Youth Work

Woodthorpe Youth Club Social Action Project

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people from Woodthorpe want to improve their youth club, to make it a welcoming space that more young people can benefit from. Currently the community space, owned by Sheffield City Council, is used by two groups, including Sheffield Futures Woodthorpe Youth Club. Attendees at the youth club have formed a group: Woodthorpe Social Action Project (WSAP) who “want to make the youth club more homely and inviting to people who haven’t been here before.”

WSAP have made a list of things they would like to change about the club and are working on a plan – leading up to a day of social action during the Easter holidays, where they will work with local businesses and partners. This project will involve young people-led fundraisers, asking the local community for their time, skills and expertise and bringing together businesses, decision makers and young people to make positive change in an area that has received negative press. Last June, the Guardian reported a rise in serious violence across Sheffield, focussing on Lowedges and Woodthorpe “two of the estates blighted by a murder and three shootings in recent weeks.”

WSAP are meeting weekly to discuss ideas, organise fundraisers, create videos and plan the redecoration of their youth club. The group said: “Youth club is a safer place than being on the streets. We want to make it look better and we’re going to get involved as much as we can. We’ve written letters to MPs and Councillors inviting them to come down and see the club.”

The youth club stands back from the road, with little outdoor lighting to show that a session is on, which may attract new attendees. This is something that the group would like to change, with additional flood lighting so that they can make use of the club’s football pitch during the dark evenings.

Inside, the club needs a lick of paint and an upgrade to their furnishings. The group “met a street artist who we want to do a mural at the youth club. This project is giving us the experiences that we probably won’t ever have again. How many people will be able to say ‘I helped paint that wall with an artist’?!”

“I wanna do some spray painting because it sounds fun.”

The group are looking for support from local people, businesses and more to make their ideas a reality. WSAP will be holding fundraisers and asking the local community for donations to improve the club, but are also looking for donations of time and skills.

Could you help WSAP? Call: 07766 751 614 or email:

“Anything that anyone can do would be great because this is a second home to us.”


Youth work matters: Shout about your successes

Sadie White No Comments

It’s increasingly important that we demonstrate what we do well to encourage young people in need to use our services, demonstrate our worth & expertise to potential funders, corporate partners & decision makers, raise our profile locally to drive fundraising efforts and to encourage collaboration with external partners to help us meet our targets. You are the ones delivering all the great outcomes for young people and we need to shout about these for the reasons above.

You told us that time is an issue for you and that you rightly need to focus on the day job, so telling us about your great work often falls off the list. That’s why we’ve developed a toolkit to help you and the young people you work with deliver information, photographs, video and case studies in a way that gets us what we need but isn’t onerous. We’re also keen to give the young people you work with the opportunity to demonstrate their positive experiences with Sheffield Futures through photo and video sharing. This was an idea floated by you in the East team meeting and we loved it! It might be young people in a youth club environment wanting to document what they’re up to or young people on a trip or at a Sheffield Futures event, whatever it is this will put the camera in the hands of young people and let them tell their story the way they want it told. We plan to use the Snapchat platform and you will find more details about what we need you to do to introduce this to young people within this toolkit.

What’s included within the Toolkit?

• Case study template: A quick and easy case study template that will capture all the information we will need from you in order to develop case studies that demonstrate specific examples of how you have helped a young person or young people. You can fill one in in minutes and email it to us or drop it in to us at Star House.

• Snapchat as a photo and video messaging tool for young people: Introduction & your role

• Posters encouraging young people to capture their experiences: Please put these posters and cards up and encourage young people to get involved and help us share all the great work you’re doing.

• Contact details sheet

• Social media poster: All of our social media links for young people to follow! Please put these posters up in your youth clubs and encourage young people to get involved.

A note on consent forms.

