Tag Archives: Donations

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

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.

    #SocialMedia and #Technology: Helping #NoLimits make a difference in seven different ways #charities #nonprofits

    Facebook Data May 2013When I first joined No Limits in 2010 they  had a Website, a fledgling YouTube Channel and used Outlook Express as an e-mail client …..and that was it. Over the last couple of years things have changed dramatically. Not only do I fundraise but I also have within my job title Promotion and Communications.  The charity has also grown in size….in 09/10 it supported around 4,500 young people, had 45 volunteers, 31 paid staff and a turn over of about £825,000. This year (12/13) we have supported over 6,000 young people, have over 150 volunteers, 65 paid staff and a turn round of about £1.5 million. It has also expanded its operations from Southampton to include Hampshire, Eastleigh and Portsmouth.

    Measuring the success (and that in itself is open to debate) of all forms of Marketing/Promotion/Communications is difficult and far from an exact science. It is also challenging  to separate out where fundraising ends and promotion/communication/marketing starts.

    I now regularly use seven different tools to ensure that prospective supporters  (in all shapes and guises) and users  know of  No Limits and feel that they want to help or support us or use our services.

    • Our website, www.nolimitshelp.org.uk, was redeveloped about twelve months ago. We are still making changes and, of course, keeping it updated. Google Analytics ( a great free service that shows you exactly who  is looking at what, when and where) shows that in  June 2013 we had about 2,400 visits, up 600 on the same time last year. We still have around 62% of new visitors and around 11,000 page views per year, up 2,000 on last year. The website is well used by young people looking at the details of our services. It is also a vehicle for donating (Text, Everyclick) and for finding out about volunteering opportunities.
    • I developed a Blog in WordPress which can be accessed through our website along with our news page http://www.nolimitshelp.org.uk/news .This only started in started four months ago but  we have already  had 1,100 page views (best of 85 in one day and 15 comments). A great way of speaking in depth about your charity to supporters and potential donors/volunteers.
    • Embedded in  our website is CiviCRM. (Constituent Relationship Management software) This has several modules but in the last couple of months we have focussed on using it  for bulk mailing, e newsletters to 400 volunteers and friends and for mail merging appeals. This particular programme needs a great deal of thought before using. It is not for the fainthearted but with perseverance it does work well. The response by volunteers and friends has been encouraging. There has only been one person unsubscribing! We can now regularly let our volunteers and friends how much we value their support and share with them successes.
    • Our Facebook page is very popular. We have 240,000 friends of fans, each posting often reaching 200 to 800 unique users with an average weekly reach of 800 to 1000 unique users https://www.facebook.com/nolimitshelp This is an instant way of reaching users, friends and volunteers with success stories as well as commenting on how  the political scene is impacting on our work.
    • Twitter. @nolimitshelp We started tweeting about a year ago and have just reached 1,500 tweets. We have 550 followers , almost doubled in the last  five months. An excellent way of interacting with other similar providers, professionals and those interested in our work.
    • You Tube. We have only started to use this more effectively in the last twelve months. To date we have had 1,300 views, one clip has reached  400 views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ug4q_iphtA  This is a very easy way of showing  what you are doing. A moving picture is worth several hundred words.
    • I just had to mention Everyclick.  Every time you use it to search you are given free money! If you encourage others to use the Give as you Live feature it is even better. To date we have raised  £17,200, averaging £300 a month. For no work (apart from the occasional reminder to staff and volunteers and supporters.) See http://www.everyclick.com/nolimitssouthampton/info It is  also a cheaper  and alternative to other sites such as Just Giving. Supporters can make up a page for a particular event or project with ease.

    We have just started to use Text giving and a Google+ account but have not had enough time to how effective these may be. I can also see some benefits in using Instagram and Pinterest…..

    As a result of this work I am convinced that more people are aware of  our services. This includes other providers, professionals and users. Apart from increase in use are there any other signs of increase in volunteers or an increase in income? Well there are some signs. In the last few months we have been made Charity of the Year for two branches of Sainsbury’s and  a University, received unexpected gifts and donations , chosen by an individual for her challenge  and are now receiving  volunteer support from Barclay’s Bank. We are also managing to recruit more volunteers including some part time interns. We are distributing collection tins and are starting to place a new set of posters in a range of locations. We have a better relationship with a range of media. ….and have won a major award. All difficult to measure but compelling enough for me to encourage you to try some or all of these (and other) techniques. Let me know how you get on!

    No Limits. Helping young people help themselves.

    A life changing experience.#nolimitsradbikechallenge

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    At the end of September No Limits will be supporting four young people take part in the
    Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge. This team event involves riding 500+ miles from Bruges Belgium) to Stuttgart (Germany) in three days. There is more about this challenge here.
    This event will provide a potentially life changing experience to those young people that take part. All of them have already faced adversity and challenging issues that have given them a disadvantaged start in their lives. This exciting venture could make a huge difference to their lives.
    There is only thirteen weeks left until the start. We will be inviting eight young service users to take part in the training and preparation and the four that show the most commitment will take part. This is much to do…..sourcing bikes, equipment (helmets, riding clothing, backpacks etc.), accommodation, ferry crossings, passports and, of course, training. By the middle of September the young people will need to be cycling at least 100 miles per week…….
    So if you know of anyone that can help with bikes, equipment, sponsorship please let us know or make a donation here.
    We will keep you updated about the progress made by the young people…..so come back to this blog or subscribe via e mail.
    No Limits: Helping young people to help themselves.

    Training for the @ClipperRace

    As part of her Clipper Round the World Challenge Lindsey is raising much needed funding for No Limits. If you want to support Lindsey and No Limits the go to her fundraising page at http://www.everyclick.com/lindseyjnoble

    Lindsey goes around the world

    My next on boat training will be starting on 5th July. The last practical training I did, indeed last time I was on the water, was in April.  We were out in the Solent and the channel. Definitely getting better. What can I say………

    • I’m moving about the boat much better not banging into things as much – outcome fewer bruises and knees not so swollen
    • More likely to pick the right sheet/halyard to pull or ease at the right time
    • Was able to instruct crew quite well on a sail hoist
    • Also stayed on the helm longer than expected at night to help Stuart do his navigation – had to control nerves and concentrate hard
    • Enjoying navigation and passage planning

    BUT

    • Need lots more practice downwind helming. Pretty dodgy gybing!
    • Still liable to moments of complete confusion
    • Usual problem with confidence and being prepared to try when uncertain
    • Must…

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