What are young people’s hopes and fears for 2023?

One major advantage for us all at Action4Youth is interaction with thousands of young people from diverse backgrounds, circumstances and ages. In a year we work with over 25,000 young people. Taking time to really listen to them provides rich insight into the priorities in their lives.

As we move into 2023 Programme Director Emily Davis; Ayobami Akinolugbade, Centre Manager at The Junction; and Tracy Palmer, Inspiration Programme Manager bring you the hopes and fears of young people for the year ahead with an informed evaluation of how these vary from previous years, and how Action4Youth is taking action.

Young people are telling us their top 5 concerns for 2023 are:

  • Cost of Living
  • The world around us 
  • Personal future 
  • Relationships
  • Exams 

Some of these worries, particularly concerns about the world around us, exams and personal futures after school are familiar refrains, year on year.

What is different is young peoples’ perception of being ill-equipped to manage these worries, enduring a constant level of stress compounded by social media, and seeing a lack of relief or escape from their anxieties in part due to financial pressures from their worries.

The real need for counselling to support young people to manage arising mental health issues and develop coping strategies that will support them for life is something we are actively recognising and acting on. Our work training counsellors to work free of charge with young people drawn to our programmes and centres, supports them as well as relieving pressure on other agencies.

Action4Youth continues to take practical, constructive ACTION to equip young people to manage their concerns and prepare them positively for a better future with the backing of our supporters and partners:

Cost of Living  
Rising bills creating difficulties at home or embarrassment at schoolLack of food and heating at home means family members are going hungry and being coldA need to earn and contribute to family budgets but facing a lack of opportunities and rising costs of, or lack of transport to part-time jobs   Running Holiday Activities and Food programmes in holiday timesProviding transport to centres and programmes where possibleCookery sessions and free food at The JunctionAdvocating for support Providing warm, accessible, safe spaces for young people and supporting our youth members who do the sameBudgeting advice and money skills sessions on NCS (National Citizen Scheme)Building confidence and self esteemEmployability skillsYouth workers and trusted adults there to listen, offer advice and signposting  
The World Around Us  
The impact on our environment of climate changeTransport, nursing and ambulance strikesFear of returning lockdownsFeeling overwhelmed by the dangers and lack of power to do anythingLack of support and funding for youth clubs means we’ll have nowhere to go   NCS volunteering to effect change and empower young peopleCounselling to manage the perception of overwhelming pressuresDuke of Edinburgh Award volunteeringSupporting member youth clubs to keep costs down through shared resources and trainingCommunity and Environment pillar in The Inspiration Programme – it raises awareness with a trip to an energy from waste plant and exploring our carbon footprintThe Caldecotte Xperience brings all the benefits of outdoor learning to life, supporting emotional wellbeing and mental health  Youth workers and trusted adults there to listen, offer advice and signposting  
Personal Future  
Lack of part-time work Worries about getting full time employment on leaving school this yearPhysical safety from violence or crimeBecoming an adult with all the responsibilities that carries, and potentially the need to move away from homeBeing excluded from schoolDisengaging with school   BreakoutThe Inspiration Programme developing employability and life skills for the futureDuke of Edinburgh Award skills and self-developmentNational Citizen Scheme personal development of confidence and skillsSafeguarding and first aid training for member youth clubs and organisations1:1 Mentoring and counsellingHealth and Wellbeing pillar in The Inspiration ProgrammeWork Life pillar in The Inspiration ProgrammeBuilding confidence and self esteemOutdoor education at The Caldecotte Xperience improves problem solving, communication and team building skills as well as enjoyable challenge taking young people out of their comfort zone Youth workers and trusted adults there to listen, offer advice and signposting  
Relationships
Their ownWorries over choices their friends are makingWorries over family relationships strained by the cost of living and unemploymentLack of money to go out with friends to safe enjoyable placesCyberbullying   Counselling and mentoringDevelopment of personal skills and self-esteem through all our programmesTeam building and networking to develop and strengthen friendships through our programmes and adventure educationSupporting member youth clubs and other organisations with specialist training  and safeguarding to enable them to better support more young people  
Exams
PassingFailing Finishing Counselling and mentoringSpace from exam stress in fun, absorbing activities at The Caldecotte Xperience and The Junction, and through engagement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Skills development and confidence building through all our programmes and workMotivation to re-engage with school through Breakout and The Inspiration Programme
 

A lack things to positively look forward to, and money to pay for hobbies or activities was a glaring absence in young people’s view of what 2023 held in store. Action4Youth is aware and equipped to remedy this essential through fun activities at our centres in Caldecotte, and The Junction, and through structuring enjoyable learning into all our programmes.

Young people attending The Junction, our multi-agency centre in High Wycombe told us what they were positively looking forward to in 2023 thanks to their time there:

  • Getting into and completing an Apprenticeship
  • Getting fitter mentally and physically
  • Doing extra sessions
  • Getting a job and making money
  • Going on trips with the Junction team
  • Going to university
  • Attending youth club more
  • Spending more time with Junction youth workers

In 2023 Action4Youth’s priorities are to do more, work with more young people, reach out to work with more partners to make this happen, helping us all to positively enjoy the coming year.

Programme Director Emily Davis; Ayobami Akinolugbade, Centre Manager at The Junction; and Tracy Palmer, Inspiration Programme Manager

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