What Age is too Young to be a Young Carer?

On Monday 11 November 2017, the Evening Standard announced that they are going to start an investigation called The Lost Childhoods. The aim of this new investigation is to bring to light all of the children in London who are vulnerable to “poverty, homelessness, disability, mental health and abuse” (Cohen). In his first article, writer David Cohen interviews Beau Broomfield, an eight year old boy who is serving as his sick mother’s full time carer. Beau describes himself as a very worried child and knows that most kids his age do not have the struggles that he deals with on a daily basis. Ever since he came home to his mum collapsed on the floor, he has taken it upon himself to handle all of her medical needs and house work. He reminds her when to take her pills, helps her move about the house, prepares meals, does laundry, and goes to school. In his mind he knows that he should be out playing with the rest of his 8 year old friends, but his response was “I am worried to leave mum so I stay here” (Broomfield). Unfortunately, Beau’s case is not unique to London’s young people. According to the Children’s Commissioner of England “there are 171,024 young unpaid carers under 18 (in London alone). Some are just under five years old” (Cohen). The reason that the numbers are so high is because many families cannot afford to hire a professional carer, so they rely on their children to take care of them. Beau’s mother, Rose Coffen, for example, has been classified as an ‘in need’ patient, but...
European Solidarity Corps

European Solidarity Corps

Launched under a year ago by the European Union, The European Solidarity Corps is the newest project to get young people out of their comfort zones and out changing the world. With already over 23,000 young people between the ages of 18-30 participating, European Solidarity Corps provides opportunities for Europeans to work or volunteer abroad. Each placement is geared to help both the participant and the people they meet understand the importance of global solidarity. It is all about adapting to other opinions and cultures, while promoting human rights. Young people who want to apply must be open-minded. All of the jobs will require engaging in pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, and equality. Additionally, they must be creative because it is encouraged to develop meaningful ways to change society while respecting the culture they are in. Some project examples include: helping to rebuild a school or community centre, supporting newly arrive asylum seekers, clearing vegetation to prevent wildfires, or working with disabled people in a community centre. There are two ways that a young person can get involved with the European Solidarity Corps: volunteering or occupational activities. If one were to opt to volunteer they would have a permanent location for anywhere between 2 and 12 months. This sector is closely related to Erasmus+, so it is common to get funding from the EU to keep up with expenses. Because the work they will be doing is unpaid, volunteers receiving money for travel, accommodation, insurance, meals, and a small amount for living expenses. Those who opt to obtain a job and participate in the occupational activities sector will be paid...

Dynamix Skatepark – An alternative way of challenging ideas

What has a skatepark got to do with promoting Afrikan Sheroes and Heroes? Not much you would imagine… but Dynamix skatepark are doing exactly that, and they’re doing it in the North-East at their base in Gateshead. Dynamix Skatepark is much more than a skate park, with a vision to actively engage and collaborate with their local community (as well as further afield) to offer alternatives to the status quo of traditional thinking, learning, and creating. Throughout this autumn Dynamix will be rolling out a project to challenge people’s thinking  by focusing on Sheroes and Heroes of Afrikan Heritage. Dynamix’s Creative Director, Rosa Stourac McCreery, outlines their aim “to celebrate Sheroes and Heroes of Afrikan Heritage, and to explore the means by which we can actively challenge racism today, and change the narratives about the history of racism, colonialism and power, which takes the form of a number of events, workshops, and new spaces.” From the end of the month onwards Dynamix will be putting on a number of events including a production of The Tempest (28th October), an exhibition with the Ghanaian-British mural artist – Dreph, a workshop with Akala’s Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, and much more. If you’re in the North-East over the next few months get along and get involved! If you’re interested in the work done by Dynamix have a look at their website, and in particular the wider vision for the organisation as much more than just a skatepark. In our current climate non-traditional service providers are likely to become the active agents for change in our communities, and Dynamix are already taking steps to...

It is TimeToVolunteer Abroad!

  Are you not quite sure what the next step in your life should be? Are you studying something you are not passionate about? Or do you need a break from the daily grind? Then you sound the like perfect candidate to volunteer abroad through Erasmus+. EuroDesk, a sector of Erasmus+, is spending the entire month of October promoting their #TimeToMove Campaign, and they want YOU to volunteer with them. Volunteering abroad is a great way to do something beyond you. It is an opportunity to make and see a change in the world in a very hands-on environment. Not only is it a great way to travel, but it is the perfect way to learn how other cultures operate. It will give insight to how people function elsewhere. Additionally, it is a fantastic way to make friends all over the world and build lasting connections with people who have similar interests as you. Eurodesk offers many amazing volunteering opportunities all over Europe. Whether you want to go to venture to somewhere that speaks a different language, has a different climate, or is close to home, there are options. They also make it very financially accessible. There are both scholarships and grants that any young person between the ages of 15 and 30 can apply for. Trip durations can last anywhere between 2 and 6 months based on the volunteer’s comfort level. The Eurodesk website also connects interested volunteers with current and past ones. This opens up communication for you to get in touch with people who have been in your shoes. It is completely okay not to know...

Drop Into Drop-In!

Attending university is not for everyone. There are a plethora of reasons explaining why a young person might see themselves as unfit to carry on with their education. These reasons range from financial instability to lack of motivation; however, they should not be permanently punished because they made this choice. All across the U.K. and Europe the number of young people dropping out of school is rising, and it is noticeable in the workplace. Young people bring fresh ideas to the table, they are typically fast learners, and are excited to work. Their absence is strongly felt. But getting back into the workforce after dropping out is getting increasingly more difficult because companies only want young people that have loads of experience. The conundrum then becomes how do these young people who do not have degrees but want to get involved entrepreneurship do it? Well, they can drop into Drop-In. IARS International Institute in the U.K., MKOP in Greece, InEuropa in Italy, CARDET in Cyprus, and The Schottener Foundation Social Services in Romania have teamed up to create a strategic partnership to help these Early School Leavers (ESLs). Drop-In is an e-training and networking platform that helps train young people that do not have proper degrees. Each course is tailored to the exact needs of the young person who is taking it. Additionally, it will supply these young people with the contacts of companies that are hiring. It is easy to manage and can be done on the young person’s own time. Plus, since it is offered in many countries, it is easy for young people to travel the...

Extreme Need of the Good Life Model for Young People to Avoid Extremists

It is apparent that young people are the target of extremist groups, because they are the most vulnerable and easy to radicalise. During a person’s adolescent and teenage years they are very impressionable to the world around them. The most important thing for most of these adolescents is to find a place to fit in. It is the period of time where they want to be independent but they still have to rely on their parents and the thoughts of their peers; they do not know which way to go. All they want is to think freely, but social and economic pressures make it difficult for them to discover who they are and what they want. Their minds are so malleable that they make the perfect prey for terror groups to spread their ideology. By creating an exclusive subculture, extremists make their targets feel like they are important; their opinions are finally heard and deemed valuable. How can we avoid this? How can we save our youth before they are in trouble? There will never be one definite answer, however, emphasis on the Good Life Model (GLM) in schools and everyday life has great potential to strengthen the minds of the vulnerable and halt radicalisation. The GLM focuses on creating a balanced and well dignified life for not only young people, but all people. However, it is essential that a young person is raised in the values that it upholds so he or she can be confident in their trade and pass on their knowledge. It is human nature to want to succeed in life. There is nothing quite...