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Volunteering at a youth club #YWW17

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Rachel Javed

By volunteer Rachel Javed

How many times have you heard someone refer to young people as “the future”? This idea is repeated across politics, in the media and from one generation to the next, and yet crucial social and educational structures are increasingly hard to access. As a result, our young people face the dilemma of being considered “the future” without necessarily receiving vital support for their own.
This is where I think the youth clubs across Sheffield really come into their own. I volunteer at one and my first impression of the club still stands: a supportive and safe environment where young people from all backgrounds can socialise and relax. I’m lucky enough to live in the same area as the centre and being able to contribute to my local community in a positive way was one of my main reasons for getting involved. I haven’t been there for that long yet, but as faces become more familiar, I’m enjoying getting to know such a vibrant bunch of people. Whether the evening entails hearing about how someone is getting on with a new college course, discussing music videos on YouTube or (as seems to happen remarkably often) getting mercilessly thrashed at pool, no two sessions are the same. It’s impossible to predict how these interactions might develop and as the weeks go by, I’m really looking forward to building on these relationships. Hopefully, as someone slightly older, I can become a trusted figure whom these young people feel comfortable approaching for a chat, advice, or to share some laughs as they make the often hard transition from childhood to adulthood.

Youth Work Week is the perfect time to learn a bit more about the services that Sheffield Futures provides. I look forward to my sessions immensely and while the focus is always on providing the young people with positive experiences, I must admit that I get a great deal out of the exchange too. To anyone considering getting involved with youth work, I say do it!

Our impact on people in Sheffield City Region

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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

Give back to your local community!

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Young people from all over Sheffield have been getting together to give back to their local communities. You can get involved too! Our social action projects are one-off volunteering opportunities based all over Sheffield with one aim: to make a positive change.

Interested? Email us!

Find out more about what the team have done so far:

  • Woodthorpe Christmas Shoebox Appeal

Young people from Woodthorpe Youth Club were approached to assemble 17 shoeboxes to be donated to a local charity of their choice. The young people decided that the completed shoeboxes would be donated to St Swithens on the Manor which is their local foodbank, to be given to families who use the service with small children.

  • Beechy Knoll Care Home

Beechy Knoll is an old people’s residential home in the east of the city. The Royal Voluntary Service are working on the age better initiative in the city, and as part of this look at doing intergenerational activities and skill swaps. They identified a need to put up Christmas decorations in the home working together with residents.

The young people themselves engaged with the residents and supported them to put up and decorate a Christmas tree in one of the communal areas. As the room didn’t look very festive, one of the young people came up with the idea of making paper chains and another young person cane up with the idea of making snow flakes. Together, they made the paper chains and snow flakes and used them to decorate the room.

During their time at Beechy Knoll, the young people engaged in conversation with the residents learning all about their lives and providing the elderly people with some company. The event was a great success, the elderly residents asked if the young people were visiting again.

  • Parsons Cross Boxing Gym – Mural Wall

Parson Cross Boxing Gym is a local facility in the North of the city who approached Sheffield Futures Social Action Team to see if we could help improve the inside of their building. We met with the young people from the gym and discussed plans around creating a mural that represented diversity. We worked with another organisation who specialised in graffiti art to help make this project a success.

  • Wildcats Roller Skate Hockey – Fun Day

The Wildcats project are a voluntary organisation that aims to get young people active through Roller Hockey. The group provide the training at Concord Sports Centre. They approached Sheffield Futures Social Action Team to help them with their first ever fun day for young people across the city to get them to come and try roller hockey and to raise awareness of the organisation and its aims.

  • Westfield School – Garden Improvement

Westfield School approached the Sheffield Futures Social Action Team to work with some young people who found academic subjects hard, and for us to find a way to engage them based on similar interests. Westfield teamed up with Bents Green build new relationships within the schools and for them to work together to tidy the school garden and plant new fruit.

14 young people who attended Westfield School and some who also attended the Bents Green Hub spent a cold, windy and a little bit rainy day on Tuesday 18th October working together to help turn the unusable garden into a fully functional outside space which they could use for growing crops. The young people got involved in several tasks on the day, which included, pulling up weeds, pruning trees and building raised beds out of pallets and old wood. In volunteering their time, this further fostered positive relationships between the young people who attend the mainstream Westfield School, and the young people who attend the Bents Green hub by uniting them to achieve a common goal. The young people themselves gained confidence and further developed skills such as team work, communication, creativity, wood work, gardening and decision making skills.

