YouthNet blogs are written by YouthNet staff and volunteers. We write about anything and everything related to our services and interests. We’re a varied bunch, so our blogs are too. Enjoy.

Co-creating apps: Lessons from designing Motimator

Hi, I’m Andy, and I’m a volunteering Development manager at YouthNet, the digital information and support charity for young people.

My role during the co-creation of Motimator (a new app that aims to help motivate young people when faced with job search setbacks) was recruiting and supporting the young volunteers who worked on the project. I learned a lot through the process and hope what I have to share might be useful to anybody else looking to co-create a digital product with stakeholders.

Co-creation workshops

 

About the app

The young people we worked with told us that thinking about their career dream and big ambition sometimes felt like a very distant and far away. With this in mind Motimator was developed to break down that big dream into achievable tasks – making that big dream feel much closer and helping you get there along the way.  It doesn’t even need to be a big dream, just something that may be a few steps down the line – like a job interview, or updating your CV, or picking yourself up after a recent setback, such as not hearing back after a job application.

The co-creation process: how we designed Motimator

In the co-creation sessions the young people created ‘personas’ – a technique that encourages young people to input their own hopes, fears, challenges and goals into these fictional personas. It de-personalises the process and can help young people solve problems for them, with digital solutions.

Over the course of three workshops, we built up the ideas with the young people; presenting them with different problems that needed solving – using our personas we added in additional motivations, and looked at motivational adverts and motivational people. We asked what the characteristics of these people and adverts are and pinned them down so we could work out how to make our app truly motivational.

The final session boiled down to creativity and practicality. Our volunteers were asked to finalise their app ideas into a digital product and pitch it to members of YouthNet and O2 staff. The winning app was Motimator. A great idea, practical enough to be made, useful enough to solve problems, and exciting to young people.

Keeping our volunteers engaged

Designing an app from start to finish can be grueling mentally – you spend a lot of time in uncertainty, trying to pin down workable ideas.

To keep them engaged (and keep their heads up) our volunteers were given opportunities to improve their workplace and digital skills throughout the project – as well as a special treat, Up at the O2, for the end of the project. We took them to Slough for an AppShed workshop, working on wireframes to create simple apps, as well as a Freeformers session that gave them basic coding skills and taught them how to create a website and create Facebook adverts. This was extremely effective in building their skills for developing their ideas into workable apps.

Five things to remember if you’re planning an app co-creation project

  1. Recognise and appreciate your young people’s contributions. We mined their minds for weeks, encouraging and asking for more and more creativity. That’s difficult for everyone sometimes and for the ideas to actually be made into a real-life app is something they should be proud of.
  2. Be sure to step back sometimes. As a project leader, it can sometimes feel that you need to step in and add your own thoughts, or encourage an idea down a certain path. Catch yourself when you’re doing this and step back. Allow the young people to solve problems on their own and as long as you’ve given the right approach, the ideas will come.
  3. The more ideas the better. It might take just a small spark from one crazy idea to get another idea really flowing and fleshed out. Encourage your group to think big and you’ll be rolling with them.
  4. Your workshops should feel techy – cool rooms, funky buildings, exciting spaces that breathe creativity and can get you and your group in the right frame of mind to create something, anything. We had the opportunity to use Telefonica Digital’s building and the volunteers loved it as it helped get their brains into tech-mode.
  5. Trust in the process. It might feel like you’re going way off tangent, but eventually you’ll bring it around – that’s all part of the journey. Trust in it and the young people, and you’ll get there.

To see more blogs and the research behind Motimator head over to the YouthNet Employability blog.

 

 

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YouthNet volunteer chosen to ‘hang out’ with HRH Prince Charles proves digital can be a force for good

A young volunteer chosen to be at The Prince of Wales’s side at his first ever Google+ Hangout tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 20 November) says she’s looking forward to chatting with the future King about how digital can be used as a force for good.

Helen Davies, aged 25, from Stockport, has been a volunteer online chat moderator for TheSite.org for the past two years. TheSite is the digital life-line for young people aged 16-25 which is run by YouthNet.  YouthNet is among the charities supporting Step up to Serve’s #iwill campaign which is celebrating its first anniversary.

