Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

How do we help young people to pray?: Joel Goodlet has written a great blog on the need to stop sending out the invitation to ‘try prayer’ and find a way instead to encourage our young people to devote themselves to prayer.

Hugh Hefner Wrecked My Life. . . Sort Of. . .: Walt Mueller blogs on the cultural impact that Hugh Hefner had.

If you have not read the Nashville Statement, please don’t: Steve Holmes nails it, on how the Nashville Statement is framed to try to make us take sides, and the loudest responses have been similarly framed.

The Annual Bullying Survey 2017: the fifth and largest edition of our yearly benchmark of bullying in the United Kingdom. Ditch the Label, the anti-bullying charity, surveyed over 10,000 young people aged 12-20 in partnership with schools and colleges from across the country.

Regular Energy Drink Use by Young Adults May Hike Risk of Substance Abuse: A new study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers suggests young adults who regularly consume highly caffeinated energy drinks may be at risk for future substance use.

Get £10,000 to help the environment

Environmental issues are already presenting challenges to how we live, but what are we doing about it? Digital technology can help create solutions and lead us to a greener, better world. As a generation, we have the innovation, skills and passion to drive positive change, so we want you to get thinking about the environmental problems we all face, and how digital tech can help solve them.

If you have got an idea to help the environment, such as improving energy efficiency, reducing waste or increasing recycling, and you are aged between 17 and 24, then you could apply for up to £10,000 from The Environment Now to bring your idea to life!

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ENVIRONMENT NOW?

 

The Environment Now  funds young people’s ideas to tackle energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, using the power of tech. Successful applicants get £10,000 to develop their idea over 10 months, as well as mentorship, work experience and insight days with industry professionals. It’s funded by O2 and the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund through the Our Bright Future programme, and managed by the National Youth Agency.

If you feel inspired to tackle environmental problems with digital tech, the next deadline for project applications is looming – 14 November . You can find out more and apply for an Environment Now grant of £10,000 here.

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS CAN GET FUNDING?

If you have an idea of how digital technology could help the environment, The Environment Now want to hear from you!

They’ve already funded projects like…

LettusGrow: a company on a mission to reduce food waste around the world through soil-free gardening.

Filamentive: a 3D printing filament business that needs money for experimentation, research and development into new recycled and recyclable materials.

Virtually There:  an app that will contain different virtual reality experiences highlighting the impact of global warming, waste and deforestation.

For more information on other projects The Environment Now have already funded, take a look here.

HOW CAN I APPLY?

Applications for funding are open until 14th November. Go to The Environment Now website to read the full criteria and apply for funding!

If you have any questions about funding or Thinkspiration events, you can contact the team at The Environment Now here.

Young Britons living in ‘suspended adulthood’

Despair, worries about the future and financial pressures are taking a toll on millions of young Britons, according to a poll which found young women in particular were suffering.

young-adults

Low pay and lack of work in today’s Britain are resulting in “suspended adulthood”, with many living or moving back in with their parents and putting off having children, according to the poll of thousands of 18 to 30-year-olds.

Large numbers describe themselves as worn down (42%), lacking self-confidence (47%) and feeling worried about the future (51%).

The Young Women’s Trust, the charity that commissioned the research and polling, warned that Britain was facing a “generation of young people in crisis” as it called on the government to take steps including creating a minister with responsibility for overall youth policy.

Young women are being particularly affected. The percentage of women reporting that they lacked self-confidence was 54%, compared with 39% of young men.

While four in 10 young people said they felt worn down, the percentage for young women was 46% compared with 38% of men. One in three said they were worried about their mental health, including 38% of young women and 29% of young men.

 

Why are young people drinking less alcohol?

Girl drunk on bench

There was a fascinating article published in New Statesman about how young people are drinking less and that individual alcohol consumption in Britain has declined sharply.

