Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Children’s access to healthy food: The Food Foundation has released a report analysing Public Health England’s (PHE) Eatwell guide, finding that 3.7 million children in the UK live in households for whom a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable. Families earning less than £15,860 would need to spend 42% of after-housing income on food to meet the costs of the Government’s nutrition guidelines. The report calls for a national measurement of food insecurity in the UK.

Parental responsibility: guidance: The Department for Education has published guidance to help schools and local authorities in England understand and deal with issues relating to parental responsibility as recognised by education law, in particular in situations where parental responsibility can be confusing or unclear.

Young carers: Coram has published an evaluation of the Young carers in schools Programme, a free England-wide initiative delivered by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society aimed at improving the identification and support of young carers in schools.  The published report, A better relationship with learning: an evaluation of the young carers in schools programme, involved an online survey of 103 schools involved in the programme, 14 interviews with schools and other stakeholders, and two focus groups with young carers. Findings include: the introduction of the programme resulted in the identification of an increased number of young carers; 85% of schools reported that young carers were demonstrating increased wellbeing; 83% reported increased happiness and 83% reported increased confidence.

Mental health policy in England: The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on mental health policy in England. The briefing includes reference to services for children and young people.

Children and young people’s mental health networks: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced the creation of eight mental health networks to bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address mental health research questions including: health inequalities for people with severe mental ill health; social isolation; youth and student mental health; and domestic and sexual violence.

In the service of youth – making waves in youth work: This year’s Institute for Youth Work conference is taking place in Brighton on the 10th November, it will be an opportunity to both celebrate Youth Work Week and the conference theme: coastal youth work.  The conference is being co-hosted by the University of Brighton, and consequently one of the aims of the conference is to create a short paper on the unique nature of coastal youth work.

Suicide data from the UK and what does this mean for suicide prevention?  The latest data shows that there were 5,821 suicides registered in 2017 in the UK, and the number and rate has decreased for the third year in the row. The decrease has mainly occurred in men, and the picture is different for women with the number of suicides remaining stable. However, men still account for three quarters of all suicides. Also, rates are not uniformly decreasing for all groups of men; rates in some age groups are increasing, for example men aged 45-49.

Saying goodbye to students

When I worked in a local church, each year as our young people left for university we gave them a little goody bag.  In previous years it has included:

  • Pot Noodle
  • Bag for life
  • Pens
  • Post-it notes
  • Notebook
  • Corkscrew
  • Baked beans
  • Highlighters
  • First by Matt Carvel

Some of these were fairly useless and jokey presents, others had a more serious use and meaning to them but for us it is important that we marked this rite of passage as they left home for the first time.  We wanted our young people to know that as they left our youth ministry, as they left our little village on the edge of the New Forest and head out into the big wide world we still deeply cared for them.

As part of our goodbye we also ran an event for those going off to university for the first time where we ate lots of pizza, and chatted around topics such as accommodation, finance, lectures, friendships, relationships, social life, CU, church and more using a mixture of youth leaders and some 2nd and 3rd year students.  We had lots of feedback that this was a really helpful event giving lots of practical information and helping to deal with their fears and nerves.

With all our students we tried to keep in contact – over the first term we sent a couple of parcels to each of our students, and sent fortnightly emails keeping in touch with each of them.  We then followed this up with a Christmas social when they were all next be back together as a big group.

What do you do for young people leaving your youth ministry for university?

Digital Friendships of young people aged 8‐17 years

For Safer Internet Day 2018, the UK Safer Internet Centre commissioned an online survey of 2000 young people aged 8‐17 years, which was conducted by Censuswide.

The findings reveal how central technology is to young people’s relationship and the many different platforms they are using to interact with each other. It also highlights both the positive and negative role that technology can play in young people’s relationships and that whilst they are proactively helping to build a better internet, they also want support from the adults in their lives to do so.

  • Being online is key for many young people’s relationships, and they are using a number of different platforms to communicate.
  • Technology is changing the way young people are interacting with each other as well as their ideas of what constitutes a ‘good friendship’.
  • Young people have strategies to manage their online relationships but also want adults to support them when things go wrong.

Download the Digital Friendships Report and Executive Summary

 

Suicide in England and Wales increasing among young people

The Guardian reports on figures that show the overall the number of deaths by suicide among those age 10 to 19 in England and Wales has increased by 24 per cent from 148 deaths in 2013/14 to 184 tickets in 2015/16. The number of deaths by suicide in the same age category increased by 107 per cent from 2013/14 to 2015/16 in London itself.

The Brent Centre for Young People in north London under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act requested the information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The centre called for more investment in mental health services and education to prevent a “needless waste of young lives”.

Dr Maxim de Sauma, the chief executive of the centre, which supports more than 600 young people with mental health problems each year, said: “When young people with crippling or disabling mental health conditions are not given the support they need, it wastes lives.”

Read the full article here.

Christmas video 25: Christmas according to kids

What happens when you ask a bunch of kids to tell the story of Christmas? Enjoy this story of Bethle-ha-ha-ham and the magical star that appeared.

The natural humour of the children of Southland Christian Church describing the nativity story makes this an obvious video to show at your Christmas family service:

 

Christmas video 24: Christmas Starts with a Baby’s Giggle

The constant onslaught of Christmas advertising from October onwards can start to wear a little thin as we enter December. Something inside us knows that however lovely the advert featuring a snowman giving a gift to a unicorn is – or whatever this years iteration is – it’s not really what Christmas is all about.

Instead, here is a concise and creative away of sharing the crux of the Christmas message: two parents, one baby and a whole lot of love.

 

Christmas video 23: Nativity on the Overground

Accompanied by an indie-folk version of ‘In the bleak midwinter’, the traditional tale of the nativity is shown juxtaposed against the urban background of South-East London.

All Saints Peckham, a church in Southeast London, took to the iconic London Overground to stage this fun and experimental video.  Part flashmob, part timelapse, part street theatre, the goal was to retell the Nativity story with London as our backdrop.

Filmed (remarkably) in only one take on a fairly cold Saturday morning.

 

Christmas video 21: The Nativity in Sand

The Bible Society produced this video of sand artist Gert van der Vijver retelling the story of the Nativity in sand.  This is a great thing to watch in an all-age service:

 

Christmas video 20: The Scale and Morgan Freeman

This video, ‘The Scale’ is narrated by Morgan Freeman.  ‘The Scale’ leaves you wondering all the way through what he is talking about.  Only at the end to you get it, and yes it is very clever.  But more than that it is challenging and thought provoking too:

 

 

Best children’s Christmas story book

One of my favourite resources for the Christmas season is Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

Nicholas Allan writes and illustrates the nativity through the eyes of a grumpy inn keeper who is unexpectedly at the centre of Jesus’ birth.  The story follows him as he is woken up repeatedly by Mary and Joseph and guests visiting the newborn.

I first heard of the book when I was a child and it was used for a Sunday School drama to present the Christmas narrative to the whole church.  As a children’s and youth worker I’ve used it numerous times, be it with young pre-school children, older teenagers, or non-Christian adults.  The book is easy for people to follow and join in, and yet still allows for profounds truths to be taught.

It can be bought in a number of sizes – from A6 just to fit in the pocket and use to tell a large group of people, to a large A4 size which a class of children can crowd around and look at the pictures.