Youth services are an important element of family support for families 0-19. Often, they are not delivered from a Family Hub but from a connected delivery site, which is designed to appeal to young people and therefore, by definition, is a space not intended for younger families.
The youth services for young people in Stockton-on-Tees are a good example of a range of commissioned services meeting a variety of needs. As Kellie Wigley, Community and Partnership Manager for Stockton Council explains, ‘Our youth services providers offer activities designed to attract young people as well as more specialised support. For example, in Stockton we have “Relaxation for kids” – a type of mindfulness programme – catering up to 18 year olds, and “Biscuit Ninjas”, a very successful activity in which small groups meet to play board games while munching through a packet of biscuits! Despite all the evidence which says young people can’t be diverted from technology and smartphones, we can report that our teenagers love this somewhat retro activity, which is delivered by local provider, Youth Direction, and creates an environment where youth workers can really engage with young people and peer to peer support thrives.
‘Our youth services have a strong early help strategy, linking with our work to reduce anti-social behaviour and educate young people about the dangers of child exploitation. We also accommodate the “Looked-after Children’s Council”. Programmes to tackle substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) and smoking delivered by partners within Family Hubs. For parents, we offer “Talking teens”, a four-week course and an online “Solihull – Understanding Your Teenagers Brain’.