  •  Tusaale Project –  Football Tournament

Tusaale Project are a voluntary organisation that have identified a need for their community to step up and increase the positive role models in the community. They approached Sheffield Futures Social Action Team to support them with a community cohesion project using sport as a positive tool. The aim of the event was to have some fun in the community but to raise awareness of the group.

  • Greater Somali Community Network (GSCN) – Litter Pick

GSCN are a homework club that support young people with homework tasks whilst also providing a safe space for the parents to meet. The young people from GSCN have been wanting to do a community litter pick around Sorby House to improve the area but didn’t have the resources to do this. Our social action team were able to provide these materials.

  • Rite Turn Community Centre

The Rite Turn Community Centre has been outdated and over grown for a while. Rite Turn approached Sheffield Futures Social Action Team as the centre needed a bit of a face lift and support with cleaning the surrounding overgrown area. Through the social action team we were able to provide volunteers and equipment to support this much needed centre.

  • Herdings Youth Club – Garden Project

Reach South Sheffield who are a community organisation who support and deliver sessions at Herdings Youth Club approached Sheffield Futures Social Action Team due their site being over grown and unable to use. They wanted to have a clear area to be able to have community days and have some open space on their grounds for the community to use.

Mental Health Awareness Week #mhaw17 with Sheffield Young Advisors

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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.” 

Twelve Days of Sheffield Futures!

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Sheffield Futures, showed they could rock around the Christmas tree by releasing a video of staff performing the Twelve Days of Christmas, with a charity twist!

The Marketing and Communications team and re-worked the song to celebrate successful activities raising funds to give Sheffield’s young people the future they deserve. Throughout the year Sheffield Futures run activities and campaigns aimed at giving young people education and employment opportunities, whilst also helping young people at risk in Sheffield. The local charity has done lots of vital youth service work over the last 12 months, so to finish of the year on a light-hearted note, they put on their Christmas hats and sweaters and showed that although they play a positive part Sheffield’s future, they may not have a future in music.

Whilst the harmonies may be few and far between, the Christmas spirit comes in bucket loads. You can see the full version of the video on the Sheffield Futures YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4-Jj63Oa58 and the video is also being released in 12 segments on social media until Christmas Eve. The song’s lyrics detail many of the ways that Sheffield Futures help young people to succeed, “Sheffield Futures gave to me life guidance for a better me!”

Nathan Peterson’s inspirational story (so far…)

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Nathan Peterson is a young ambassador for Sheffield Futures with an inspirational story. As a looked after child, Nathan didn’t have the easiest upbringing, and he has made it his mission to ensure that vulnerable people get the best they can out of life. He isn’t one to preach his sob story, though; in his usual humble manner, he summarised it as “Growing up in care, I just wanted to make a difference”.

Nathan was first introduced to Sheffield Futures as part of the permanence and throughcare service, where he became involved with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. In partnership with the trust, he ran a charity event at Old Sharrow Junior School, organising ample entertainment with DJ’s, bouncy castles and stalls. Attracting guests like the Lord Mayor, this event was a resounding success; it’s no surprise that he was invited to become an ambassador for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust as well as Sheffield Futures.

Nathan’s second event was organised to raise money for the Darnall Dementia Group, a charity close to his heart as they support his Nan. Nathan’s group brought together local football teams with members of the South Yorkshire Fire Service and South Yorkshire Police Officers for a fundraising five-a-side tournament. This well attended event had no entry fee, but managed to raise plenty of money for a good cause. There was something for everyone – football, cake stalls, bric-a-brac and ample catering.


Nathan’s involvement with this event inspired him down a new career path. Now employed as a care worker, Nathan found the 5-day intensive training process “Challenging” but rewarding: he said “Doing this course has made my life turn in a different direction. As well as supporting young people, I have decided to help older people as well.”

His latest project involves the Cathedral Archer Project, an appeal to give a homeless person a warm and loving Christmas. He is asking for donations of sleeping bags, rucksacks, blankets, underwear and socks, tinned or packeted food, hats, scarfs and gloves, which will be given directly to the people who need it most.

As Nathan was telling us his story, he got a phone call – while he politely offered to decline it, we told him we’d wait. It’s a good thing he took the call – it turned out to be a care centre offering him an interview.

Having contributed to the community as much in his 18 years as many do in a lifetime, we’re confident he’ll find a way to follow his passion of helping people. Alongside his aspirations to become a support worker, Nathan is looking into starting a charity alongside the group who helped run the events – so watch this space!

