WHAT WE SEE
Active Youth Outreach Services (‘AYOS’) has a vision that is focused on addressing issues surrounding youth disaffection and disengagement.
IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE…
Young people are hungry to learn, and are easily able to access clear pathways out of education and into meaningful work.
Young people are successful, realising their dreams and fulfilling their potential
There are safe spaces that Children and Young People can access; call their own and have freedom to express themselves
Relationships have improved within families and communities
Children and Young People feel empowered to ask for support.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
In modern society, more than ever before, young people experience multiple difficulties, and must often overcome significant barriers in order to progress.
Children from as early as school years one and two are forced to cope with rapid change throughout their school years, and there is inadequate support available to help them navigate that process. As a consequence, young people develop low-level mental health issues that manifest in a variety of ways, and can become exacerbated by the handling of the resulting behaviour, which often leads to segregation in both school and home life for that child.
Symptoms of low level mental health issues are often missed, Therefore, as a result of non-diagnosis, or mis-diagnosis, young people are left to face these issues alone, and find themselves referred to CAMHS and social services when the problems have become more severe.
This is not a problem that is limited to any particular demographic and can, in fact, be more prevalent among seemingly successful and reasonably affluent families.
In addition to the various problems arising from low-level mental health issues, a number of other problems exist that hinder the progress children are able to make in pursuing their aspirations. These problems surround socio-economic standing and educational opportunities.
Mainstream education struggles to engage many young people, perhaps as a result of bullying, low motivation, lack of aspiration, or inadequate or inappropriate resources. Disengaged young people then under-perform in school and do not achieve the qualifications they need to open further opportunities for progression.
All of these problems highlight what is, perhaps, the key issue: the absence of suitable support networks for young people. If young people cannot access adequate support, when they need it, problems are allowed to continue. Those problems then increase in severity and have an even greater social and economic impact as they persist into adulthood.
The problems arising from the absence of appropriate and adequate support networks is heightened in rural areas, where the issue of isolation is even greater. Where children have no outlet to express their feelings, or access support for the issues they face, the problems they are encountering are likely to worsen, often with serious detrimental effects to both the individual and their family and community.
Appropriate support, positive engagement, sport and physical activity can all help to alleviate these issues, but without a co-ordinated ‘joined-up’ approach, the problem is unlikely to be resolved with any long-term effect.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Key to resolving the problems set out in the previous section are creative, adequate, appropriate and effective support networks for children and young people to engage with.
Support networks will help to create an environment where children can succeed, feel worthy and included, and fulfil their life goals. Where those support networks provide co-ordinated and joined-up cover, they will be able to directly combat the problems that lie at the heart of the issues that have been identified.
WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL THE SOLUTION MAKE?
The creation and implementation of appropriate support networks for young people will provide children with an enriched experience that will enable them to pursue the mission of AYOS: to create an environment where they can ’let life be’ whatever they want it to be – happy, drug-free, care-free, supportive, filled with good relationships – anything that young person dreams of for their life.
The difference that the AYOS solution could make would not be limited to those children directly impacted, but would cascade through families, communities, schools, workplaces and whole towns and cities, reducing exclusion, promoting inclusion, and creating a healthy environment in which life can flourish.
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
The ‘do nothing’ option would allow an already increasing problem to reach levels that could be potentially irreversible, at least in the short-to-medium term.
Problems linked directly, and indirectly, to mental health are on the increase, and unless action is taken to step in and support children who are showing signs of low-level mental health issues, those problems will grow into bigger issues that will, potentially, place a significant strain on resources.
In addition, the rise of anti-social behaviour among a disaffected and disengaged youth population is already putting police resources under pressure, and unless positive interventions are made, the problem, and the strain it creates, will increase.
Police and Community Safety Partnerships are seeing a big rise in anti-social behaviour in both town and countryside, which can, in large part, be attributed to the declining availability of suitable support services. Therefore, without the creation and implementation of new and appropriate services to support the youth population, the incidents and effects of anti-social behaviour will only get worse.
Without suitable support networks to combat both mental health issues and behavioural/educational problems, a generation of disengaged young people will emerge. Those disengaged young people will, in all likelihood, become disengaged adults, which will lead, not only to an immediate escalation of the issues that had manifested in their youth, but also to the onset of a generational cycle that will become increasingly difficult to break.
WHAT AYOS OFFERS
WHY CAN AYOS DELIVER THE SOLUTION?
AYOS is well placed to initiate, and follow through on, the creation and implementation of new and innovative services, as well as to work closely in partnership to support and develop those services which are already being effectively delivered.
Together we bring the passion, drive, determination, belief, skills and experience to push the vision of AYOS from dream to reality, and to establish a lasting legacy of transformation in the lives of young people.
WHAT IS THERE TO GAIN?
There is much to be gained through the pursuit of AYOS’s vision – for the young people who directly access those services, and for the families, communities, schools and businesses who benefit from the transformation in the lives of those young people who are engaged with AYOS.
Community relations will be improved as young people assume responsibility for their actions, and accept accountability for their own situations and behaviour. Councils and communities will take a more active interest in the progress of young people, which will create an upward, rather than downward, spiral in terms of behaviour, and the consequences of behaviour