The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’ and across Greater Reading, No5 is contributing to this goal by prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of our local young people.
Today we are launching the plans for Reading Young People’s Hub – a drop-in, centralised safe space where young people can access all the information, advice and support they need, delivered by a partnership of services, under one roof.
“It would change so many lives”
– Young Person
This partnership plan is supported by many cross-sector organisations including Starting Point, along with Stuart and Amanda Stephens, the parents of Olly Stephens who tragically lost his life in January 2021.
Why is a Hub needed?
These are the young people’s unedited, unscripted, one-take, candid and genuine answers to the questions we asked.
There has been an ever-increasing demand of young people asking for support with their mental health. The number of young people needing support was already rising, however since the pandemic 157% more have asked for help.
Even though we have supported more young people, our waiting list and waiting times continue to grow. Today ,625 young people are waiting for counselling and the average waiting time is 38 weeks (over 9 months). We need to do something new, now, to support local young people’s mental health.
“It’s a no brainer really that the hub needs to be created”
– Young Person
Young people have continuously told us that they need support in their communities, in spaces and places that are safe and accessible where they can also join in activities and build their life skills. This need was shared in our Restart Youth project and identified in research and reports such as the national #FundTheHubs campaign. We have continued to meet with young people as well as organisations (both local and national) and members of the community to share and discuss what is needed.
“It will help schools and parents as they will know their children are safe and getting good care”
– Young Person
Others in our local community are calling for the same thing. The Knife Crime Forum, following the loss of Olly Stephens, established that as a community we need to provide safe spaces, activities, accessible support, advice and signposting for Reading’s young people.
“Following the loss of our beautiful boy, Oliver Lucas Stephens, “Olly”, it has become clear that by working together, we can help our children with, safe spaces, mentoring, signposting, and accessible mental health provision.
The idea of a Reading-based, centrally located, drop-in hub, which will incorporate all these needs of our young people and can involve many local partners to help them, is fantastic. Our children’s lives are in crisis, with the perfect storm of the non-regulation of their social media platforms, smart phone addiction, COVID and lockdown periods away from their schools/colleges and being with their friends.
The idea of a drop-in centre, where they can relax, meet others, ask for help and advice, join in activities, listen to talks and presentations, as and when needed, by trained professionals, will make them feel less alone, less worried and more socially connected. It will grow their resilience.”
– Stuart and Amanda Stephens
An open-access hub where young people can feel safe to ask for support, information and advice, learn life skills and take part in activities is what is needed in Reading.
How you can help make this vision a reality:
- Join our Young Voices Work – The hub must be designed by young people for young people and we are holding focus groups and building a Hub Steering Group. If you are aged 11-25 and live, work, or study in the RG postcode and want to be involved please email email@example.com
- Share your voice across networks– share why you think #ReadingYoungPeoplesHub is needed or why you are supporting it! Do this via a Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn post, Instagram Reel or TikTok video, Instagram story or however else you like! If you would like to share your voice anonymously, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share this campaign – Click to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram
- Make a donation– justgiving.com/campaign/ReadingYoungPeoplesHub – More ways to donate/fundraise coming soon…
- Invest in the Hub – If you are interested in investing, please contact Alyson Wylding via email@example.com or 07713317142
- Stay up to date
- Sign up to our newsletter here to continue to hear the news about Reading Young People’s Hub and how you can continue to support it. We also share young people created mental health content as well as news of current events and youth offers in the community (such as youth clubs and after school workshops)!
- Follow our social media
- Revisit our blog
The detailed business plan, including the design vision, is currently being completed in collaboration with young people and partners.
Young people will be working on building a vision document for the Hub over the next month, exploring what the Hub should look and feel like, as well as creating a brand identity brief.
Read our October Update here!
Read our December Update here!
Read our March Update here!
Read our April Update here!
Links and References:
Previous articles/press releases https://ukpropertyforums.com/charity-seeks-town-centre-site-to-create-a-hub-for-the-young/