Why can’t some areas attract funding to support young people?

Over the past 20 years, LifeLine has been working with local people in a range of settings. We began in outer London boroughs with statistics you'd be more likely to find in inner London. Now we have reach across east London and we're spreading out to the rest of the capital and, through the FaithAction network, across the country too. One thing we've recognised from our time in London – and it’s just as true throughout the country – is that certain areas end up being much more attractive for funders to invest in than others. It's not even uncommon…

What we’ve learnt from lockdown

Lifeline's youth work team—collectively known as SW!TCH—works with young people who are at risk of being excluded from mainstream schooling, of having poor mental health, or of being involved in Serious Youth Violence. Traditionally, this takes place both in schools through mentoring and in the community through a programme of positive activities. However, in this 'new normal', schools have been closed and social distancing makes most communal activities unsustainable. But, like we heard last time, our team aren't content to just sit back and wait for lockdown to end – we've been working hard to come up with new ways…

Youth work: averting an oncoming crisis

As we pass our 90th day in lockdown and the government has started to ease restrictions, our youth team – still out and about supporting young people – have started to observe a growing number of young people back out on the streets, along with a general lack of proper social distancing in general. After twelve weeks being stuck indoors, these young people are suddenly finding themselves under less supervision – parents are starting to return to work, but schools have not reopened yet. And we're worried that, after such a long period of boredom, they may turn to less…

Fighting loneliness in lockdown

We approach the end of our second month in lockdown, and maybe the end is now in sight. However, the road back to our old way of working is still a long one, and many restrictions will still have to be in place even after the current lockdown has lifted. One key issue we've been encountering across all our services during this time is of isolation and loneliness. This is, of course, not a new issue by any means – but the restrictions placed on us by 'social distancing' has amplified the impact of loneliness a hundredfold. Many in our…

Community: the antidote to COVID-19 isolation

Dear friends and partners across the statutory, voluntary, community and faith sectors, As the coronavirus crisis and lockdown continues, and our daily patterns of work have settled into a new norm, there are many positive things to take from what is a serious—and, for many, fearful—situation. It’s widely agreed that this will be a time of advancement in technology, medicine and science. The virus represents a particular attack on togetherness—community—seeking to plunge people into social isolation. But actually, I think it gives us opportunity to further advance what we at LifeLine Projects have believed and lived for the past 20…

A call to outer-London boroughs: wake up to the danger of serious youth violence!

We've all seen the newspaper articles. The shock story about another young person whose life has been brought to an untimely end. At LifeLine, we've had to come to terms with the news that some of the young people on our own programmes have died. It's hard news to hear. And it's equally as hard to talk to a school who doesn't want to hear the message - that some of their students are in danger of becoming involved. Serious youth violence, as reported by the media, has focused on cities - London in particular. And inner-city schools have had…

Triangulating intel – the crucial ingredient in combating serious youth violence

Last month, tragically, a teenager was stabbed (and died) while attending a knife awareness course. The event was shocking, and raised questions across the sector about how to best safeguard those who are invited to attend such courses. In our serious youth violence prevention programme SW!TCH Lives (and indeed all of our programmes), we place great emphasis on building relationship through long-term mentoring. This is the best way to get to know the individuals along with who their "ops" (opposition) and associates are. Attempting to discover this information from cold is very difficult; young people are far less inclined to talk honestly, fully, and openly with someone they don't know. We should also note that information changes rapidly and that's why a relational, rather than information-gathering, approach is essential.

Announcement today allows further expansion of SW!TCH Lives violence prevention programme

We're excited to announce that TODAY, on #WorldMentalHealthDay2019, more schools across a greater geographical area, including Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and now Thurrock will have access to LifeLine's SW!TCH Lives and VIP mentoring programme, designed to improve the life chances of young people who are on the edge of a life of violence and crime, school exclusion or poor mental health.

Leading the way, learning through play…

"There are no parks close by where I can take my child to play! We live in a high rise flat – help, where should we go?" This was the cry of parents at Little Learners Nursery in the centre of Ilford, East London. Rising numbers of parents both return to work after the birth of a child, coupled with various Government schemes on offer (including the whopping 30 hours free childcare) to make this both possible and attractive. It’s not hard to foresee tomorrow’s potential problem for today’s city-centre children. But what's the solution?

New FUNDED service for schools – supporting young people with mental health issues

Many of the young people LifeLine work with have been deeply affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – or trauma. A growing body of research has identified the harmful effects that such experiences occurring during childhood, or teenage years (for example among others, exposure to domestic violence, or substance abuse or household mental illness) have on lifetime health. Individuals who have ACEs also tend to have more physical and mental health issues as adults than those who don’t and also tend to have a shorter life expectancy*.

Working with young people who are ‘on the edge’

A friend of mine recently commented that for some young people, 'the edge' is very close. Her and her husband have prioritised family life. They place a high value on having fun together, and talking together as a family has been something they have tried to cultivate. When one of their children came back from the first term at university and described some of the things that were going on, they were able to support and point them in the right direction. This child (no longer a child!) is making positive choices about the future - career, relationships and lifestyle. 'The edge' is quite a long way off.