Helen says: “I’m really looking forward to meeting His Royal Highness, so I can tell him more about how young people connect with and support one another on theSite. Having access to a safe, anonymous space where they can get support from their peers can be so empowering. Online often gets a bad press, so it’s important to show people how digital can also be used as a force for good.

“My experience as a volunteer for YouthNet and TheSite has been so rewarding and I’ve gained so much in the way of skills and knowledge. I’m about to begin training and supervising other volunteers, so I can pass on what I’ve learned.”

TheSite provides advice, support and information on everything from mental health to employment. Peer-to-peer live chat forums are held five days a week with trained volunteers acting as moderators to ensure a trusted and safe environment for its users. Young people using the service can remain completely anonymous and talk about anything they want to get support for, but common topics include self-harm, mental health, family and relationships.

TheSite currently has 18 volunteer moderators, all giving their time for free to support other young people. They are fully trained and supported by the YouthNet team, ensuring they have lots of opportunities to gain new skills, experience and confidence.

YouthNet CEO, Emma Thomas, says: “We’re incredibly grateful for the contribution made by Helen and our army of volunteers to the lives of the young people we support. Peer to peer support is so important and the generosity of spirit of our volunteers never ceases to amaze me.

“I’m often asked why it’s so important to provide support online. Put simply, we know that young people go online to seek help and advice, so that’s where our services need to be.”

You can join the #iwill Hangout on the 20th November at 1530 by visiting:

Google+: https://plus.google.com/events/c2m7bppgi91st94kmstunl0ja3c?authkey=CNb9-ITz66-x3gE

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y38VWobOWiI

The Google+ Hangout will also be streamed live on the British Monarchy YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel

Ends

YouthNet media contacts: kate.sidwell@youthnet.org tel: 07910 154673 or zoe.bailie@youthnet.org tel: 020 7250 5713. Out of hours: 07766 660 755

Notes to editor:

On Thursday 20 November at 3.30pm, HRH The Prince of Wales will meet young people involved in social action across the UK via his first ever Google+ Hangout.  This will mark the first anniversary of the #iwill campaign which he launched in 2013 with support from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

The #iwill campaign is run by Step Up To Serve, an independent charity set-up to coordinate all related activity.  YouthNet is among the charities supporting Step Up To Serve.

#iwill aims to make social action the norm for all 10-20 year olds in the UK by 2020.  Youth social action is defined as ‘young people taking practical action in the service of others’, such as volunteering, fundraising or campaigning.  #iwill also promotes the fact that social action not only benefits the young participants, but also strengthens their communities, creating a ‘double benefit’.

YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite, which supports around 1 million 16 to 25 year olds in the UK each year.

The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.

YouthNet has developed a range of complementary digital services to support young people:

TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health,
mental wellbeing, drugs and more

StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect.

Madly In Love- A digital service where young people can share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.

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YouthNet and Get Connected join forces in anti-bullying campaign to support young people

Following the closure of the BeatBullying Group, leading UK youth charities YouthNet and Get Connected are joining forces for an anti-bullying campaign to ensure children and young people know they have somewhere to find support.

Get Connected, proudly supported by Dixons Carphone, provides a free and confidential, multi-issue helpline for under 25s across six interactive channels, while YouthNet provide online advice, youth peer forums and signposting for a range of issues including bullying. Both charities are focussed on ensuring that children and young people affected by bullying, discrimination, harassment and anything related to these issues have a safe space to seek support.

Jessica Taplin, CEO at Get Connected, says: “Get Connected and YouthNet are committed to supporting children and young people and we will work together to ensure that all young people know where to go to access help and support.

The closure of Beat Bullying means less education on how to prevent and deal with bullying. At Get Connected, our trained volunteers help hundreds of children and young people every month by phone, text, email and web chat with whatever issue they are facing, from bullying and depression to self-harm. It’s crucial that young people have somewhere safe and reliable to turn to. Get Connected provides emotional support, helping young people navigate multiple issues before connecting them with the exact specialist support they need.”

Emma Thomas, Chief Executive at YouthNet, says: “When young people need help, very often the first place they go is online. It is vital that they have access to an anonymous, safe space where they can go for the advice and support they need – when they need it. We hope that by working with Get Connected, we can ensure that many more young people who are affected by bullying and other issues have somewhere to turn.”

