Tag Archives: disadvantaged

Running away only makes things worse: @nolimitshelp blog #Runaways #YoungPeople #Vulnerable

suicide_male_wallFor many, coming home from a long day at work to a warm, cosy house with a loving family is no luxury, it’s just the norm. However for many children and young people across the UK, the home is a cold place of abuse, neglect and harm. Every year an estimated 200,000 people go missing, half of which are children. Last year at No Limits we saw 66 young people who were runaways, 54 of which were at risk of another vulnerability. Whether they’re running away from someone or something, a missing child is made vulnerable to violent crime, gang exploitation or drug and alcohol misuse. Young people need to be made aware of the dangers of running away and how this can cause a risk to themselves and their families. No Limits works to protect children and young people who are at risk, and helps to provide free support, advice and counselling to prevent suffering. You can help to address the issue of young runaways by donating to No Limits, or by offering your time to volunteer at one of our open access drop-in centres. Don’t let a missing child go unnoticed or unreported.

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

By Jess Sulzmann, Intern, Marketing and Communications No Limits

@Nolimitshelp Guest blog by @RowennaDavis Does working hard pay? #youngpeople #NEET

No Limits

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

It’s funny how one conversation with a stranger can completely change your views on things. I bet this young person doesn’t even remember talking to me. I met him doing some youth outreach work. He’d stolen some trainers and I was trying to figure out why we were seeing a spike in crime. I remember saying to him, convinced I was right:
“Why would you risk a criminal record just to get a pair of shoes? If that’s what you want, why not work hard at school and get a decent job? Then you could get a new pair every month!” He barely looked up before he gave his answer: “My brother worked really hard at school and went to uni – he’s not got a job, just a bunch of debt. So why should I?”
To be honest, I was stumped. He had a point. Although there’s no excuse for criminal behaviour, too often young people feel that looking for work in the usual way won’t get them anywhere.
The old deal that said if you work hard, you will get a decent job and live in security. Too often this doesn’t apply to this generation. Even if you’re talented and hardworking, you’re lucky to get a job on poverty pay with a zero hour’s contract.
This kind of wasted talent and lack of opportunity is one of the key reasons I’m standing for election in Southampton. We in the Labour Party believe that if you work hard and put the effort in, it will pay off and you will get a decent job. It’s one of the reasons we offer a jobs guarantee for young people who have been out of work for a year.
Of course it will take more than politicians to turn this around. If you’ve got some free time, why not think about volunteering to help the excellent work of No Limits? If you’re a business leader think about what extra work experience and apprenticeships you can offer.
Although right now I’m just a candidate, I’m trying to do my bit by offering work experience to young people interested in politics, so get in touch if you’re interested!
Together we can stop young people feeling like the young man I met, and give them faith that their hard work will pay off.

Guest Blogger Rowenna Davis  Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen

Rowenna can be contacted at rowenna@southampton-labour.org.uk

Rowena Davis

Youth homelessness increasing in the UK by @nolimitshelp

MAXWILLISPOSTERHOMELESS

It’s that time of year again and once again a barrage of ads – depicting perfect families, festive fun and Christmas cheer – stream relentlessly into our cosy living rooms. We all know life isn’t this perfect or ideal, but for some young people across the UK, their reality couldn’t be more distant.

Many young people across the UK this Christmas are facing a festive period of poor health, malnourishment and loneliness – why? Because they are homeless.
Here at No Limits we have seen an increasing demand on our services from homeless young people. Last year we saw 576 young people at risk of homelessness, 300 were sofa surfing and 191 were street homeless. Our services are highly cost effective. Each quarter our work with homeless young people is saving local (Southampton and Hampshire) services over £300,000 per quarter…over £1.2 k per year (Crisis Performance Indicators)

Thousands of young people throughout the UK are currently homeless. In real terms 75000 young people sought help from services when they became destitute, which means shockingly 1 in 100 young people in the UK have experienced homelessness in just one year (19% of all young people). Help is not always available or pursued and many resort to sleeping rough on the streets, becoming increasingly disengaged with society.

