Newly published data from Berkshire Youth finds that the most important issues currently facing Berkshire’s young people are mental health and wellbeing* and school/education**. The 2021 Youth Survey, published 20 May 2021, reveals the significant detrimental effect the pandemic has had on local young people.
Recognising the huge challenges young people have faced over the last year and that many are still struggling, the charity supported a steering group of six young people from across Berkshire to create and market an anonymous online youth survey this spring. The steering group were also instrumental in shaping the report, for young people aged from 8 to 24, giving a valuable insight into what is on the minds of young people and giving them a voice.
More than 750 young people across Berkshire responded to the survey, which has shown that Covid-19 has had a huge negative effect on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and that young people are calling out for more support in this area. The report also highlights the overwhelming need for young people to have safe and inclusive spaces with positive role models to talk to, emphasising the importance of investing in both universal and targeted youth work.
Cameron, a young person on the steering group, said: “I was really pleased that so many people answered the survey. I was sad to see the self-harm rates were so high but this didn’t surprise me.”
Fellow steering group member, Freya, added: “I think it is important to do a youth survey as we can learn so much from it. We can see that there has been a trend in declining mental health but also young people are feeling more isolated and lonely. Young people are asking for safe places to have fun with their friends and I think we should listen to them.”
Berkshire Youth’s Charity Ambassador, Reading FC player Tom Holmes, stresses the importance of listening to young people: “To have over 750 young people participate in such a survey I think demonstrates that young people want to be heard. It is important that people listen and that’s what Berkshire Youth are doing. In the grand scheme of things with everything that is going on in the world right now, the sacrifices that the youth have had to make may not seem so major, however young people have made huge sacrifices for the greater cause of saving lives during the course of this pandemic. As we come out of this pandemic, I think it is important that we listen to young people and I encourage people to read this report to see the good work taking place to look after the young people of Berkshire.”
David Seward, CEO of Berkshire Youth, concluded: “We are all very grateful to the young people who have shared their voice, to trust us with their voice is a privilege. After a decade of cuts to youth services plus dealing with the global pandemic, it is important not just for Berkshire Youth but also for our partners and supporters to make every effort to listen to the young people in our communities. This report is a collation of the results which offers an insight into the concerns and worries that affect our communities. Let’s use this survey to find more positive ways of creating a future for our young people.”
* 76% of young people reported that mental health and wellbeing was an important issue facing young people at the moment
** 72% of young people said that school / education and exams are currently an important issue
About Berkshire Youth
Berkshire Youth has been serving the young people of Berkshire, delivering excellent and efficient youth support services for 80 years. Berkshire Youth supports clubs and groups to provide safe environments in which young people can explore new ideas, activities and opportunities. We do this by building on local agendas, responding to the needs of young people and local communities, offering support to local partners and direct provision as appropriate. We are proud of our track record and committed to building on it over the coming years to support young people make successful transitions from childhood to young adulthood.
Contact: David Seward, CEO Berkshire Youth, telephone: 0118 909 0927 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org