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Ambassadors

World Poetry Day: Poems to inspire and motivate

Sadie White No Comments

This World Poetry Day Vicky Morris, Writer, Educator & Creative Practitioner and one of our valued supporters and collaborators has kindly recommended a few poems to inspire, motivate and take from them what you will. Enjoy.

 

 

Introducing pro Boxer Muma Mweemba as our new ambassador

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Professional Boxer Muma Mweemba is on board here at Sheffield Futures as one of our new ambassadors. Passionate about Boxing’s ability to give young people an aim and a purpose, Muma has come forward to offer his precious time and money earned through boxing to help us connect with young people that may benefit.

‘In my personal experience, Boxing is a brilliant sport for increasing confidence and self-esteem in young people as well as developing social and communication skills.’ says Muma.

‘I see evidence of the benefits of Boxing for young people all the time. Young people who have often come from really unstable and difficult situations, who get so much focus, drive and ambition from Boxing. It gives you a focus and it’s so good for physical and mental health, social skills, developing techniques for self control and it’s a sport accessible to everyone.’ he continues.

We’re really pleased to have someone as motivated and inspiring as Muma on board as one of our ambassadors.

Our ambassadors play a fundamental role in raising awareness and support for our charity and the services we provide for young people across the region. They also play a role in inspiring our young people to make positive life changes.

Whatever your background, if you feel like you have life experience, skills or a position that may help us to engage young people with our services, make valuable connections with funders and decision makers or help to raise our profile in the region then please do get in touch.

 

Celebrating our inspirational new female supporters on International Women’s Day

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Introducing our two new inspiring female supporters to celebrate International Women’s Day, Liz Byrnes, one of only around 12 female sports reporters in the country and Sophie Maxwell, director and founder of The Really NEET Project, a social enterprise with the purpose of opening up opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them to realise their dreams.

‘You can never aim too high.’ Said Sophie Maxwell to a group of young people sat intently listening to her at the Door43 Wellbeing Café this week.  ‘I’m passionate about driving positive change. So many young people get caught up in the chaotic nature of life and stray off track from reaching their potential. I believe with the right mentor and support anything is possible, the world is limitless!’ Says Sophie.

Sophie founded Really NEET with less than 20 pounds in her back pocket and has built a team of 11 passionate and dedicated staff members that go above and beyond in helping some of society’s most disadvantaged young people to believe and achieve in their education.

Sophie had many challenges along the way. ‘I have not just had to learn about running a business but also how to successfully hit difficult educational targets. Running the Really NEET Project is also quite an emotional role, you are working with young people who have been through extremely difficult circumstances, some have been abused, some have been to prison, many are homeless, some have come through the care system and many of them are suffering from mental health issues and/or learning difficulties. Every day brings a new challenge, whether it is finding funding, managing staff and ensuring their welfare, finding young people emergency accommodation, taking young people to engage with mental health services, designing the curriculum, delivering training, writing Tenders, developing strategies, liaising with stakeholders and many other elements to the role what I can say is that I have learnt so much in such a short amount of time.’ She says.

Liz Byrnes is one of around 12 female sports reporters in the UK which is not only testament to the under representation of women in this field but also paints a picture of how difficult it might seem to break into this profession to a young woman considering sports journalism as a career. Liz has carved out a successful career for herself on the national and international stage and feels it important to pass on her experiences as a female sports reporter and thriving in a world which is overwhelmingly male. Liz is also keen to point out the importance of information, advice and support gained from a mentor she had from a former Star/Telegraph editor and how without this support she may never have ended up where she is.

‘Many people are surprised when I tell them what I do and often ask about sexism within football in particular but I would like to pass on the importance of backing yourself, self-belief and persistence. The rewards I have had are enormous – I have met some great people and travelled all over the world – and I want young people to know that these roles and possibilities are out there, that we are not just faceless people from a certain walk of life, that these jobs are for them. I am passionate that everyone should have access and chances and I would like provide the sort of support and help that I had. I also want to convey that you can follow your heart and passion and that there is not just one firm way to live your life that is set in stone.’ Says Liz.

‘I struggled for quite a long time finding out what I wanted to do in life and how to go about it. I lost all confidence and felt that I would not fit in anywhere or be able to succeed. This was despite being well-qualified. I eventually chose to re-train as a journalist and I was encouraged and helped by one person in particular, a former Star/Telegraph editor in Sheffield.’