Since 2010, Government figures highlight that the number of homeless young people have intensified, in fact increasing by a third. Many factors could be attributed to this increase, including: the economic downturn, low-income families struggling to make ends meet, welfare reforms such as bedroom tax and JSA sanctions. Some young people once made homeless or of no fixed abode, face an uncertain future with potentially grim prospects.
“With rising youth unemployment, a changing welfare system and many families struggling to get by, youth homelessness is likely to get worse.” Said Jacqui McCluskey, the director of policy and communications for Homeless Link

That’s not all. 53% of homeless agencies were closed or were threatened with future closure thanks to a decrease or complete withdrawal of government funding. These figures highlight the abhorrent threat to the third-sector – specifically youth organisations, which are vital to our society.

Once young people become destitute, a multitude of problems become a horrifying reality.

They are:

  • More likely to suffer with drug and alcohol problems
  • More likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training)
  • Very likely to be excluded or willingly leave the education system
  • Vulnerable to prostitution
  • More likely to engage in anti-social behaviour/crime
  • More likely to suffer with poor health

Why are so many young people becoming homeless? 

According reports, the biggest factor in homelessness in the UK is “family breakdown”, usually between the young person and their parents/step-parents. Some young people endure such relentless emotional/physical conflict within their home environment that becoming homeless is considered a better option.

Often young people resort to sleeping on night buses, in car-parks or squats. Sometimes friends are willing to put them up for short periods of time, but sofa-surfing is a temporary means to an end and often doesn’t last for more than a few days.

Who is likely to become homeless?

Young people who come from various problematic backgrounds are more likely to become homeless. Including:

  • People who have been in care (6% of all care leavers become homeless)
  • People who have been excluded from school
  • People who run away from home
  • People who suffer any form of abuse at home
  • People from financially deprived circumstances
  • People aged 19 or 20 (31%)
  • People aged 21-25 (50%)

Many young people do not expect to become homeless and find it extremely difficult to cope with their appalling situations.

“I moved away cos of what me [sic] dad did to me mum, me dad used to abuse me mum, beat her up and that.” Said twenty-something, Neil, who became unexpectedly homeless following the breakdown of his family unit.

Where can young people go to get help?

There are a number of organisations that can support young people with the process of finding temporary accommodation, as well as helping them find long-term solutions, through addressing problems affecting their circumstances, such as joblessness, family dysfunction and drug and alcohol abuse.

This problem will not be going away any time soon and is likely to get worse, thanks to increasing youth unemployment, but we can do something. We can support young people who are struggling to survive by donating money/time or food to charities who are committed to providing assistance. Donating food parcels to food banks or a participating supermarket is another way to really help provide to those in desperate need.

Spare a thought for the thousands of homeless young people, who aside from being lonely, deprived and at risk – will have nowhere to sleep on Christmas day.

Do your bit this Christmas. Make a real difference.  Give to someone who really needs it.

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

By Max Willis

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#Youngpeople today are living in a world which has changed dramatically. This is the digital era – the age of social media – whole lives are projected online via sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The world is rapidly evolving and young people are facing a life where terms like cyber-bullying, ‘Facebooking’ and ‘going viral’ are the norm. On top of this the opportunities to advance their lives and carve successful careers are limited compared to previous years, thanks to the relentless stagnation of our economy. Older generations are staying in work longer thanks to increased pension age and longer life spans and free higher education is a thing of the past, potentially restricting individuals from getting better job. Those who do go to university face enormous fees of up to £9000 a year and a lifetime riddled with debt. Many public sector organisations and private companies have reduced their apprenticeship schemes and youths are scrabbling in their hundreds and thousands for low or unpaid internships even if they have degrees.

Life is not easy for young people of today.

