‘We Believe in YOUth’ - positive Suffolk campaign fights back against coronavirus threat to youth jobs market
PUBLISHED: 06:05 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 06:55 22 June 2020
They are our future, with the world at their feet and the dreams to make the Suffolk of tomorrow even better than today.
Yet while a charity today says the economic aftershock of coronavirus “poses a serious risk of scarring young people’s prospects”, its new campaign not only seeks to maintain their hopes and aspirations but see them grow.
Inspire Suffolk’s We Believe in YOUth campaign aims to tackle “head-on” the grave and serious threat posed by Covid-19 to young people’s wellbeing and the youth jobs market.
MORE: 5 ways teenagers can take care of their mental health during extended lockdown
It says the crisis, which has already seen many firms stop hiring and cut jobs, has a “considerable impact on their hopes for the future” and adds: “These are things we can’t shy away from.”
Its stirring new campaign aims not only to alert young people to “innovative new services” the charity can offer to support them but also share inspiring stories of “how others have found the path to a more positive future”.
Its Youth Employment Service (YES), run on behalf of East Suffolk Council since November last year, is offering increased numbers of young people advice on careers and job applications during the crisis.
And in response to the increased need for mental health services, Inspire Suffolk has introduced a new wellbeing service – funded by Suffolk Community Foundation – so young people aged 16 to 25 can speak to a counsellor by phone or video chat for free, with no waiting list.
However, the charity also hopes that sharing positive examples of young people’s successes will “demonstrate that it’s possible to overcome challenges, whether it’s mental health issues, unemployment or lack of direction”.
It added: “The charity believes it’s never more important to bring the issues affecting young people to the forefront of public consciousness and start much-needed conversations about mental health, education and wellbeing.”
MORE: Who were the winners at the annual Inspire Suffolk awards, celebrating young people?
Terry Baxter, chief executive of Inspire Suffolk, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on the lives of young people cannot be underestimated.
“Isolation and uncertainty have an alarming effect on vulnerable groups who may have only just started their journey into the workplace.
“It is vitally important that we work with young people to tackle these issues head on. We simply cannot wait - many individuals are leaving problems untreated until they reach a crisis point.
“The We Believe in YOUth campaign celebrates the drive and resilience of young people we work with.
“With your help, we can continue to play a crucial role equipping young people with the education, confidence and work readiness they need to change their lives for the better.”
Success stories - Luke Chambers
You may also want to watch:
Many people can perhaps relate to Luke Chambers when he recalls how he “kept applying for jobs and never heard back and was starting to get depressed”.
Now 21, Luke, of Felixstowe, had just a 4% chance of survival after he was born, due to a heart condition.
He lacked confidence and was “always conscious of what people would think of how I walked and how I spoke”, as he has speech problems, cerebral palsy and left-side weakness.
However, he says joining the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, run by Inspire Suffolk – where young people not in education, training or employment complete 12 weeks of activities to improve their confidence – transformed his life.
Even though he had an operation mid-way through, the successfully completed the programme – which has led to him working at Tesco for the past seven months and becoming a key worker during the coronavirus crisis.
“Inspire Suffolk helped me become who I am now,” he said. “I couldn’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”
Success stories – Cole Guy
Cole Guy’s anxiety and depression once held him back from even everyday challenges.
“I was floating around, volunteering and just watching the days go by really,” he said.
“I was in supported living for five years and every day was the same – there as nothing to do.
“My confidence was extremely low, I had no self-esteem, my anxiety was through the roof - I couldn’t even get on a bus.”
Also joining the Prince’s Trust Team Programme run by Inspire Suffolk, he said he was nervous to start with.
But he said: “After a while, I started to get into the right mindset to push through. I was there to progress, to make something, to start building my life.”
He is now doing just that, after starting an apprenticeship with Suffolk County Council.
To donate to Inspire Suffolk, visit the charity’s JustGiving page.
For more about We Believe in YOUth, click here.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Lowestoft Journal. Click the link in the orange box below for details.