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 school
  • Lack of food and heating at home means family members are going hungry and being cold
  • A 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 times
  • Providing transport to centres and programmes where possible
  • Cookery sessions and free food at The Junction
  • Advocating for support
  • Providing warm, accessible, safe spaces for young people and supporting our youth members who do the same
  • Budgeting advice and money skills sessions on NCS (National Citizen Scheme)
  • Building confidence and self esteem
  • Employability skills
  • Youth workers and trusted adults there to listen, offer advice and signposting

The World Around Us


  • The impact on our environment of climate change
  • Transport, nursing and ambulance strikes
  • Fear of returning lockdowns
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the dangers and lack of power to do anything
  • Lack of support and funding for youth clubs means we’ll have nowhere to go


  • NCS volunteering to effect change and empower young people
  • Counselling to manage the perception of overwhelming pressures
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering
  • Supporting member youth clubs to keep costs down through shared resources and training
  • Community and Environment pillar in The Inspiration Programme – it raises awareness with a trip to an energy from waste plant and exploring our carbon footprint
  • The 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 year
  • Physical safety from violence or crime
  • Becoming an adult with all the responsibilities that carries, and potentially the need to move away from home
  • Being excluded from school
  • Disengaging with school


  • The Inspiration Programme developing employability and life skills for the future
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award skills and self-development
  • National Citizen Scheme personal development of confidence and skills
  • Safeguarding and first aid training for member youth clubs and organisations
  • 1:1 Mentoring and counselling
  • Health and Wellbeing pillar in The Inspiration Programme
  • Work Life pillar in The Inspiration Programme
  • Building confidence and self esteem
  • Outdoor 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



  • Their own
  • Worries over choices their friends are making
  • Worries over family relationships strained by the cost of living and unemployment
  • Lack of money to go out with friends to safe enjoyable places
  • Cyberbullying


  • Counselling and mentoring
  • Development of personal skills and self-esteem through all our programmes
  • Team building and networking to develop and strengthen friendships through our programmes and adventure education
  • Supporting member youth clubs and other organisations with specialist training and safeguarding to enable them to better support more young people



  • Passing
  • Failing
  • Finishing


  • Counselling and mentoring
  • Space 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 work
  • Motivation 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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