“Teenagers and young people have an unmapped mountain to climb and most of them already have grit under their fingernails from making a damn good try. We shouldn’t be bashing them – we should look a little harder at what we’ve done.”

But what about young people who are living in poverty, as well as facing the general problems of growing up in a recession-riddled digital age? Can we really blame the kids or are they victims of their era? In contrary to the (sometimes) mass perceived notion of young people – especially those who end up on benefits – is that this is their choice; their accountability. Most young people do not aspire to a life in the dole queue and want the opportunities many poverty-stricken baby-boomers had in their time. Social mobility is more inert than ever and blaming young people for their inability to progress is unfair and short sighted.

What can be done to help young people in poverty in the UK?

Many charities like No Limits, offer an olive branch and the prospect of enabling young people to take positive steps towards a better life – a future which may not have been deemed possible by the young person.

Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received and the money raised for No Limits, we have been able to raise some of the funds to send four young people to complete The Challenge Adventure Charities Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge 2013 at the end of September, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

By including disadvantaged young people in this challenge we are supporting them in their quest for a positive life and better future. The skills and experience they will inevitably gain will be transferable to many aspects of their lives and increase overall confidence.

“I am at the beginning of my adult life, just starting to find my feet. I struggled in the past due to criminal behaviour, always looking for ways to get money but I am now realising my potential working with No Limits. I was referred by Probation to No Limits. Their Next Steps project always helps keep me busy and active. I enjoy cycling to get out and to keep fit and am really looking forward to the trip if we can raise enough to participate”

Young people of today are facing such adversity and struggle – let’s start helping them pave the way for a positive future by providing opportunities like the Rad Bike Challenge. Help support charities like No Limits who enable young people to help themselves.

Give some of our young people – disadvantaged or not – credit for fighting back against the problematic society we live in today. Let’s help them move forward and enable them to make something of their lives, irrespective of background or financial wealth.

Young people are more resilient than we think. Let’s help them, not crush them.

Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

My learning curve:Combating homo/transphobia #gay #lesbian @nolimitshelp

Gay Flag Until I became a charity fundraiser for No Limits I was, for many years, in primary education. It is only recently that I have began to understand and realise the full extent of the prejudice suffered by young people who are LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender).

One of my current projects is fundraising for Breakout Youth, a charity that supports young (13 to 21 years old) LGBT young people in Hampshire. Here are some facts that I gleaned in my trawl for information. There is much more information on a range of sites such as Stonewall.

National stats show that LGBT young people are:

  • 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.
  • At much higher risk than the heterosexual population of substance abuse.
  • At least 7 times more likely to be crime victims than heterosexual people.
  • More likely to contract HIV (gay young men)
  • More likely to be homeless (40% of homeless youth are identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual)
  • More likely to be rejected (50% of all gay and lesbian youth report that their parents reject them).

If you are:

  • an individual concerned with the extremely widespread issue of violence against and amongst school children and students
  • a teacher or other educational staff who takes seriously every child’s right to be safe at school and to receive a quality education
  • an organisation working on the rights of the child
  • an organisation working on gender-based violence
  • an organisation working on the rights for sexual and gender minorities
  • a local authority, city council, local government,…. which has a mandate on education
  • a trade union working on the right to education
  • or any other constituency concerned with this issue

Then look here  for more information to help you combat homo/transphobia.

If you live in Hampshire and need support, advice and help  about issues around sexuality then contact Breakout Youth or No Limits.

No Limits: Helping Young People Help themselves

Want a successful business? Donate to Charities

Non profit organisations and charities such as #nolimitshelp work hard to invest in ways to help the community and provide invaluable services to people often in need. By investing in your community, you or your company could give back to the community who potentially keep your business afloat.

By helping a local charity raise funds by volunteering your time, or donating, the list of benefits to you on a personal level and your company is endless.

There can be many ways of measuring success, so “it’s really important to have some clear goals in mind, and make sure those are shared and delivered for both partners”, as well as a clear exit strategy that leaves the charity in a better place.