It’s obviously important that all young people that intend to get involved with this are covered by a consent form so please make sure these have been collected and recorded on CORE+ or wherever you record your data. Thanks for all your help with this so far we’re really looking forward to working together on this. Gail and the Marketing & Communications team

You can access a copy of the toolkit on our Shared Resources (S) drive here  S:\4. Shared Resources\4.16 Branding, Marketing and Communications\Communications Toolkit


Specialist, continuous, one to one youth careers support delivers positive change

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James, 18, had experienced multiple barriers to progression at school including undiagnosed dyslexia and lack of confidence and after a bad experience with his peer group had fully withdrawn, hardly ever leaving the house. With low self-esteem and difficulties managing anger, his relationship with his Mum also started to deteriorate. James’ prospects for a positive future were looking slim until he was referred to Sheffield Futures and Lucy, targeted youth support worker started to visit James at home.

Over the course of months and persistent visits to James, Lucy began to build a positive and trusting relationship. After getting to know him and his interests Lucy was able to encourage him to engage in activities outside the home to build his confidence and broaden his experience. ‘He had expressed an interest in Basketball so I engaged with the Sharks and with a local team with regards to him getting involved in playing – this had a great motivational effect. It took a lot of persistence getting James to attend and I could see it was starting to pay off as his confidence was starting to build.’ Says Lucy.

After initial success on a course with a sports provider, James progressed to another programme but unfortunately this broke down due to an incident with a member of staff. ‘I spoke honestly and frankly to James after this incident and James learnt quickly from the experience and moved forward in a mature way.’ Lucy says.

‘We moved James to another provider but this time James showed self-awareness of his difficulties managing anger and talked about the strategies he would put in place to manage them. Giving James the tools and strategies to manage his feelings worked and James is now training with this organisation.’ She continues.

James is now on a study programme doing very well and enjoying the programme. He is working towards GCSE level Maths and English which is a major achievement. He’s feeling much more positive in himself and engaging in positive relationships with a wider range of young people and adults. With a better relationship with Mum, he’s looking towards future goals with raised self-esteem and an ability to communicate more effectively. As a result of the positive experience James is having, his Mum is also studying towards her GCSE Maths and English which has raised the aspirations of the family as a whole.

‘It’s fantastic to see how far James has come on his journey towards a more positive future. Building a positive, supportive and trusting relationship with young people and their families over a period of time has so many benefits. If things don’t go right first time – as they often don’t- having that continuity of relationship means that you’re better able to help the young person jump the next hurdle in their journey as you know the history. It’s never easy to get back on track and achieve and having a trusted support that understands all the issues to provide the strategies and tools for managing negative feelings is invaluable for a young person experiencing difficulties.’ Lucy says.

International Volunteer Day at Sheffield Futures

Tash Bright No Comments

On International Volunteer Day, we spoke to our incredible volunteer Rachel Javed to find out why she volunteers for Sheffield Futures and how that helps young people in Sheffield. Thank you so much Rachel!

What inspired you to start volunteering for Sheffield Futures?

I have been involved with youth work since I became too old to attend a club myself, and so have experienced the benefits first and second-hand. Today’s young people face challenges unique to their generation, yet the social and educational structures that they require to triumph over these difficulties are increasingly hard to access. Sheffield Futures offers its volunteers the opportunity to become strongly involved with how the service supports young people, and this is what attracted me to volunteer here.

What do you enjoy about volunteering for Sheffield Futures?

My favourite aspect has to be the people involved. Thanks to the vibrant bunch who attend the youth clubs, no two sessions are ever the same. Whether playing pool, providing individual support or having a bit of a chat and a laugh with a group, seeing my relationship with these young people develop and strengthen over time is very rewarding. I’ve also met some lovely colleagues and continue to benefit greatly from their experience and guidance.

Would you recommend volunteering for Sheffield Futures?

I would wholeheartedly recommend volunteering with Sheffield Futures! Everyone at the service was welcoming and friendly from the word go, and it’s a great way to become more involved with your local community. Plus, you never know where the experience might take you!

Sheffield Futures train with the professionals at GB Boxing!

Tash Bright No Comments

In the run up to the GB Boxing Championships, Sheffield Futures took a group of young people from their youth clubs and young people from Empire Boxing Gym to meet the boxers and be coached by the professionals at their world-class facility. Many of the young people Sheffield Futures work with have not seen live sports before, let alone take a tour around the training facilities, meet the athletes themselves and ask questions about how to take their own careers forward.

