CareTech Foundation’s partnership with OnSide is called “Bridging the Gap” and is focused on upskilling staff at OnSide’s Youth Zones and providing access to stigma free, multidisciplinary mental health care to young people who are experiencing, or at risk of developing mental health issues. Trained staff are working with young people to identify problems and offer support before they reach a crisis point. The partnership is helping identify and provide mental health support to young people across the Youth Zone Network.
“I recently visited Future, Barking & Dagenham Youth Zone with CareTech Foundation’s trustees and was very impressed with the visit. You never quite know the scale of Youth Zones until you visit one and realise the diverse range of activities and support that is available. Every Youth Zone represents its host community, which makes it a natural fit for young people. The staff are passionate, motivated and invested in helping everyone there. This is why we wanted to partner with OnSide; to provide something that is unique. Being in a Youth Zone, you cannot help but appreciate that if you were younger, this is exactly the place you would want accessible to you. It keeps young people out of trouble, it motivates them to learn, be accountable and develop trust. The discipline created from boxing, basketball, football is well-documented, to express creativity by having a music studio in-house or learning life skills through learning to cook, they all add character. By adding mental health support, it becomes a one-stop-shop to gain a lifetime of skills and start to help yourself and others around you. Mental health intervention at a young age can positively shape an individual’s trajectory, this is why OnSide has been such a good partner for us. “
“I joined Carlisle Youth Zone because I wanted a place to go where I could have fun and be sociable. When I first started, I was scared and nervous and would often cry. Now I am happy to attend, and even when I feel overwhelmed, the Youth Zone helps me feel better.
I have struggled with being scared around other people and in public. During winter and the holidays I found it hard to be around my family and wanted to be left alone. I was finding school hard as I had issues with bullying and not attending school. I was not looking after myself, I just wanted to stay in my room and not mix with others. I also did not want to eat; which my mum was worried about.
The Youth Zone became a place for me that felt safe, a place I could go when I wanted to escape the house and the things I was going through. I struggled to talk to my family about my feelings and the things I was going through.I found that the youth workers at the Youth Zone would listen, I could talk to them, and they would offer support.
Carlisle Youth Zone helped me not to be scared. I can be open and calm about things I experience. The staff helped and supported me by encouraging me to face my fears . I knew they would be there if things did not go right or I had a bad day.
The free food over the winter helped to ease my mum’s worries as she knew I would be getting food and would be encouraged to eat. She could also check with staff and was able to share her concerns which helped when I struggled to talk to her.
I am more confident and happier talking about my feelings. Carlisle Youth Zone has helped me to find ways to speak to my family. I have created relationships with the youth workers who allows me to feel comfortable, I know they are looking out for me. I am now happy for them to share information with my family. The support from everyone at the Youth Zone has made me a better communicator and I know I can always ask for help.”Read more impact stories