‘I fully appreciate the importance of being given practical help and advice as well as friendly support. I work across a number of sports including football where I am very often the only woman in the press room. When I first started out I felt that I had to prove myself although as I have become established and gained more experience, this has dissipated. However, I can understand that it could be overwhelming.’ Liz continues.

We’re so grateful to have such inspirational women supporting us and helping us to inspire and engage young people with the supportive services we provide.

 

 

Inspirational women tell us their stories this National Careers Week

Sadie White No Comments

Last night’s Door43 Café at Star House saw a National Careers Week take over with two of our inspirational female ambassadors Sophie Maxwell of The Really NEET Project and Liz Byrnes, sports reporter telling young people their life stories and careers journeys, along with their top tips for navigating the journey.

‘You can never aim too high.’ says Sophie Maxwell to a group of young people sat intently listening to her. Sophie is a very engaging and inspiring individual and the founder of The Really NEET Project, a social enterprise with the purpose of opening up opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them to realise their dreams.

“I’m passionate about driving positive change. So many young people get caught up in the chaotic nature of life and stray off track from reaching their potential. I believe with the right mentor and support anything is possible, the world is limitless!” says Sophie.

Sophie founded Really NEET with less than 20 pounds in her back pocket and has built a team of 11 passionate and dedicated staff members that go above and beyond in helping some of society’s most disadvantaged young people to believe and achieve in their education.

Sophie had many challenges along the way. ‘I have not just had to learn about running a business but also how to successfully hit difficult educational targets. Running the Really NEET Project is also quite an emotional role, you are working with young people who have been through extremely difficult circumstances, some have been abused, some have been to prison, many are homeless, some have come through the care system and many of them are suffering from mental health issues and/or learning difficulties. Every day brings a new challenge, whether it is finding funding, managing staff and ensuring their welfare, finding young people emergency accommodation, taking young people to engage with mental health services, designing the curriculum, delivering training, writing Tenders, developing strategies, liaising with stakeholders and many other elements to the role what I can say is that I have learnt so much in such a short amount of time.’ She says.

Liz Byrnes is one of around 12 female sports reporters in the UK which is not only testament to the under representation of women in this field but also paints a picture of how difficult it might seem to break into this profession to a young woman considering sports journalism as a career. Liz has carved out a successful career for herself on the national and international stage and feels it important to pass on her experiences as a female sports reporter and thriving in a world which is overwhelmingly male. Liz is also keen to point out the importance of information, advice and support gained from a mentor she had from a former Star/Telegraph editor and how without this support she may never have ended up where she is.

‘Many people are surprised when I tell them what I do and often ask about sexism within football in particular but I would like to pass on the importance of backing yourself, self-belief and persistence. The rewards I have had are enormous – I have met some great people and travelled all over the world – and I want young people to know that these roles and possibilities are out there, that we are not just faceless people from a certain walk of life, that these jobs are for them. I am passionate that everyone should have access and chances and I would like provide the sort of support and help that I had. I also want to convey that you can follow your heart and passion and that there is not just one firm way to live your life that is set in stone.’ Says Liz.

‘I struggled for quite a long time finding out what I wanted to do in life and how to go about it. I lost all confidence and felt that I would not fit in anywhere or be able to succeed. This was despite being well-qualified. I eventually chose to re-train as a journalist and I was encouraged and helped by one person in particular, a former Star/Telegraph editor in Sheffield.’

‘I fully appreciate the importance of being given practical help and advice as well as friendly support. I work across a number of sports including football where I am very often the only woman in the press room. When I first started out I felt that I had to prove myself although as I have become established and gained more experience, this has dissipated. However, I can understand that it could be overwhelming.’ Liz continues.

Our information, advice and guidance team are here at Star House Monday to Friday for young people to drop in and gain careers advice and support every day 9-5 Monday to Thursday and 10-4 on Friday. You can find  more information here.

 

 

 

 

Student Volunteering Week: Inez’s story

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Inez Lau is a final year student at the University of Sheffield and has been volunteering with us throughout her time in Sheffield. As it’s Student Volunteering Week we’re celebrating all of our valued volunteers and telling their stories about how they help Sheffield’s young people.

