Tag Archives: Youth Sheffield

Youth Work Week 2019 blog: Safe and confident in their future

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 Shelly Burrell is a Youth Work Team Leader at Sheffield Futures. As part of Shelly’s role, she leads the delivery of Youth Sheffield, Sheffield’s city wide youth service. Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and confident and take part in enriching activities, keeping them safe and supported to make the most of their lives. For today’s #YWW19 theme, Shelly talks about how Sheffield Futures works to ensure young people in Sheffield feel ‘safe and confident in their future’.

Young people have the right to feel safe and confident in their future. Young people face many challenges and navigating their way through the teenage years can be difficult.

In today’s world, young people face intense pressure to perform at school, to conform in terms of self-identity, sexual identity, relationships and friendships. And on top of this, in recent times, young people have been exposed and left vulnerable to exploitation, intent on exploiting this period of instability in young people’s lives for their own financial gain.

Young people that are at risk of or are being exploited are given a false sense of direction and belonging, and exposed to danger that can tragically result in the loss of life through knife crime and other serious violence.

Tragically, child sexual exploitation is also a prevalent issue affecting the safety of our young people, where again, criminals are taking advantage of young people sexually who may be looking for friendship, direction or support.

Young people have the right to feel safe and to be protected from exploitation and at Sheffield Futures we strive to ensure this.

Young people are passionate about their future but are unsurprisingly anxious about what may lie ahead. More and more young people struggle with their mental health, with a huge increase in young people presenting with low mood, anxiety and depression. These issues, if left alone can result in the development of serious mental health issues. If we see young people presenting with these issues we can offer them support through our emotional health and wellbeing service Door 43 and other specialist services

With the changes in the PSHE curriculum, schools often don’t have enough time to teach many much needed life skills. Therefore youth work and youth work settings are one of the places were young develop life skills that equip them for adult life.

Youth workers build relationships with young people and offer a confidential safe space for them to access, where they will not be judged irrespective of race, sexual identify, gender, culture or beliefs.

A good way to think about our youth clubs is that they are a gateway for support. If we cannot offer the right support directly in our clubs and we identify a need, we will enable young people to access the specialist support we have on offer at Sheffield Futures and through our network of partners. For example, help with substance mis-use, sexual health, one to one support to get young people back on track, support to give young people a voice and emotional and wellbeing support.

As part of our enrichment activities and curriculum in the youth clubs, we deliver sessions that are young people led, addressing issues that matter to them and their futures such as knife crime, domestic violence, exploitation, relationships, cyber bullying, sexual health and mental health.

Informal learning in youth club settings encourages young people to be resilient, confident and to make better choices, which in turn makes them more safe and confident in their future.

Young people also get involved in the Sheffield Futures Young People’s Independent Advisory Group for South Yorkshire Police, where young people provide support to the police to help them shape their service on issues such as stop and search and retailers illegally selling to underage young people.

We hope that by offering Sheffield’s young people a safe space and surrounding them with enriching activities and a network of support, we can enable young people to feel safe, confident and able to go on and lead positive, fulfilled lives.

If you or a young person you know is experiencing any of the issues mentioned here and would benefit from support please reach out to Sheffield Futures. Tel 0114 2012800 or enquiries@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Find out more about your community youth club here.

Youth Work Week 2019 blog: Skilled and equipped to learn and earn

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Louise Ellison is the Deputy Services Manager here at Sheffield Futures. As part of Louise’s role, she manages the delivery of Youth Sheffield, Sheffield’s city wide youth service. Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and confident and take part in enriching activities, keeping them safe and supported to make the most of their lives. For today’s #YWW19 theme, Louise talks about how Sheffield Futures works to ensure young people in Sheffield are ‘skilled and equipped to learn and earn’.

In my experience it starts with creating the right environment. Bringing young people in and building trust, making young people feel valued by society and instilling belief that they have the potential to achieve and succeed, especially if they are low in confidence initially.

Our city-wide youth service Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and boosted, in a space physically and mentally where they are able to access their own potential to learn and earn. Like everything, the conditions need to be right for young people to grow and thrive.