Whenever horrific tales of the drunken escapades of the youth are reported, one photo reliably gets wheeled out: “bench girl”, a young woman lying passed out on a public bench above bottles of booze in Bristol. The image is in urgent need of updating: it is now a decade old. Britain has spent that time moving away from booze.

Here’s some useful facts pulled from the article:

  • In 2013, the average person over 15 consumed 9.4 litres of alcohol, 19 per cent less than 2004.
  • As with drugs, the decline in use among the young is particularly notable: the proportion of young adults who are teetotal increased by 40% between 2005 and 2013.
  • 80% of adults are making some effort to drink less
  • There are 13% fewer pubs in the UK than in 2002.

4Youth hosting Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Practice in 2016

4youthLogo

4Youth are hosting a Level 3 course in Youth Work Practice, commencing in January 2016, in Eastleigh.

This is a great opportunity to gain a national recognised qualification with JNC, delivered locally in Hmpshire.  The closing date for applications is 12pm, Monday 11th January 2016.

The course is for youth workers who are already working in a youth work environment in a supportive, surpervisory or managerial role with at least 2 years’ experience in a youth work or informal education setting.

4Youth Level 3 Certificate

Download the Learner Information Pack

Download an Application Form

Download the Placement Provider Form

Institute for Youth Work recruiting Council members

iyw

The Institute of Youth Work are recruiting new leaders for their Council:

Do you have the drive and the skills to be a leader in the Youth Sector?

Could you give your organisational skills to a cause that supports many hundreds of Youth Workers?

Are you ready to give support to our profession at a national level?

The Institute for Youth Work is being run by unpaid individuals who have been elected from the membership to form a Council as well as skilled co-opted volunteers, supporting with a range of expertise that have helped the organisation to grow and take its first steps over the last couple of years.

In the New Year we will be looking to hold more elections to bring fresh members to the IYW Council, if you are interested to find out more about what this would entail please drop me an email on adam@iyw.org.uk.

In the meantime, if you feel that you have time and skills that you could offer to the Council as a co-optee we are now accepting expressions of interest using the online form here

Christmas assembly: Highly favoured

Christmas decorations red

Here’s a copy of the assembly I did last year at our local special secondary school:

Take a look at the screens:

[youtube id=”QXgH8ZIz9jQ” width=”580″ height=”337″]

Christmas in a Nutshell is that God showed up in our neighbourhood so we would know who the eternal God is and what he’s really like.

There are two types of people – those who love Christmas and those who struggle with Christmas.  This year we’re in a credit crunch Christmas.

The word I think that sums up Christmas is “Favour”.

Sometimes when Christmas comes we don’t feel favoured at all.  We see how everyone else is doing and they have their perfect family, but our family needs a UN resolution to get everyone in the same room, we don’t feel favoured.  In some families they use a dainty silver bell to bring everyone to the dining table, but your family uses the usual method of the smoke alarm, you don’t feel favoured.

Some people in order to have a quiet and peaceful experience put the kids on a different table.  You would have to put them on a different table, in a different room, in a different house, ideally in a different town!  People buy their turkeys from a Bernard Matthews farm, you buy yours from some discount warehouse, it looks like a dinosaur, takes 6 weeks to defrost, and you end up putting it in the tumble dryer as a last ditch attempt to defrost it – you don’t feel favoured.  You left it too late to get the tree and you end up with the one that is two foot high and about forty feet wide.  Or even worse it is a very, very small and says the words “air freshener” on it!  You don’t feel favoured.

The Bible says wherever you are at, however you feel about it, the truth of Christmas is that we are favoured.

LUKE 1

In Luke 1 the word favour means “God’s grace”, grace literally means a free gift you didn’t deserve.  The angel says to Mary “you are highly favoured”.  As a youngster I was a choir boy and we used to sing the song Gloria, and the refrain is “Most highly favoured lady” but we would always sing “Most highly flavoured gravy”.  But the angel says Mary you are highly favoured.