“Charities sometimes say they find it challenging working with business, so having a good cultural fit between the two organisations is also vital.”

There are tangible advantages to giving back to the community too. For one thing if you give enough, you’ll be able to reduce the tax you pay based on charitable deduction on your income tax.  Information can be found on HM Revenue & Customs website. Why not increase your business profile too? By being affiliated with a charity that helps the local community, more potential customers may become aware of your business. Also it makes your company look good by adopting ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’.

Although this is usually a term associated with big companies and brands, it’s still important to socially aware and accountable within a local community. Within our current society and austere economical climate, people are becoming disillusioned with corporate fat cats and companies who make huge profits but give nothing back to the communities who helped them thrive. By helping charities, you help yourselves as a business and the community – that’s a win-win situation, surely?

“When companies implement ‘strategic CSR’ they can find there are many benefits, including strengthened corporate and brand reputations and enhanced trust with key stakeholders (customers, employees, regulatory agencies, suppliers, and investors), improved risk management, increased revenues from innovation to identify new business opportunities, and reduced costs from efficiency improvements. “Chris Howells, Forbes

How can you specifically help No Limits?

Businesses are well placed to help No Limits by:

  • organising  a team building event e.g. refurbishing a room,
  • encourage employee volunteering with us
  • donating gifts in kind e.g. food, office furniture, prizes, venues
  • nominating No Limits as your charity of the year giving us publicity and greatly needed funds.
  • developing payroll giving e.g. so a proportion of employees pay goes directly to No Limits in a tax efficient manner
  • offering  a secondment e.g. to support an area of need within No Limits
  • By helping support local charities who help those less fortunate than others, we can strengthen the resolve of our local people, as well increasing awareness of local businesses, which in turn serves the community. By working together we can strive to bring back a sense of unity in our communities.

    We are all part of our society, so we have to take responsibility for it.

    Help others and help yourselves.

    Max Willis

    Marketing & Communications Intern

    No Limits, City

    #YoungParents Should Read This

    Life is a lottery and where you are born can mean everything…

    The #DuchessofCambridge is in labour and the #RoyalBaby’s birth is imminent. The press are waiting with baited breath, “boy or girl, future king or queen?” What a life awaits this child. No financial concerns will dog its parents, no housing problems or school dinner money worries will keep them awake at night. A life without many of the problems facing parents in the UK today.

    What about young parents? For them life can be tough on myriad levels. For those who lack the vital support of an extended family unit, parenthood can be even harder. Isolation can have a devastating effect on a young parent and create future problems for the children. In addition, young parents often face a barrage of criticism and judgement from the media who continue to stigmatise them in the press. Some may feel left out by their child-free peers who don’t have time for them anymore, as well as facing a future without a formal education – limiting future job prospects. Others slip into a life using drugs and alcohol to combat seclusion.

    The list is endless, but there is hope.

    No Limits run a project for young parents called Bright Beginnings. By working on an individual basis with young people we aim to extend our knowledge and experience of parenthood to those who need a little extra help and support. No Limits encourage young people who are pregnant or who have small children under two to maintain good relationships with people and build strong, positive connections with their children. The Bright Beginnings’ mentors are focused on building parenting confidence, encouraging and teaching the methods that will enable their children to flourish.

    Young people will continue to have babies in the UK despite the customary sex education in schools and the rudimentary knowledge of how tough life can be as a parent. When it does happen though, instead of dismissing and condemning, we should continue to offer ways of improving an outcome which could be potentially disastrous long-term.

    If you are a young parent who needs our help, please visit us at No Limits, 24A Bernard Street, Southampton, SO14 3AY or call 02380236237

    If you would like to volunteer as a Bright Beginnings Mentor, get it touch – No Limits need you! If you would like to provide No Limits with much needed financial support to continue fundamental services then send £3 via TEXT to NLMO1.