Nathan’s advice for all people, young or old, is “If an opportunity presents itself, don’t let it slide. Take them as they come.”

If you would like to become a Sheffield Futures Ambassador please contact us via ambassadors@sheffieldfutures.org.uk.


Santa Stroll charity walk!

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Join us for the Santa Stroll

Sunday 4th December – 1.30pm

A short charity walk to help give Sheffield’s young people the future they deserve. The round walk starts at the entrance to the driveway of Whirlowbrook Hall, up Limb Valley and back down Ringinglow Road and Ecclesall Road South. The walk is just over 4.5 miles long, perfect to walk off a Sunday lunch, or to work up an appetite!

All entrants will receive their own Santa hat, we’ll be having a festive sing-along, and after the walk there will be complimentary mulled wine and mince pies!

Register to attend on Eventbrite here! It costs £11.04 per adult and £10 of this will go to Sheffield Futures to help the young people of Sheffield to fulfill their full potential.

Registered charity no. 1044940

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I fundraise for Sheffield Futures?

You won’t need to ask for sponsorship for the Santa Stroll, you will only need to pay the entrance and administration fee. You can register here.

  • How can I register to join the Santa Stroll?

You can register online via Eventbrite, here. If you are unable to register online, please contact our Community Fundraiser, Elliot Walker: Elliot.walker@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

  • How many people can I register?

You can register up to 10 adults at once, if you are part of a larger group, please contact our Community Fundraiser, Elliot Walker: Elliot.walker@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

  • How much is the entrance fee?

Tickets for adults are £10 each with £1.04 administration fee. There are also family tickets available for 2 adults and up to 4 children. These are £25 with a £1.87 administration fee. All of the money raised will go towards helping young people in Sheffield to fulfil their full potential. Register here!

  • What happens once I’ve registered?

You will receive an email with FAQs and terms and conditions. On the day of the walk, we’ll see you at the driveway to Whirlowbrook Hall to give you your Santa hat, map and contact details.

  • What’s the latest date I can register?

You can register up to the day before the walk (Saturday 3rd December).

  • What are the maximum and minimum ages to take part?

Families are very welcome on the Santa Stroll, but an adult must accompany all children. There is no maximum age for our walk, however you must be sure that you are fit and healthy enough to complete the walk.

  • Is it up hill?

Well, we live in Sheffield so I’m afraid there is a hill at the beginning of the walk! However the scenery makes it all worth it and the rest of the Santa Stroll is downhill and flat.

  • How fit do I need to be?

As long as you have a basic level of fitness you should be able to walk the Santa Stroll. There will be fully qualified First Aiders on the walk to help with any unforeseen difficulties.

  • How long will it take me?

We estimate that it will take about 2 hours.

  • How do I get there?

Make sure you plan your route in advance! We would encourage people to arrive by bus. There are buses from Sheffield city centre, you can find out more here: http://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/journeyplanning.aspx There is a bus stop on Ecclesall Road South adjacent Limb Lane – this is the best one for the Santa Stroll.

There is also plenty of on-street parking available just off Ecclesall Road South.

  • Where do we meet?

We meet at the driveway entrance to Whirlowbrook Hall.

  • Can I drink alcohol on the route?

We urge participants to put safety first and not risk injury through intoxication.

  • What is the route for the Santa Stroll?

The round walk starts at the entrance to the driveway of Whirlowbrook Hall, up Limb Valley and back down Ringinglow Road and Ecclesall Road South. The walk is 4.6miles long.

  • Will there be toilets?

There are public toilets on the driveway to Whirlowbrook Hall. We recommend that these are used before the walk begins.

  • Can I bring my dog?

Of course! Dogs must be kept on leads and under control. We reserve the right to ask any participant to remove their dog from the event if we feel they pose a threat to others taking part in the walk.

  • What should I wear?

As the walk is in December, we recommend wrapping up warm as this is an outdoor event. We also recommend that you wear shoes/boots/welly’s that you don’t mind getting muddy, as the ground might not be dry.

  • Will the walk still be on if it’s raining?

Yes, we recommend that you bring an umbrella as the walk will still be going ahead!

  • I have more questions, who should I contact?

Community Fundraiser, Elliot Walker: Elliot.walker@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 2800

Volunteering helped Sheffield teen find her future career

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Volunteering at Sheffield Futures, was the starting point that helped local teen make positive changes in her life.