Inez’s Story

I’m Inez, a final year Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. I first heard about the work of Sheffield Futures when I was volunteering in one of their youth clubs. This was an opportunity I secured through Sheffield Volunteering, the University’s community volunteering service that helps students to make an impact in the City run by the Student’s Union.  As well as volunteering I’m also a youth ambassador for Sheffield Futures.

I’ve had a great year so far in terms of volunteering with Sheffield Futures as I’ve had the chance to attend charitable events, promote youth development in Sheffield, both online and in person to my university friends. My view is that children and young people are key to the success of the City and that’s why I’m proud to be working in support of Sheffield Futures. Volunteering and acting as an ambassador for Sheffield Futures has also really helped me to understand more about the culture of the City and understand more about the different communities.

Volunteering with local charities is a big part of my university life and it’s helped me to reach outside of the University bubble and settle in the City. Sheffield is a city with great potential and I reckon we should all go beyond the campus and explore what it’s offering to us. I encourage all students to volunteer within local communities and get the most out of our university life.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador support

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Ambassador support

Our ambassadors play a fundamental role in raising awareness and support for our charity and the services we provide for young people across the region. They also play a role in inspiring our young people to make positive life changes.

Here are some of the ways our current ambassadors get involved and support us. As you can see, support is broad ranging and there are lots of ways you can get involved.

  • Tell inspirational personal stories at awareness events and inspire young people to aspire and achieve
  • Offer skills and experience to raise awareness of the charity and its services for young people e.g. event hosting
  • Use social media channels to raise awareness of our services for young people & our fundraising efforts
  • Inspire friends, family, work colleges and others in their networks to volunteer or support us
  • Fundraise for us by holding or attending events
  • Use sporting / professional skills to host activities at our youth clubs with young people e.g. Boxing coaching
  • Contribute financially to a particular project or area of support
  • Introduce us to potential partners and supporters

If you are currently an ambassador, thinking about becoming an ambassador or have ideas you want to float with us please do get in touch.

Sheffield Futures partners with GB Boxing

Tash Bright No Comments

Today Sheffield Futures celebrates the beginning of an exciting partnership with GB Boxing.

GB Boxing, based at the English Institute of Sport, prepares and trains the boxers that compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

The three year partnership will focus on the use of boxing as a tool to bolster Sheffield Futures’ community involvement work and to inspire Sheffield’s young people to achieve wider personal development through sport. There will also be a fundraising element to the partnership.

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

Commenting on the partnership, Gail Gibbons, CEO at Sheffield Futures comments, ‘In our experience, boxing has been shown to be an instrumental sport for increasing confidence and self-esteem in young people as well as developing, health, social and communication skills, so this partnership is a natural fit for us.’

‘We’re so excited to have been chosen by GB Boxing as a charity partner and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to help even more young people through a sport which we know from experience, will resonate strongly with Sheffield’s young people.’

Matt Holt, Chief Executive, GB Boxing said: ‘GB Boxing has been based in Sheffield for 10 years now and we felt it was important for us to do something to support the city in the same way that it has supported us, so decided to established a partnership with a local charity.

‘We spoke to a range of organisations and the thing that impressed us most about Sheffield Futures was that the work it does is so aligned with the boxing and the social benefits the sport delivers.  Sheffield Futures is all about inspiring people, personal development through sport and giving every young person an opportunity to succeed, no matter how difficult their lives have been.  This reflects the experiences of many of our squad and is in-tune with the ethos of boxing and everyone at GB Boxing is very much looking forward to working with Sheffield Futures on a range of activities to spread the benefits of the sport to young people and communities across the city.’

Young people from Sheffield Futures and Empire Boxing were given the opportunity to launch the partnership with a visit to the GB Boxing training facility at EIS Sheffield. Many of the young people Sheffield Futures work with have not seen live sports before, let alone take a tour around the training facilities, met the athletes themselves and ask questions about how to take their own careers forward. We hope this will be the first visit of many!


James’ story

James, 17, from Sheffield was going down the wrong track, getting involved in anti-social behaviour and putting himself and others at risk until boxing helped set him on the right path towards a positive future.

‘Me and my mates were spending a lot of time hanging around on the streets and in local parks after school, getting up to no good as we were bored.’ he says. ‘We’d do stupid things like cause a mess and too much noise and we ended up drinking and smoking for something to do more than anything.’ he continues. ‘We’d often end up getting into fights between ourselves and with others, which I now see as really stupid, irresponsible and weak.’

