More than 2000 young people per year will benefit from youth services in South Gloucestershire, benefiting from support including mental health provision, access to creative activities and targeted support for LGBTQ+ young people.
Despite South Gloucestershire being, on the whole, a relatively affluent area, young people still experience deprivation, with 6500 children living in low income families. There are also over 4,800 children and young people aged 5-19 suffering from a diagnosable mental health problem in South Gloucestershire.
In this time of need, it is essential for the wellbeing of young people that they have safe spaces to build relationships with trusted youth workers, who can often be the rocks upon which wellbeing and prospects for young people are significantly improved.
In order to reach and support some of the most disadvantaged young people in the region, South Gloucestershire Council has awarded contracts to four charitable organisations: Creative Youth Network, Southern Brooks Community Partnership, Learning Partnership West and the Diversity Trust CIC.
The partnership will provide youth clubs, sports, arts, mental health support, creative activities, support for young people to get back into education, employment or training.
Sandy Hore-Ruthven, CEO of Creative Youth Network said:
“We are pleased to be working with South Gloucestershire Council to deliver much needed support to young people. We know that building relationships with young people is key to supporting them through difficult periods of their lives and giving them opportunities they might not otherwise have. South Gloucestershire Council are investing in their young people and we’re excited to bring our expertise even further into the area”.
Julie Close, CEO of Southern Brooks Community Partnerships said,
“We are pleased that the youth partnership has been succesful in securing this funding for work with young people. Partners have been working together for several years to make sure that services for young people continue in South Gloucestershire and we are fortunate to have a local authority that invests in this important work. Southern Brooks will be working with Krunch in Thornbury, Bradley Stoke Town Council, Creative Youth Network and FACE to make sure there is great provision for young people in those areas”
Rachel Robinson, CEO of Learning Partnership West, said,
“We’re really delighted to be joining the youth partnership work in South Gloucestershire. LPW brings a wealth of experience and expertise in supporting young people to have fun, overcome barriers and experience opportunities. It’s great to see South Gloucestershire Council continuing to invest in young people’s services and we look forward to hearing from young people and delivering great work with our partners”.
The partnership brings a wealth of experience and aims to improve the lives of thousands of young people, ensuring they have improved mental health and wellbeing, engagement in physical activity and healthy eating, minimising drug and alcohol use, and a clear route to employment and training, so young people are participating and engaging in their local communities.
Activities led by experienced and trained staff will be available for young people every night of the week through local youth centres. There will also be some outreach provision to enable the organisations to respond to emerging local needs, such as anti-social behaviour.
The partnership will also ensure some of the most vulerable young people across South Gloucestershire will have access to safe spaces through the Diversity Trust’s provision for LGBTQ young people. The collective will also reach young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilites through working in partnership with FACE (Foundation for Active Community Engagement), who bring over 30 years experience and expertise.
Berkeley Wilde, Director of the Diversity Trust said, “We are really pleased that South Gloucestershire Council has recognised the specific needs of LGBTQ young people. Whilst many young people are able to access the support of our partners through their youth clubs we know from our own research, and from what LGBTQ young people tell us, they find specialist LGBTQ youth spaces really important and supportive environments. As well as providing a safe space to get information and support they also provide a place for LGBTQ young people to be themselves in a world that can sometimes be hostile to LGBTQ people. We know this hostility can negatively impact upon young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We are really pleased to be working with our partners to bring an increased specialist service to the South Gloucestershire area.”
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Cllr Jon Hunt said:
“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with our colleagues from the Voluntary and Community Sector to continue to deliver high quality youth work opportunities for young people in South Gloucestershire. We have all worked really hard together to ensure there is a smooth transition for young people and for colleagues who are moving to the new providers, and we are confident that this agreement will enhance the youth work offer across the district. It is positive that in challenging times that we are all able to work together for the benefit of young people and we look forward to developing these partnerships so that young people can continue to have the opportunities and benefits of access to trusted adults which youth work provides”