Nineteen year old Courtney Castledine was filled with excitement as we spoke to her on the first day of her new full time job at Talent Match Sheffield City Region. Courtney began volunteering at Sheffield Futures at the age of thirteen after a series of challenges at school. Sheffield Futures provides local young people with the support and opportunities that enable them to make positive choices in their lives.

Growing up, Courtney explained how she didn’t get on well at school: “I struggled with all sorts at school…I wanted to do the best I could but found it difficult.” Courtney’s school referred her to Sheffield Futures who have links with schools all across the city.

Courtney defines her mentors at Sheffield Futures as part of her family. Speaking fondly of her time volunteering, she describes how she got involved with art projects at the local youth clubs that Sheffield Futures run. She particularly enjoyed designing anti-bullying posters: “I was so passionate about designing the posters, helping other people was all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to use my experience to give something back and help other young people”

At age sixteen, after volunteering at the youth clubs, her mentor suggested she go for the role of Young Advisor at Sheffield Futures. Young Advisors are paid to help organisations make their services youth friendly. As part of Young Advisors, Courtney went on to win the National Young Advisors Impact Award. She stated: “Being a Young Advisor built up my confidence massively. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and talk to you if I didn’t have all the previous experience. I probably wouldn’t have got the job I have now.”

During Courtney’s time as a Young Advisor she applied for a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship through The Source, which helped her to secure her new full time job as an Admin Assistant for Talent Match Sheffield City Region. After completing the Apprenticeship Courtney has now been kept on and is helping to coordinate support for other young people aged between 18 – 24, looking to gain access to employment, education and training.

We can help you in many ways, from careers advice, to volunteering opportunities!

International Youth Day Celebration Event

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Join us for our fun day!We’re celebrating International Youth Day with a massive fun day for all the family! This fantastic family event is your chance to let down your hair and have some fun. This event is perfect for ages 8-18 (or up to 25 for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities).

You can take part in loads of exciting activities such as:

  • Rodeo Bull
  • Tug ‘o’ war
  • Information Stalls
  • Gladiators
  • Badminton
  • Penalty Shoot Out


Where? The Amphitheatre (behind the train station), Sheaf Street, S1 2BP

When? Friday the 12th August 2016, 12pm – 4pm

If you want to raise awareness for this fantastic cause, why not bring some friends along?

We look forward to seeing you all on the day!

Social action project at Stocksbridge Community Leisure

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Sheffield Futures’ social action project Sheffieldr enlisted young volunteers to brighten up Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre. The group gave the disabled entrance to the freshly opened swimming pool a much-needed lick of paint.

The Sheffieldr volunteering projects aim to make public spaces, youth clubs and other venues welcoming and attractive. Other projects have included giving a facelift to two community gardens, and helping to redecorate SHINE Health Academy, a charity for young people with weight and self-confidence issues.

Sarah Stevens, Involvement and Enrichment Manager at Sheffield Futures said: “We are so pleased to be able to offer social action projects to communities in Sheffield. Young people predominantly receive negative press, but we want to show that young people in our city have a lot to offer. We want to promote volunteering to young people and would encourage them to get involved with any future one-off volunteering days we have. There are so many benefits to volunteering, from team building and partnership working through to DIY skills!”

Young volunteer Isaac Hanson said: “I feel that it is really important, especially as a Member of Sheffield Youth Council, to give back to the communities that we live in. I feel very glad to have been able to help!”

Anita Grafton, volunteer at Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre said: “The team have made a vast difference by helping us! Everyone has done very well and we enjoyed having them. They’ve all cracked on and the work has been outstanding. It will really help us with re-opening and bringing young people to Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre.

Ella Johnson, a Member of Sheffield Youth Parliament, who helped to paint the leisure centre, said: “I originally had plans to do something else in half term but I changed them so that I could help to renovate Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre, I’m glad I did because it’s been a really great experience!”

Lee Hible, Sports Development Officer at Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre said: “It’s important to build community spirit and work in partnerships as we have been doing with Sheffield Futures. We hope that by getting Sheffield Futures volunteers helping at the centre, this will encourage more people to participate in our activities or help to run activities here!”

The Sheffieldr team are currently looking for opportunities to renovate community spaces and would love to hear from you. If you know of any community gardens that could do with tidying up, or a venue that needs a lick of paint, get in touch: sheffieldr@sheffieldfutures.org.uk or call: 0114 201 2754


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.