Get Connected and YouthNet services are available every day of the year to provide emotional support, advice and signposting for under 25s. For more information visit www.getconnected.org.uk or www.thesite.org

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS:
For more information or accompanying images please contact Catherine Sweet, Marketing & Communications Manager at Get Connected: 020 7009 2516 / catherine.sweet@getconnected.org.uk

Media contact for YouthNet: kate.sidwell@youthnet.org or 07910 154673.

  • Get Connected is the free, confidential & multi-issue national helpline service supporting vulnerable young people under 25 all over the UK. Last year 180,378 young people accessed our services. Get Connected is registered charity number 1081840 and depends entirely on voluntary donations. Get Connected is a key partner of Child Helpline International, a global network of 173 child helplines in 142 countries.
  • Call FREE: 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm daily) / Text for FREE help 80849
    Email: help@getconnected.org.uk / Web chat: getconnected.org.uk (1pm-11pm daily)
    WebHelp 24/7: www.getconnected.org.uk
  • YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite, which supports around 1 million 16-25 year olds in the UK each year. The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.
  • BeatBullying was designed to empower young people to lead anti-bullying campaigns in their schools and local communities and devised peer-to-peer prevention strategies focussed on education to combat the problem.
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YouthNet, together with O2, launches ‘digital mate’ to motivate young people to achieve employment goals

PRESS RELEASE- 00.01hrs, Monday 17 November 2014

A free mobile app to motivate young people to achieve their career and employment goals, is being launched today by digital charity, YouthNet, together with O2.

Called ‘Motimator’, the app is a ‘digital mate to motivate’. It has been designed and developed by a group of 12 young volunteers, aged 18-24, supported by YouthNet and digital telecommunications company O2. The volunteers were recruited by GoThinkBig, which is O2 and Bauer Media’s work experience initiative.

The app has been created to inspire and motivate young job-seekers on their journey to employment whether they are currently looking for work or still in education and planning their future career.

The innovative project follows research by YouthNet and Nominet Trust* which revealed that for young people their phone was a trusted friend and – like any good mate – should be a supporter and motivator.

This is how the app works. Once you’ve downloaded Motimator free for iPhone, iPads and Android devices from www.motimator.org, simply pick a ‘motivation mate’ from the app’s menu and then sit back as your mate sends you daily tips and inspiration, plus facts about getting into the industry of your choice.

The tips and hints from Motimator are taken from TheSite, the UK’s trusted information source for young people (run by YouthNet), and from GoThinkBig.co.uk among others.

You can even personalise Motimator, by uploading your own image (or someone who inspires you) to help give you that extra kick-up-the-arse to achieve your goals.

Five cool things that Motimator can do:

  • Provide you with expert advice and tips on how to achieve your career goals.
  • Help you to bounce back from setbacks: Motimator is your very own personal cheerleader, giving you the confidence to stay upbeat through the bad job-hunting times.
  • Break down overwhelming goals into daily bite-sized ones, making even the biggest ideas feel more achievable.
  • Make you stand out from the crowd: in an increasingly competitive job market, Motimator’s insider tips can help you break into the industry of your choice.
  • Help you to stop just talking about the career you want, and focus on getting it, by sending you daily messages of encouragement.

What’s more, Motimator is linked to TheSite – which features thousands of advice articles and videos, opportunities for live chats with experts and a thriving community, all there to help.

Among those involved in the research, design and development of Motimator was 19 year old Ahdab Nasir, a Bsc Multimedia Computing student at Westminster University. She says: “We looked at the struggles young people found when looking for employment and thought how we could solve this digitally. We brainstormed the idea in different ways and even did an Apprentice like activity where we pitched our ideas to the YouthNet and GoThinkBig staff who were in the roles of Lord Sugar and his team.

“I’ve learnt so many digital skills and it was really interesting to be involved in every stage of the process. I’m really proud of the final Motimator app and I hope that it will help other young people to fulfil their employment goals.”

YouthNet Chief Executive, Emma Thomas, says: “We hope that through Motimator, we can support and inspire young people to stay motivated, take positive action when seeking employment and improve their future employability prospects. Our thanks go to O2 Go Think Big for supporting this project, and to all the young people who devoted their time and energy to making this app a reality.”

