Next Generation Evaluation 2020/21
Next Generation Nottingham, funded by the Samworth Foundation, Sport England, and the Violence Reduction Unit at Nottinghamshire Police, works intensively with young people 'who have more going off in [their] lives than people realise'.
What is Next Generation?
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the project in a multitude of ways, and the project has successfully navigated through this time to ensure young people remain at the centre of what they do. The project has faced difficulties that are common to many services during this time, and the pandemic forced innovation and change. The last year has been a time of stress, uncertainty, and difficulty for young people who were already at significant risk of harm and vulnerable to exploitation. Due to the strength of relationships, workers have been able to support young people and families consistently through this time, and never give up on them. The Next Gen team build on young people’s strengths and resilience to enable them to work through difficulties.
Over the last year, the project has worked with 23 young people.
The project takes a systemic approach to tackling the dangers to which young people are exposed, and the issues they face in their lives. The project aims to change the systems around young people so that they respond better to them, and protect them from harm.
Impact of Next Generation
- Young people have improved mental and physical health
This year has been incredibly difficult for young people, with the global Covid-19 pandemic and associated stressors having significant impacts on young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Some days Covid got bad
Despite this, there is evidence that the project is helping young people to manage their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Project workers support young people to understand their feelings, recognise their responses, and give practical tools to manage mental health and emotional wellbeing. This helps young people to manage stressors that affect their mental health.
- 80% of young people said that they had more confidence
It’s helped with my emotional health, and how I deal with things.
- Young people have their voices heard, and better education and other service experiences
Next Generation workers challenge the systems around young people to meet their needs. They advocate for young people, highlight their experiences, and bring their voice to all situations. For example, the project recognises the importance of education as providing stability and creating opportunities for young people. School exclusions have been shown to increase risk factors for young people, disrupting their chances of succeeding in education, and placing them at greater risk of exploitation. In many cases, school exclusions are responses to behaviour from young people that comes from trauma, undiagnosed or diagnosed learning needs, and struggles outside of school. The project has successfully challenged exclusion proceedings for young people:
'She has helped quite a bit with everything. I struggle in school sitting still, so they would exclude me when I’d put my headphones in to calm me down. [Worker] helped me get back into school because she didn’t think that was something I should be excluded for. I lose concentration so I need something to bring me in to focus and I explained it to her and she helped me get back into school because of that.' (Young person)
- Young people are safer
Missing episodes represent a significant risk factor for young people at risk of exploitation. For many young people, missing episodes are a coping mechanism employed to deal with conflict within the home environment, or a response to triggers, but also unwittingly place them in danger of exploitation, violence, and other harm.
Data from Nottingham City Council shows that there was a 69% reduction in missing episodes amongst the cohort of young people with whom the project has worked.
Research shows that each reported missing incident costs the Police £2,416 , so this reduction is likely to lead to significant savings for local services. It is again important to note that this only accounts for reported and recorded missing incidents. Evidence indicates that reported missing incidents account for only a small portion of overall missing episodes, and so it is likely that overall numbers are much higher than within this data.
'Without [worker] I think I’d still be in same situation as when I got arrested. It wouldn’t have changed my mindset… [but] it’s different now. I have more of an insight into grooming, to me it was do whatever, don’t say nothing, go home, but now I see it’s to do with rankings and I’ve got a bigger picture.' (Young Person)