Think of a 14 year old, illiterate peasant girl, scrambling around in the dirt in a small insignificant village in the Roman Empire.  Mary was someone who was at the bottom of the social ladder, someone who hadn’t done anything special with their life.  But the whole point of grace is that it is not deserved.  Grace is what God gives you just because!  The angel says to Mary she is highly favoured, highly covered in God’s grace.

The Bible says you are favoured, which means his grace is looking for you, searching you out.  Mary simply responded to it.

LUKE 2

But Luke 2 brings us a second type of favour, not simply God’s grace but God’s delight.  When the angel speaks to the shepherds he says ““Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”  There is a universal message.  “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”  No one is excluded from this, you don’t have to earn it, to achieve it, but instead you just get it.  The word favour literally means the pleasure and delight of God.  It can also be used to say God’s longing, God’s satisfaction.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel if I could meet God that he wouldn’t be very happy with us, he’d be disapproving of us.  If you give your life to God it can feel like you are limited, you have to be smart and serious, carry a big bible, drink milk from a Christian cow, your life becomes difficult and hard.  But the Bible says that isn’t the case at all, the Bible says God is pleased with you.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done anything, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t given him a second thought, he is absolutely delighted with you.

He chooses to send the message to shepherds.  We might have quite a cute image of shepherds, but the reality at that time was that they were the underclass of Jewish society, they were considered unclean, they were regarded with cynicism, scepticism and distrust.  Shepherds roamed around, they had no respect for other peoples land, they would just bring their sheep anywhere they fancied, they were a law unto themselves.

The angel says, shepherds listen you are favoured.  The shepherds were confused because they were the punch bag of society.  Some of us are trying so hard to push ourselves, to validate our identity, we are trying to find it in the toys, the money, school, work – but listen you don’t need to and can’t do anything to make God pleased with you – it is not possible.  God is absolutely taken with you, he adores you.

At Christmas time heaven and earth are fused together, that God himself comes down from heaven to our earth.  That is what is so wonderful.  That God’s opinion of you is so great, so passionate, that he wants to be with you, he don’t just want to be like the old uncle in heaven who visits once a year and embarrasses people, but he wants to be right there with you, God there with us, Emmanuel, living in flesh, as we’re favoured.

God knows that we mess up, that we make mistakes, that we live regrets, but he says if I could tell you one thing, if I could shout it from the heavens with a whole host of angels it would be this: “I am well pleased with you, I am delighted with you, I am captivated by you and I have come all this way because I want to know you, I want you to be brought into relationship with me – I was meant for you and you were meant for me.”

Lifeboat Prayers – Praying for the refugee crisis with young people

prayer_spaces_logoDuring 2015, many thousands of refugees risked their lives (and many others lost their lives) as they sailed across the Mediterranean Sea in small boats. People do desperate things when their lives are in unimaginable danger.

This activity encourages students to think about refugees who are leaving their homes and precious possessions behind in order to escape danger. It encourages them to think about themselves, to reflect on their own homes and possessions and opportunities, and to imagine what it would feel like to lose almost everything.

Read more on the Prayer Spaces in Schools website.

How to talk about Paris with young people?

Paris

The challenge for any youth worker is how do we talk with the young people about the shocking news of the terror attacks in Paris.

The Frontier Youth Trust through Ian Long and Pip Wilson have produced a brilliant Blob Paris – a free blob download for those working with children and young people:

Blob Paris

In the light of the shocking news about the terror attacks in Paris, this Blob sheet provides children and adults with an opportunity to discuss their feelings about the events. Here are a set of questions which can be used or adapted for your own situation.

With your partner, discuss what you can see

  • Which Blobs are experiencing fear?
  • Which Blobs are feeling angry? Why?
  • Which Blobs are on a mission?
  • Which Blob/s did you feel like about these murders?
  • Which Blob would you like to feel like?
  • Which Blob do you think God feels like?