The key to creating the right environment for this is investment in highly skilled and trained youth workers who can not only involve young people in enriching activities, but help keep them safe and inspire and support them to make the most of their lives.

Youth Sheffield is led by a team of youth work team leaders who coordinate a curriculum of activities, including sports, arts and life skills that draws upon the expertise of partners in communities around Sheffield. This curriculum is delivered across 20 youth centres, and through street based youth work, for those who are not able to access a club.

Through our work giving young people the tools to use their voice and influence through social action projects, for example with the #iwill Ahead partnership, we recognise the value and necessity of working with skilled organisations to deliver opportunities for our young people and welcome approaches from all interested parties in this capacity.

Once we feel young people are in a place where they are ready to access support, they are engaged in an age appropriate way to address specific learning or employment options. From here, young people are given access to one to one support to help them get back on track with work, training, education and to lead productive, independent lives. For example, school aged young people can access Sheffield Futures careers advice in school, and here at Star House and this support extends for those with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 25.

Youth workers are also so well placed to spot warning signs, when young people are at risk of losing direction in life. They might be missing school, work or being involved in anti-social behaviour in or outside school. The reasons for this can be complex but youth workers are able to work with young people to dig deeper and understand what’s going on at home and if there are problems with emotional health and wellbeing, like anxiety or other mental health conditions.

Lack of structure and a chaotic home environment can unsurprisingly really influence a young person’s ability to lead a productive life. Our targeted youth support workers provide bespoke practical and emotional support to cater to the complex needs of those at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training or those that already are. It’s a form of safety net. This support is available for all young people including some of the most vulnerable, for example those that have been living in care. There’s also one to one support available for young adults aged 20-24 who find themselves directionless as a result of mental health issues.

If you or a young person you know is experiencing any of the issues mentioned here and would benefit from support please reach out to Sheffield Futures. Tel 0114 2012800 or enquiries@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Find out more about your local community youth club here.

We launch our new approach to youth work ‘Youth Sheffield’

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Our charity has revamped the way youth services are offered across the city and raised £20,000 to kick start our new ‘Youth Sheffield’ programme.

Our team at Sheffield Futures currently leads up to 40 youth work sessions a week, funded by Sheffield City Council. With the Council’s support, our charity is now transforming the way it works with young people, but we need on going funding and help from the wider community to give young people the youth service they truly deserve.

Our CEO at Sheffield Futures, Gail Gibbons said: “‘Investment in youth work is needed more than ever after years and years of significant Government cuts to children and young people’s services nationally.

“We’re seeing, not only in Sheffield but across the country, major problems such as the rise in young people’s mental health issues, exploitation of vulnerable young people and associated violent crime.

“We believe that investment in highly trained youth workers, who can not only involve young people in enriching activities, but help keep them safe and inspire and support them to make the most of their lives, is key.”

The refreshed city-wide youth service, ‘Youth Sheffield’, will be led by a new team of youth work team leaders who will coordinate a curriculum of activities, including sports, arts and life skills. This curriculum will be delivered across 20 youth centres, and through street based youth work, for those who do not feel able to access a club.

Gail, said: “It’s so important that all young people, no matter their circumstances, are given the opportunity to access high quality youth provision. Sometimes that can mean engaging young people on their own territory, on their own terms, on the streets or in local parks for example.

“However, we hope that over time, we are able to bring more and more young people into our youth centres, but we can’t do this alone.

“To reach as many young people as possible, particularly those who are most in need, we must work closely with partners such as the Council, South Yorkshire Police and many of the other fantastic organisations we have in this city that have young people’s well-being firmly at their heart.”

As part of this work, Youth Sheffield plans to develop a new youth work network, known as Sheffield Youth Partnership, to provide support to other youth work organisations, to share information and resources, and upskill those who work with young people locally.

The £20,000 donation made by Sheffield Futures has launched the programme, but we’re looking for additional sources of funding to help expand and continue the work, as well as support from community organisations and volunteers.

Organisations and individuals that would like to collaborate and be part of the Sheffield Youth Partnership, or support Youth Sheffield can email youthsheffield@sheffieldfutures.org.uk for more information. We’d love to hear from you.

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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.