Tracey Herald, Head of Community at O2, says: “The Motimator app is a great example of the role that digital technology can play in improving access to advice and opportunities that will help young people to achieve their employment goals. The app provides a welcome addition to our existing digital support for young jobseekers through GoThinkBig. We’re delighted to work in partnership with YouthNet and a group of talented young volunteers to help many more young people on the path to employment.”

Ends

*Source: Supporting young people through mobile technology, YouthNet and Nominet Trust, 2012. http://mobilesupport.youthnet.org/insight/

If you would like to interview the young people involved in the project, please contact the YouthNet press office.

YouthNet media contacts: kate.sidwell@youthnet.org tel: 07910 154673 or zoe.bailie@youthnet.org tel: 020 7250 5713. Out of hours: 07766 660 755 or @YouthNetUK

O2 Press Office: pressoffice@o2.com or 01753 565656.

Notes to editor:
YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite, which supports around 1 million 16 to 25 year olds in the UK each year.
The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.
YouthNet has developed a range of complementary digital services to support young people:
TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health,
mental wellbeing, drugs and more
StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect.
MadlyIn Love- A digital service where young people can share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.

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Panic attacks are a monster of a problem for young people, but you don’t have to be under X-Factor pressure to experience them, says YouthNet

PRESS RELEASE – 13 October 2014

YouthNet, the online charity for young people, is today (13 October) launching The Panic Attack Monster – an online awareness campaign aiming to de-stigmatise and de-mystify panic attacks among young people.

In the past week alone, it’s been reported that X-Factor contestant Helen Fulthorpe has had a suspected panic attack, while schoolboy Charlie has bravely spoken out

about his panic attacks on Channel 4’s Educating the East End. Fashion blogger Zoella has also revealed she has them. Yet despite the headlines, panic attacks are commonly misunderstood. The reality is they can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and you don’t have to be under X-Factor type pressure to experience them.

YouthNet, which is the charity behind digital life-line TheSite, has created a series of 30 second videos starring The Panic Attack Monster – a fictional character who represents how it feels to have a panic attack.

Panic attacks are experienced by a third of young women and one in ten young men in the UK.* Despite this, panic attacks are widely misunderstood. Many young people who have panic attacks don’t fully understand what they are experiencing or where to get advice on how to cope with them. They can often feel they aren’t being taken seriously and feel stigmatised.

Panic attacks are severe attacks of anxiety and fear that often come on without warning and can last up to 20 minutes.  They cause a number of symptoms such as a pounding heart, sweating, shaking, elevated pulse, and an intense feeling of needing to catch a breath.  Panic attacks can even make you think you’re about to die, though you’re not actually in any danger.

The Panic Attack Monster character in the campaign is an unpleasant character in a green furry suit with demonic horns.  He can attack any time, but everyday scenarios depicted in the campaign, include: being in a contained space such as a lift, being at the cinema, and social situations like approaching someone you don’t know in a bar.

YouthNet Chief Executive, Emma Thomas, says: “You don’t have to be under X-Factor pressure to experience a panic attack, they are commonly experienced in ordinary, everyday situations. Yet young people who come to TheSite seeking support, often tell us they don’t want to admit they experience panic attacks for fear they’ll be misunderstood by their family and friends. Many say they are worried they are ‘going crazy’ and feel very isolated as a result. We know that young men in particular, are less likely to open up about having panic attacks.

“We hope that through using humour in our Panic Attack Monster campaign, we can get more young people talking about panic attacks and begin to reduce the stigma surrounding them. We can’t stop young people from experiencing the terror of panic attacks, but we want them to understand them better, so they can seek the support and advice they need.

The Panic Attack Monster campaign is at home on YouTube. There are four thirty second adverts being released over the next three weeks.

To visit The Panic Attack Monster, please go to: www.TheSite.org/PanicAttackMonster

You can further support the campaign by signing up to our social Thunderclap – to help young people tame the Panic Attack Monster – and break down the taboos surrounding him:

Ends

* Source: Prince’s Trust. January 2014

Notes to editor:

YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite, which supports around 1 million 16 to 25 year olds in the UK each year.

The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.