Sheffield Futures corporate partners, GB Boxing, based at the English Institute of Sport, prepare and train the boxers that compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games. The partnership focuses on the use of boxing as a tool to bolster Sheffield Futures’ community involvement work and inspire Sheffield’s young people to achieve wider personal development through sport.


Sheffield Futures Community Youth Teams have seen the benefits boxing can bring to young people otherwise at risk of falling into risky antisocial behaviour, including:

  • Healthy eating and lifestyle: Maximising physical ability through nutrition and healthy lifestyle
  • Mental health: Feel good factor achieved through exercise and team sport
  • Social skills: Interaction and engagement which builds confidence and enjoyment in positive social interaction
  • Self-control & anger management: Self-control of skills and the ability to be mentally strong in exercising this
  • Self-defence and safety: Helping young people to deliver safe skills for self defence
  • Racism and homophobia: Discussion of legendary boxers that had been publicly victimised due to their race and the ethical implications
  • Gender: Conversations around the evolution in women’s boxing and its increasing popularity

Sheffield Futures awarded funding to tackle criminal exploitation of young people

Sadie White No Comments

South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, has been awarded over £500,000 of Home Office funding for a Sheffield partnership project led by Sheffield Futures focussed on tackling child criminal exploitation and associated knife and gun crime across the city.

The project named by young people consulted as ‘Project 0114’ will be delivered by Sheffield Futures in conjunction with delivery partners, Sheffield City Council, ACT Sheffield, The Unity Gym Project, St Marks Church, Broomhill, Manor Castle Development Trust, My Life Project, Princes Trust, and Change Grow Live (CGL).

Due to begin in January 2019, Project 0114 will include an education programme for all secondary school pupils across the city as well as year six pupils in primary schools in areas deemed to be most at risk. A second strand to the project will engage children aged 10-13 identified as at risk of grooming for gang involvement and serious violence with positive enrichment activities.

Gail Gibbons, CEO at Sheffield Futures comments, ‘We are really pleased to have been awarded the funding to deliver targeted activities to help children and young people vulnerable to criminal exploitation and associated serious violence across the city.’

‘Through Project 0114, we hope to equip our children and young people to be able to steer clear of the serious threat that comes from organised crime, child criminal exploitation and the associated violent crime we are unfortunately seeing become more and more frequent across the city.’

Co-delivered by youth workers and specially trained young people and utilising a youth mentoring approach, the schools based programme will involve a series of information and skills based sessions focussed on preventing child criminal exploitation and the effects of knife and gun crime. Young people will be provided with information about how they can seek support to move away from serious youth violence and to understand their rights and responsibilities in this area.  This element will form a key strand of the new Violent Crime and Organised Criminality (VCOC) strategy in Sheffield.

The programme targeting children identified through evidence as at risk of being groomed for gang involvement and associated gun and knife crime will be delivered across 5 areas of the city: Broomhall, North East Sheffield, Manor Castle/Arbourthorne, Burngreave/Pitsmoor and Low Edges.

Focussed on arts, music, media or sport the engagement activities, in local communities, the project will pull on the strengths of delivery partners and will ensure strong safeguarding pathways for those identified as most at risk.


Youth Work Week 2018: Kirsty Roy

Sadie White No Comments

It’s Youth Work Week this week and we’re talking to youth workers from across the organisation as part of our #youthworkmatters campaign to celebrate the varied ways our youth workers help young people from across the city.

Here we talk to Kirsty Roy a youth worker in our Door 43 emotional health and wellbeing service.

Kirsty Roy, youth worker – Door 43

What does your role as a youth worker involve?

It involves working with lots of different young people from all across the city to help them address emotional, practical and other  emotional health and wellbeing needs. I use my skills to relate to young people from all walks of life experiencing diverse problems, including problems that start in the home such as poverty, to problems in school whether it’s achievement or stress, to problems with low mood and depression.