James and his friends spent some time talking to a Community Youth Team worker at Sheffield Futures who introduced them to their local youth club. It was whilst at youth club that James was introduced to a boxing scheme that was being run to help young people learn the importance of discipline and self-control as well as get fit and healthy.

‘I was really excited about the thought of boxing.’ James decided to go along to the next group boxing activity to see how things were run and watch others get involved. ‘I was really encouraged by what I saw – I was expecting lots of really tough, seven foot men but what I saw wasn’t like this at all. There were women and men getting involved of all abilities, shapes and sizes. My mentor talked to us about boxing being about more than strength – that it was about exercising self-control and managing anger and aggression.’ ‘It made me think.’ he says.

James and a couple of his friends did have a go, in fact they’ve never looked back. ‘It’s opened a whole new world up to me he says. Somewhere to go and learn skills, it’s been great for me in terms of learning to respect my body, eating properly and not drinking.’

‘When you feel fit from exercise you don’t want to pollute your body with rubbish food and booze.’ In fact, the exercise made me feel so good, I didn’t need to drink or take drugs to alter my state of mind.’ Looking back I can see this.

‘But more than anything it’s helped me feel valued and confident and has given me the ability to control my aggression when I feel angry rather than lashing out and getting into trouble.’

‘I’d recommend getting involved in boxing to anyone who wants to feel better about themselves and gain self-control and confidence. It’s really changed my life.’

Our impact on people in Sheffield City Region

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield Futures has proudly launched their annual Impact Report, demonstrating the ways in which thousands of people are benefitting from their services across the city.

The report for 2016/17 documents Sheffield Futures impact on young people, including supporting 3827 young people through one-to-one interventions and running 54 youth club sessions per week across Sheffield. The charity has presented 369 young people with Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and supported 816 young people to improve their attitude towards school. Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service have provided Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness training to 1093 young people in schools across the city region.

The charity provides mentoring and specialist support to those who need it most in the region. Sheffield Futures provide support and activities to help steer young people towards a more positive future, one in which they can fulfil their full potential in learning, employment and life.

The report was launched at Sheffield Futures Showcase Event on 18th July at the Workstation. At the event, four videos were shown, demonstrating how all Sheffield Futures services provide support to local people in four key areas: improved social skills, life skills and independence; enabling community participation and belonging; meaningful progression in education, employment and training and improved health and wellbeing.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Anne Murphy, launched the Showcase Event said: “Sheffield Futures have a huge impact on the lives of young people and communities in Sheffield. Today’s communities face many challenges and Sheffield Futures work is vital to helping local people overcome the barriers to success.”

Olympian, and Sheffield Futures Ambassador, Bryony Page, attended the event as well as Sheffield Young Advisors who were part of a “youth takeover” of all Sheffield Futures social media accounts. One young person on the Talent Match programme, Laura, told her story, from homelessness through to successfully sustaining employment. Young Advisor, Jess Chittenden, recorded a video where she talks about how Sheffield Futures have helped her to gain confidence and to become the person she is today.

The Impact Report 2016/17 is available on the Sheffield Futures website: https://www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Impact-Report-201617-small.pdf

Mental Health Awareness Week #mhaw17 with Sheffield Young Advisors

Tash Bright No Comments

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked young people what made good mental health practitioners.

This is what they said:

You can find more of our videos on YouTube. Just search for ‘Sheffield Futures’

 

On Monday, at our Festival of Debate event #MakeYourMark young people told us that they believe “mental health needs to be taken more seriously.” 

“I have severe anxiety and I struggle to speak to people. I keep myself to myself and let all my frustration out when I get home. I wish that people knew I was suffering, that would help me to open up.”

It was discussed that young people would like to speak about mental health in schools: “I think that Mental Health Awareness should be taught in schools, perhaps through role-playing exercises at least once a term so that people know about it and know how to help others.”

The group believed that: “There needs to be more support for young people and a place to go if you’re stressed about exams.”

Some young people felt thatMental health services are stretched to capacity.”

One young person said: “Everyone should be treated the same, including people with mental illness – they should be told off when they say something mean and doing mean things.”

It was felt that there is not enough awareness in schools and that “Mental illness should be as important or visible as physical illness. If someone’s off for a broken arm, when they come back people are loving, if you’re off with mental health problems then people don’t know how to act around you.” 

