The world of youth services delivery today
At present, governments and policy advisors value a country by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and not the welfare of its citizens. We hope to become part of a growing body of evidence that supports the theory that the happier the population the more successful the economy.
For young people growing up today, the world is a very different place compared to when their parents and grandparents were young. The speed of societal change is gathering momentum, yet our critical infrastructure, education process and economic systems are not evolving at the same rate. This is having an effect on young people and can adversely effect some of the most vulnerable people in society, including young people.
Youth services today
Across the UK, there is currently no statutory obligation for local government to provide positive activities or opportunities for young people outside of school. Local authorities are under increasing pressure to make ongoing savings and whilst youth services decline, the population for this age group is increasing.
In London for instance, local councils have already cut £22 million from their youth service budgets since 2011/12 with currently 2,892,434 children and young people living in the capital. What remains of the service is fragmented, often staffed by volunteers providing services that are not participant focused nor do they help address the participants’ core needs. The combined effect is a reduction in the number of safe spaces and guidance for young people.
Mental HealthOne in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017 [NHS Digital]
The most common drug that young people presented to treatment with continued to be cannabis. Around 9 out of 10 (88%) of young people in specialist services said they have a problem with this drug compared to 87% in 2015-16. [Public Health England]
In the year ending March 2017, there were 1,600 children and young people sentenced to custody [Youth Justice Board]
Single Parent Households
In 2014 there were 2.0 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK. Women accounted for 91% of lone parents with dependent children
In the year ending March 2017, 42.2% of children and young people reoffended. [Youth Justice Board]
Specific mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders. Emotional disorders were the most prevalent type of disorder experienced by 5 to 19 year olds in 2017 (8.1%) [NHS Digital]
Rates of mental disorders increased with age. 5.5% of 2 to 4 year old children experienced a mental disorder, compared to 16.9% of 17 to 19 year olds.
In 2016-17 there were a total of 16,368 young people (aged 12-18) currently in treatment for substance abuse. [Public Health England]
Over 43,000 children and young people (0-24) were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity in the past year [NHS Digital]
In 2017, there were 4,825 suicides of individuals aged between 10-24 in the United Kingdom.
In the year ending March 2017, there were 4,000 proven offences involving possession of a knife of offensive weapon [Youth Justice Board]
10% of Children and young people have a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age [Children’s Society, 2008]
Public sector delivery and the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU)
Following on from the success of the youth and community work done by the Local Authorities in Glasgow via its Violence Reduction Unit over the last decade, there has been much media attention over recent years regarding the introduction of a new public health model in England, especially in London, to help deal with the growing instances of knife crime and serious youth violence.
The establishment of the London Violence Reduction Unit by Sadiq Khan in September 2018 helped to build pressure on those in Westminster to adopt a public health approach across London. Lambeth Council were the first publicly stated borough to adopt this approach with almost all other London boroughs indicating a desire shortly afterwards to adopt the process, yet none have effectively managed to implement a process of delivery, despite significant political and local authority.
The difference between the Glasgow model and that being adopted in London was the organic support and effective co-operation between those in the local community who led the change
New public health approach
The Public Health model was popularised in 2002 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in response to increasing global violence. This approach focuses on dealing with the underlying health problems affecting society in a more comprehensive way than is currently adopted. It looks to prevent an escalation of these problems by considering human factors, characteristics of the source of harm, and the environment, as well as identifying causes and suggesting possible interventions.
Our social and emotional training embedded into our delivery process helps develop the necessary qualities to support these principals and promotes the treatment of all people with human dignity and respect.
A way forward
We want to demonstrate that the Passion Project’s focus on the individual supported by the self-development framework and accompanying operational process not only supports the delivery of youth services via traditional methods but is equally well-equipped to provide the support needed for the roll-out of a large scale integrated service on a payment-by-results basis.