How do you help Door 43 deliver for young people?

I help Door 43 deliver positive results for young people for example by giving them the tools and advice to help them get themselves into a better place emotionally which then sets them up to be able to deal with the challenges they face. It’s not about telling them what to do but it’s about coaching them and giving them the tools for example, coping strategies and building the resilience to cope with life’s set backs. Ultimately, I help them to uncover the answers and the right way forward for themselves.

What do you think are the challenges for young people?

I could go on forever. I think today’s young people have real challenges. From the current issues we have with knife crime and gang culture to dealing with the pressure of school without becoming stressed and anxious to problems at home such as poverty and peer on peer pressure. The list goes on. Young people are expected to deal with all of this when they’re young and inexperienced and don’t have the life experience and resilience to deal with it. It’s a really tough call.

How important is youth work to young people?

Very important. Absolutely essential. Without youth workers or youth clubs or anyone positive in a young persons life I can say I feel very sure that as well as the obvious detrimental effect and suffering for young people, the negative impact on our communities will be great. What I like about youth work is that it’s an early intervention for young people and it’s about giving them the information and tools to make positive choices. It gives them a positive influence which for some young people is unfortunately completely absent from their lives. We don’t tell them what to do we just advise them. The cut backs show that crime rates are going through the roof. I fear for what would happen if funding for youth services is cut back any more.

You can find out more about Door 43 here

Door43 – Emotional, mental and sexual health support

How you can support us:

Find out more about how youth work transforms lives by following our #YouthWorkMatters campaign on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters

Please visit to find out more about what we do and how you can support us with fundraising, volunteering or as an ambassador.


Youth Work Week – Toni’s Story #YouthWorkMatters

Tash Bright No Comments

Toni used to go to Stocksbridge Youth Club as a teenager, eventually becoming a Young Leader and helping to run activities and trips for younger members of the club. After working in retail and having children, Toni started volunteering at the very same youth club she used to visit weekly. When the opportunity came up to become a qualified Youth Worker, Toni jumped at the chance, leaving her job to train and volunteer – eventually becoming the lead Youth Worker (and key holder) for the club she used to visit. Here’s her story:

This post is part of our Youth Work Matters campaign. You can support the campaign:

Find out more about how youth work transforms lives by following our #YouthWorkMatters campaign on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters

Please visit to find out more about what we do and how you can support us with fundraising, volunteering or as an ambassador.

Youth Work Week 2018: Lucy Ruck

Sadie White No Comments

It’s Youth Work Week this week and to continue our celebration of the varied ways our youth workers help young people from across the city, today we’re profiling Lucy Ruck, a youth worker in our Community Youth Team in the West of the city.

As you’ll have seen from these profiles, the roles are varied, but all focus on providing a holistic approach to stabilising the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people.

Case Study: How youth work can help support our most vulnerable young people

This case study tells the story of how collaboration between our specialist youth workers and targeted youth support workers can create sustained positive outcomes for vulnerable young people.

Katy had multiple barriers to learning, significant previous difficulties sustaining progress in education and training and was very unsettled emotionally and socially with an unstable home life.

Sheffield Futures youth worker, Ayesha had been working really hard to establish a positive relationship with Katy however she felt that support with education, employment and training would be really useful and set it up so joint specialist workers Ayesha and Lucy met with Katy together initially.

‘This went well, we got to know Katy’s hopes wishes and aspirations as well as trying to gain a more thorough understanding of her background, any learning needs and a holistic overview to inform the best choice of options.’ Says Lucy Ruck, Targeted Youth Support worker at Sheffield Futures.

‘Whilst the young person was saying that she wanted a “job” it was clear that she wasn’t job ready and whilst we encouraged her by updating her CV and giving ideas around job search I also talked to her about a wide range of options available including traineeships and other stepping stone courses.’ Lucy continues.

As a result, the joint effort resulted in appointments being made for two courses. ‘Katy needed a great deal of encouragement, phone calls, texts and e-mails as well as supporting to prepare and attend these interviews. This included engaging other agencies such as her social worker and advocating for support which was successful.’ Lucy says.

