SW!TCH Futures: From primary to secondary

  With the reduction of preventative programmes (including the decline of Children’s Centres), schools increasingly find that they are unable to provide effective support for students before they reach the point of being excluded.  It's not a surprise, therefore, that exclusions are rising! In our work with vulnerable young people we often see that the struggle begins at the point of transition between primary and secondary school. The goal of LifeLine's latest programme SW!TCH Futures, is to help students to build resilience in preparation for the transition, thus changing the trajectory that their life might otherwise take. Prevention is such…

Ask the Expert: Teaching in Alternative Education

Having previously worked in two mainstream schools in Redbridge and Havering, I came to LifeLine with a supply of resources, a decent amount of teaching experience, and a skill-set that had already seen me as Head of Year and as Second in Charge of an English Department in a special measures school. I was excited to start at LifeLine School because I really didn’t know what to expect, and I liked the challenge and surprise that it might bring. I felt like, professionally, I was equipped to give it a go. Throughout my entire time here, I've found myself having…

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.

Life for young people in Havering

Historically white British and relatively affluent, Havering has seen rapid urbanisation in the last decade. Dubbed ‘London’s last affordable borough’, thousands of families have moved or been moved here, forced out of inner London by high costs of living and attracted to the stock of larger houses. According to the 2019 Serious Group Violence and Knife Crime Strategy, Havering wasn’t prepared for the scale or speed of this change and the high-need of these new families, and outcomes for young people in Havering have deteriorated as a result. Numbers of Children in Need and referrals to children’s services have risen…

Five top tips for writing a winning funding application

In 20 years, we’ve written our fair share of funding applications. From small grants testing new ideas to multi-million pound tenders rolling out national programmes, we’ve won, lost and learned a great deal. Off the back of an exciting period of growth for LifeLine, here’s five quick tips for taking your applications the extra mile – hopefully towards success! 1. Check, check, check In writing, time spent checking is never time wasted. First up, make sure you read everything the funder has written– the guidance, any FAQs, the background of the organisation. Three things to look out for: Check who’s…

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.

Partnering with others helps to create community

"At the age of 23 I quit full time youth work. I was burnt out and decided to pursue my degree training and get a job in business. "During the previous three years, along with a team of volunteers, I'd had great fun working with young people. In the course of developing them to be leaders, my creative skills had blossomed and we'd taken the young people on various local, national and international peer leadership programmes. However, fun as it was, I had become frustrated with my team and peers because (I felt) they didn’t do things as well as me. Frustration caused me to think that I was the solution. A very arrogant position which caused me to burn out and eventually quit. "Eventually I got a job in South Kensington which required lots of commuter time. "My mentor bought me the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham. As I read, I started to see that my peers were not, in fact ‘useless’ but that they had different strengths to me. I realised that while there were certain skills I was strong in, there were other skills my peers would be strong in. The way to get the best out of them would be to allow each to function in their area of strength.

Young people NEED a trusted adult…

According to the charity Our Time, the cost of non-intervention for children who are affected by mental health issues is estimated to be a staggering £17 BILLION per year. Furthermore, research indicates that children living with a parent with mental illness will themselves experience some degree of mental ill-health, unless they get some early support.