Vulnerable Young People To Benefit From Support To Improve Digital Skills

February 10, 2016

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The funding has been made available by the Carnegie UK Trust as part of their #NotWithoutMe project, which aims to support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland that are working to address and test solutions to the digital challenges facing vulnerable young people aged 12-25.

Projects will each benefit from £10k investment and support to promote and evaluate the impact of their work.

Gina Wilson, Senior Projects Officer at the Carnegie UK Trust and leader of the #NotWithoutMe project, said: “Young people who lack basic digital skills are prevented from doing things most of us now take for granted as part of everyday life, whether that’s seeking employment opportunities, accessing services or social experiences.

“In our increasingly digital world, the focus of the #NotWithoutMe project is on finding ways of helping our most vulnerable young people to feel included. No-one should be left behind.”

Loren Slater, Co-Director of Signal Film & Media, a digital media charity which works with vulnerable teens in Barrow-in-Furness, said: “We are based in in one of the most deprived wards in Cumbria and when we spoke to the young people about what they wanted to get out of the project, they said that they wanted to be able to better communicate with their carers and foster parents about their needs.

“We plan to use the funds to devise interesting and creative film ideas that the young people can both create and produce. We’ll also be encouraging them to stage and film a conference for would be fosterers or carers so that they can learn about what young people want and need.

“Our experience in working with young people in helping to boost their digital know-how has shown us that it not only makes them more confident about access to the internet and other digital channels but it also helps to improve their overall wellbeing and that’s what we hope to achieve from this project too!”

The Pavilion, in the London Borough of Barnet, will develop a range of interactive workshops supporting the positive use of the internet, helping students to stay safe and combat negative stresses and peer pressure. Through learning new skills in coding, filming, editing and web design alongside the creative input from a poet, the Pavilion hopes to help improve the wellbeing of vulnerable students.

Kim Price, Deputy Head at The Pavilion, said: “Our pupils are unable to attend mainstream schools for a variety of reasons and as a result they often experience significant gaps in their learning. However, they are all consumers of social media and our challenge is to ensure they are using the internet and social media channels in the right way and also safely. We want to inspire them with all the positive outcomes that digital technology can play a part in.

“We have no doubt that the funding from the Carnegie UK Trust will enable the pupils to acquire new skills quickly and we hope that the new experiences they will encounter will make a positive impact on their overall wellbeing too. We thank the Trust for their support!”

Mencap NI, the charity that supports young people with learning disabilities and their families, will run interactive digital skills sessions and create resources using digital media for use by others. Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI, said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding from Carnegie UK Trust. Young people with a learning disability are too often excluded and isolated and this funding will allow us to ensure that our young people can develop the skills they need to be safely included alongside their peers in an increasingly digital world.”

Digital Ignition, a partnership project between Young Scot and The Prince’s Trust, will encourage young people to access and use the latest technology to develop their employability skills. They’ll have the chance to co-design digital workshop training sessions and participate in an interactive jam session which will encourage young people with similar experiences to come together, and share their understanding and learnings of all things digital.

Allan Watt, director of The Prince’s Trust Scotland, said: “Too often vulnerable young people are at a disadvantage when it comes to having the confidence and digital skills which employers are crying out for.

“Our partnership with Carnegie UK Trust and Young Scot will give young people the opportunity to share their experiences and create a project which truly supports their needs.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said: “As a digital first organisation, we understand the huge role that technology plays in the lives of young people. However, many young people are often considered “digital natives”, but we know from our work with young people that access and skills are not available to all. That is why we are so pleased to partner with The Prince’s Trust to support young people in gaining these vital skills.”

The Carnegie UK Trust is inviting organisations across the UK and Ireland to get involved and support the projects, by donating digital technology or through technical support and mentoring. You can offer help or get in touch to find out more at [email protected]

Gina continued: “We are very much looking forward to working with all the organisations involved and the young people they support, and can’t wait to share what we learn.”

For media enquiries, please contact Kirsty Anderson at Grayling on 0131 226 2363 or [email protected]