‘We both agreed that recognising the fine balance between encouraging Katy to be independent and responsible while at the same time supporting her to overcome her significant lack of confidence and the anxiety based upon previous negative experiences of education was essential.’

With much support (including wake up phone calls!) Katy started a four week course with the Princes Trust which she stayed on and passed! ‘She and we were delighted! It was clear that Katy had grown in confidence through this journey and it has given her a positive, consistent and sustained experience that will take her forward to a positive future.’

‘This is why we do this job, to see outcomes like this and it’s always so satisfying to be able to work collaboratively, pooling all of our skills and expertise to fight a young person’s corner and see them on a positive path.’ Says Lucy.

How you can support us:

Find out more about how youth work transforms lives by following our #YouthWorkMatters campaign on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters

Please visit to find out more about what we do and how you can support us with fundraising, volunteering or as an ambassador.


Youth Work Week 2018

Sadie White No Comments

It’s Youth Work Week 5th to 11 November and time to celebrate the varied ways our youth workers help young people from across the city.

Here we talk to Lydia James, a case worker in our child sexual exploitation service and throughout next week we will profile other youth workers in different service areas.

As you’ll see the roles are varied, but all focus on providing a holistic approach to stabilising the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people.

Lydia James, Case Worker – Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service

How important do you feel youth work is to the young people of Sheffield?

Youth work in my role is fundamental to recognising vulnerable young people and helping them to adjust their lifestyles or seek the help and support they need to get out of unsafe or risky situations and get onto a positive track. So really we are a safety net for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities, providing the stability and support they may not have encountered during their lives which has ultimately left them vulnerable to exploitation.

The day to day lives of vulnerable young people are very different to young people with “normal” lifestyles. Being a youth worker you are able to differentiate between the two and understand the difficulties/barriers vulnerable young people face. We provide young people with someone in their lives to act as an advocate, to be their voice in formal situations when they are unable to vocalise their needs and wants and to fight their corner and to be their eyes and ears in the professional arena.

What does your role as a youth worker involve?

I work in the child sexual exploitation team at Sheffield Futures. My role involves working one to one with young people who have been identified as at risk of exploitation. These one to one sessions with at risk young people focus on sexual exploitation as the core issue but also offer the holistic support that is often required, so for example, support with mental health, wellbeing, family support and making the correct referrals on to the correct services. I also provide support with attending appointments such as health, counselling, housing, education and sexual health. Other parts of the role involve advocating for young people at statutory meetings that involve social care, the police, education and the courts.

How do you help your team to achieve its positive outcomes for young people?

To really help vulnerable young people it takes a non-judgemental approach and the ability to flex your style to have informal as well as formal discussions with young people. Just being there when you are needed by the young person is also important as young people have often come from unstable backgrounds and providing a stable influence is important. This also plays into the importance of building a reputation with a young person as a service that delivers and supports their needs. Good listening skills and not dictating, instructing or lecturing them on their lives, as well as helping young people to make informed decisions, accept mistakes and move them forward to prevent making the same mistakes again.

It’s also really important to keep up to date with specialist knowledge on current trends and issues within Sheffield for example, knife crime, changes in substance use, hotspot areas and culture changes.

What do you think the challenges are for young people?

A big challenge for young people and for those with the role of supporting them is a general mistrust of services, sometimes as a result of negative experiences.

Lengthy waiting lists and the amount of time that it takes to gain an appointment can be a barrier to young people getting the help they need. Young people often ask for support when they need it right there and then- they find it difficult to pre-empt when they need support and often only ask when they are at crisis point.

And a big one for me is young people believing things cannot change – even if support is in place. Young people often have negative views of themselves/ cannot see a way out of situations/ cannot “see light at the end of the tunnel”.

Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service

How you can support us:

Find out more about how youth work transforms lives by following our #YouthWorkMatters campaign on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters

Please visit to find out more about what we do and how you can support us with fundraising, volunteering or as an ambassador.



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.