young adults at their annual awards ceremony in December. Sheffield Futures is the lead agency for Talent Match in the Sheffield City Region.

Talent Match Coaches voted for 21 young people to win awards for their achievements in volunteering, helping to shape the programme, entering education, meeting challenges at enterprise camp, being young entrepreneurs and gaining employment on the wage fund programme (where employers receive funding to take on a new employee) and independently.

Talent Match is a programme for 18 – 24 year olds who are not in employment, education or training, aimed at getting those furthest away from the job market into employment. The programme helps young people to promote themselves, build skills, find employment, get work experience and even helps to make business ideas happen!

Talent Match Manager Jo Booth said: “We’re so proud of the achievements of the young people on the Talent Match programme and we wanted to recognise that at our annual awards ceremony. Many of the young people lacked confidence when they started the programme and for some, collecting their award in front of a room full of people is a huge accomplishment.”

“Since January 2013, Talent Match has supported over 1100 people in the region, through hubs in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Bolsover, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire. 150 young people are now in employment and of those, 100 are in long-term positions. Across the region there have been some huge achievements, including 100 young people taking on work placements, 80 have begun volunteering, 200 have re-entered education and 40 young people have taken an apprenticeship.”

Sheffield Futures Chief Executive Officer, Gail Gibbons said: “We are proud to celebrate Talent Match and pleased you could join us. I would like to thank all the Sheffield Futures and partner staff involved in this work”.

Phil Hayes from Groundwork South Yorkshire said: “At Talent Match, we tailor our work to each young person and recognise their needs. This is so important and creates a holistic and creative approach to helping young adults to achieve their goals.”

The young people were awarded with Sports Direct and other gift vouchers; worth up to £50 each and all runners up received £20 worth of vouchers. Sports Direct kindly donated the vouchers and a few extras that were entered into tombola.

Sheffield Futures service secures bright future for young mum

Ruth Durkin No Comments

A 22-year-old woman from Sheffield has started her dream career with support from Sheffield Futures.

Lauren Bonnick, a mother of two, is studying for a University qualification in Youth Work after working with one of our Advisers to turn her strengths into employable skills.

Our new campaign, #AFutureForAll, aims to encourage and assist young people in pursuing their aspirations for the future in education and employment. Our advisers work alongside young people to develop their strengths and help carve their path to a real career.

Lauren heard about Sheffield Futures through Sheffield City Council when she was looking for housing accommodation. She’d recently left school and was studying for a Level 3 qualification in Hairdressing. Martin Reid, a Personal Adviser at Sheffield Futures, supported Lauren to become self-employed, pass her driving test and set up a mobile hair and nail business.

Lauren said: “He put everything in perspective and made me realise that things were possible. I wouldn’t have known where to go without that support. It’s meant that I can balance being a single Mum with my education”

“I told him that I’d love to do a job like his – helping young people – and he did everything he could to help me on my way.”

Martin said: “I saw real potential in Lauren as she had great people skills and was always surrounded by a big group of friends. She was an ideal candidate for studying Youth Work so we contacted training providers and started the process.”

Lauren is currently completing a Degree-level Youth Work qualification at Sheffield Hallam University and is supporting homeless young people’s group work sessions.

Lauren said: “In terms of my future plans, I enjoy any work with young people. I know how much it helped me so I’d like to do the same for others. I wouldn’t be where I am today without having someone there for that support.”

“My advice to young people looking for work is to speak to an Adviser at Sheffield Futures and tell them what you enjoy and what you want to do. If you focus on what’s going to make you happy right now, the right thing will happen.”

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.