Youth homelessness in the UK

Homeless Person

A new study on Youth Homelessness in the UK has been published.  The study focuses on identifying priorities for future service development.

This study reviews changes in youth homelessness policy and practice across the UK since 2008. It draws on academic research, “grey literature”, and available data and statistics, combined with qualitative interviews and focus groups with 26 youth homelessness experts from the four UK nations. The review aims to identify key gaps in provision and practical models that offer the most effective responses to youth homelessness.

The report highlights a number of positive developments over the last seven years:

  • improving responses to homeless 16/17 year olds;
  • the extension of the rehousing duty to virtually all homeless people (rather than only ‘priority’ groups) and a stronger emphasis on homelessness prevention in Scotland;
  • the introduction of a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent homelessness in Wales;
  • the extension of local authority duties to support young people in care; and
  • investment in the development of accommodation options for young homeless people in England.

 

Gaps in services

Drawing on consultation with 26 youth homelessness experts across the UK, the review identifies a number of areas in which service provision can be strengthened and developed:

  • PreventionDespite the mainstreaming of preventative ‘housing options’ approaches across Great Britain, the availability, uptake and effectiveness of mediation services could be improved, with a particular gap identified in the provision whole-family interventions and support and access to respiteor time-out emergency accommodation options while such family support and mediation is put in place.
  • Accommodation optionsYouth homelessness organisations face a major challenge in providing good quality accommodation that is genuinely affordable to young people both in work (often on low wages) and out of work (often with limited entitlements to welfare support). There is a particular gap in accommodation provision for young homeless people with complex needs who require high levels of support, with high quality, small-scale supported accommodation projectsSupported Lodgings; and the ‘Housing First’ model seen to offer promising solutions for this group. Psychologically informed environments –designed to take into account the psychological and emotional needs of service users – are now seen as crucial in the youth homelessness sector given that a higher proportion of young people using services have complex needs. For young people with low support needs, the development of long-term accommodation options that are affordable for individuals on a low income are required. Such provision might include: ‘light touch’ supported accommodationPeer Landlord and other shared accommodation models; design and build options that minimise costs and rent-levels; repurposing of former student accommodation; and refurbishment of empty properties.
  • EmploymentThere are calls for the better alignment of youth homelessness and youth employment services, to improve the employability and prospects of young people experiencing homelessness. Means of improving the employment offer for this group include: improving (formerly) homeless young people’s employability and work readiness through training and skills programmes and work experience; engaging and supporting employers to enable them to offer employment opportunities to young people who have experienced homelessness; and encouraging employment and earnings progression for homeless/formerly homeless young people through in-work support.
  • Social networksSupporting young people who have experienced homelessness to develop positive social networks is seen as an important means to support resettlement, improve young people’s wellbeing, and reduce the risk of repeat homelessness. Developing ‘social networks approaches’ to youth homelessness provision that help young people develop informal connections in the local community both during and after homelessness, including through mentoring schemes, were seen as important areas for development.

 

The full report can be accessed here.

A briefing summarising the report’s key findings can be accessed here.

Children’s Society research paper

Too old too young

The Children’s Society have recently published a very helpful paper on Too old, too young?: Theology on the ambiguity of adolescence and the impact of neglect’.

As the foreword by Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester says:

In order to deal with the practical issues around how to protect and nurture children and young people as they grow, we need a better understanding and a fuller vision of what it means to be a teenager. Furthermore, it is vital for the church to wrestle theologically with the issues of what it means to be a young person in relation to family life, community membership and participation in wider society. Thus, this collection of essays is both timely and important.

The first section takes a fresh look at what the issues are including new analysis of how young people are neglected within the home. The second looks at these issues through a theological lens with a reflection on what Scripture might tell us, and the final section takes on the urgent task of how we might constructively act within families, communities and at the legislative level. These essays aim to provoke both hearts and minds and is a prophetic call to respond.