Ambassador Inspires the Next Generation of Young Women

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, 8th March, Sheffield Futures has announced their latest Youth Ambassador, Kavita Donkersly, founder of the formidable blog – She Wears Fashion.

Hailing from Sheffield, 24-year-old blogger Kavita is proud to be a Youth Ambassador as she is a strong advocate for inspiring young people to follow their passion like she did.

Kavita said: “I started my blog because I’d just moved schools and I basically had no friends. I was really lonely and I wasn’t particularly fashionable but I felt like there was a community online that understood me and I found creativity that I never realised I had. I’d always been very academic at school and you’re pushed to be very academic, especially because you want to get good grades. Doing my blog meant that I had an outlet and I could be creative.”

Kavita’s blog, She Wears Fashion has gone on to become one of the top fashion blogs in the UK. As a Youth Ambassador Kavita hopes to pass on her skills and experience to the young people that Sheffield Futures support across the Sheffield region and she will be hosting social media workshops at Sheffield Futures youth clubs this year. National Careers Week is also currently taking place and Kavita thinks that young people need to be given the chance to change their minds and discover what they want to do.

Kavita says:When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer because my dad was a lawyer. I also wanted to be a singer or an actress when I was younger until I realised I couldn’t sing…and I couldn’t act. My blog started as a hobby. For three years I did it because I loved it and it was a way to be creative. When you start something, you should never just expect it to take off overnight. I worked part time in a retail job I hated, so I could save money until I could blog full time. When I first got paid for blogging, I realised I could turn this into a career because my blog was becoming popular. I was really passionate about it and I never gave up. Even if it was just me and my mum reading the blog it was still important to me because I believed in it. It humbles me so much to know that it turned into a job that I love and I wake up everyday and I love it.”

Before she turned twenty, Kavita had never left the country. In the last four years as her blog has taken off, she has had the chance to visit 42 countries. She has been invited to attend fashion week events all over the world. She has met Rihanna and Katy Perry and has collaborated with brands such as H&M, Lacoste and Miss Selfridge. With so much success it may be surprising to find out that even Kavita sometimes still doubts herself.

“Everyone doubts themselves whether you’re in a job like mine or whether you’re in a normal nine to five. You always question whether you’re going down the right path. I never thought I would do something in fashion. Sometimes other people’s opinions of me when they find out I do fashion makes me doubt myself. At the end of the day, as much as I love my job, if it ended up not being a job anymore because people didn’t care anymore, I know I could throw myself into something else. I think a lot of people look at my job and think it’s the best job in the world. I get to travel the world, I get free clothes but one of the worst things about my job is the online hate. There’s always someone who doesn’t like you whether you’re the best person in the world or the worst person in the world. You could be the nicest, most beautiful person and people will still call you horrible things, so you might as well just be yourself.

Building her own brand for the last eight years from scratch has meant that she has had to remain focused. There are many people who inspire here to keep motivated. Kavita explains: “I have to get up everyday and produce content. Weekends aren’t a thing. My job is all the time. There are other women in the industry that really inspire me but the people who inspire me the most are people who have businesses and that have started from nothing. I try not to get to the point where I look up to someone so much that I end up not feeling good enough. I think blogging is hard and a very female orientated industry. I think the media does a lot to make women feel like they should compete with each other and that they’re not good enough, so I try to avoid doing that to myself.“

Kavita wants to encourage young people who are not sure what they want to do after school to visit Sheffield Futures at their Division Street one-stop-shop for support and guidance from their qualified staff. Sheffield Futures also run Careers Clinics in schools across the Sheffield region support young people into employment, further education and training opportunities. As a Sheffield Futures Youth Ambassador Kavita hopes to inspire young people to explore their career options and to try not to feel pressured and stressed about their futures.

“For people who don’t know what they want to do after school, I’d say don’t just do a degree because you feel like you have to. I think if you really don’t want to go to university because you don’t know what you want to do, get a job, graft a little bit. Take some time to figure out what you want to do. No one knows what they want to do at 18, I didn’t”, said Kavita.

Visit www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/careers-advice/ or contact 0114 201 2800 to see how Sheffield Futures can help you. Please email ambassadors@sheffieldfutures.org.uk if you would like to become a Sheffield Futures Ambassador.

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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.