In January 2022, we released our ‘Restart Youth!’ Report a collective and collaborative approach to the future of local mental health services for young people, as told by young people.
The key things young people told us the needed in the ‘Restart Youth!’ report were:
- Support in the Community
- Support Online
- Support In School
The key, essential features of all support and services, according to young people, are;
- Open-access – for both drop-in and regular services
- Early intervention
- Listening and being heard
- Collaborative and young person-led
What we have done
Worked towards opening Reading Young People’s Hub
Throughout 2022 we have worked with young people to develop a campaign for an open- access, drop-in hub in Reading – a 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.
Young people have also participated in focus groups and surveys to build what the hub would offer, look and feel like, and its location. This included young people working with a local designer to influence the creation of a ‘Vision Document’. You can read more about this on Dan Smith Designs website – https://www.dansmithdesign.co.uk/no5.
No5 have also been looking at locations in Reading for satellite hubs so we can meet young people where they are in a safe and accessible location. We have identified local libraries and community centres as a potential location to host these and will continue work with local partners to open these in 2023.
Expanded our Young Voices Work
To continue to hear from local young people and ensure our work is collaborative and young people-led, we heard from 77 young voices in 2022 through our focus groups, surveys, and consultations.
We supported young people in sharing their voices to help shape and feedback on the Young People and Extra Familiar Harm Strategy, this was made possible through partnership working with Starting Point, Reading Football Club Community Trust, Reading Borough Council, Brighter Futures for Children and Thames Valley Police Violence Reduction Unit. Additionally, we shared what young people told us in the ‘Restart Youth!’ Report at the Mind in Berkshire Conference.
We have also expanded our Young Ambassador team and continued to support them in sharing their stories, creating content and giving feedback on our service. Alongside the Young Ambassadors, we have become members of the AQA Unit Award Scheme to give structure and certify the engagement and participation work young people contribute to.
Developed our Online Support, Resources and Signposting
From the feedback shared in our ‘Restart Youth!’ report, it was clear that young people were keen on having a platform to access information, advice and signposting to local services. Young people told us their platform preference was a website (rather than an app) and the conversation continued in focus groups, identifying how the website should look, feel and work.
Following these focus groups, we are now building the full vision of a signposting website and we currently have 3 young people working to produce this website with our web developer Red Balloon!
Our Young People’s Newsletter has also become a home for resources and signposting of other local services, youth clubs, jobs and project opportunities at No5 and across the local community. This section grew more and more throughout the year and we received positive feedback from young people and their parents.
Expanded our offer for Support in Schools
Our School Liaison Counsellor has been developing No5’s ‘Whole School Approach’ to mental health offer to support the wellbeing of students, parents and teachers.
In addition to this, our Outreach and Wellbeing Support Counsellor has been engaging with schools to hear what they would like this support to look like and has since begun development of Listening Skills and Life Skills workshops alongside our Young Ambassadors.
We have also delivered 11 Mental Health workshops across 4 local schools and 1 local community supporting 212 young people. This has allowed young people to safely learn and explore mental health and related topics, such as consent and healthy relationships, through peer delivery and group discussions.
In August, we ran our first Summer Transitions project, supporting local young people with the transition from primary to secondary school and between key stage 4 and key stage 5. This supported building friendships, relationships and confidence and supported them in their transition to the new school year, and for some into a new school!
As we look ahead to 2023, here is a roundup of our intentions for the next year
- Continue to provide as much mental health support, counselling and outreach as we can, in the ways young people tell us
- The creation of a young people-led Hub Steering Group
- Launch the signposting website
- To offer the Summer Transitions project in August 2023
- Develop our relationships with local schools and begin supporting the delivery of a ‘Whole School Approach’
- Support young people, including our Young Ambassadors, to create more resources such as blogs and videos and produce campaigns, as well as opportunities for training and working alongside professionals