YouthNet has developed a range of complementary digital services to support young people:

  • TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health,
    mental wellbeing, drugs and more
  • StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect.
  • Madly In Love- A digital service where young people can share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.
  • Makewav.es – YouthNet contributes to this social learning environment, which provides social media for education.
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YouthNet volunteer weekender

At the end of July, volunteers from across four different project groups met in London to share their knowledge and experiences of being a YouthNet volunteer.

During 2014, YouthNet has been running four project groups, each one relating to an area of our work. The groups are composed of a team of young volunteers who are acting as our consultants and every month we launch a set of activities for them to get involved in. To date we’ve had an anxiety and depression project group (DA Warriors), a youth employability project group (Job Squad), an app creation project group (Project Magenta) and TheSite.org’s community redevelopment project group (Community Champions).

After a fantastic weekend, three of our volunteers, Jack, Becki and Claire wrote individual blogs about the weekend and I’m going to try my best to do them justice by featuring parts of their blogs to paint a full picture.

The agenda for the weekend

The focus of the weekend was giving volunteers the tools, confidence and language to speak about their volunteering with YouthNet to friends, family and potential employers. To bring that to life, we organised for a representative from Speakers Trust to join us Saturday afternoon, but first the volunteers from the different project groups got together to reflect on their experience.

Jack – “Our workshop leader made us confident to speak on what we’re passionate about.”

“As there was such a diverse blend, the initial activity got us to reflect, or anticipate, on the emotions, successes and challenges we’ve faced in our individual groups. Some of the benefits of taking part were unsurprisingly similar – writing blogs, contributing to the work of the organisation and receiving great opportunities as a result of our volunteering.

Following that, a special visit from the Speakers Trust came to get us up on our feet and more able when speaking to an audience. Focusing on some of our initial anxieties about this activity, our workshop leader sought to debunk some of these inhibiting fears and make us confident enough to speak on what we’re most passionate about. The exercises tested our ability to think on the spot when being just given a topic, or even an object, to speak on.”

Becki – “Despite being scared of public speaking, I spoke from the heart and made everyone cry.”

“I hate talking in front of people and never in a million years thought I’d be able to do it… But I did! Whilst I was standing in front of everyone every inch of me was shaking. But I knew that if I didn’t push myself, I’d never be able to do it. My final speech was quite an emotional one. We had to talk about why we volunteered for YouthNet. I spun it around a bit and spoke about the weekend mostly and the things I felt I achieved. Helen said to speak from the heart and that’s exactly what I did. But I made all the staff cry, including myself. Sorry guys!”

Claire – “Volunteering has changed me as a person.”

“The speeches were very inspiring, some of the lovely speeches about how much volunteering with YouthNet has helped them. I for one also agree how much volunteering with YouthNet has changed me as a person. I love every minute of it, and I love helping.”

Introducing our latest volunteer project group – community champions

In honour of our recently launched community champions group, on the Sunday we changed gears slightly and as a team we put our heads together to think of ways on how we could further engage TheSite.org’s online community. Community Champion volunteers are injecting their innovative and brilliant ideas into all aspects of TheSite.org’s online community: live chats, discussion board, layout and even content, to ensure that TheSite.org’s community continues to be fresh and a place where young people feel safe and comfortable. In order to help them kick start the project, we all contributed our ideas on TheSite.org as we know it and how we want to know it.

Jack – “Sharing ideas on how to improve TheSite.org.”

“Today’s focus would be put onto their online service, TheSite, and to share ideas on how improvements or changes can be made. The activity for this included how the group would imagine the website as a political party or a music festival! As odd as those similarities may sound, there were various aspects which we found TheSite could benefit from, like VIP benefits and meetings among website volunteers. From that, we then stuck our own post-it notes on what next steps we would like to see TheSite take to improve its services.”

Becki – “Until next time.”

“Before I knew it, it was time to go home. I was a bit disappointed actually because I had such an amazing weekend I didn’t want it to end! So thank you to everyone that helped me have an enjoyable weekend and hopefully I will see you all soon.”

I’d like to echo Becki’s final words and say thank you to everyone who was involved in such a brilliant weekender. Until the next one in October!

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Digital charity YouthNet announces the appointment of a new Chair

Luke Taylor, Global Chief Executive of the world’s leading marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi will become the new Chair of YouthNet, following the decision to step down by current Chair and Founder, Martyn Lewis.Lewis has been Chair of YouthNet, which provides digital support for 16 to 25 year-olds, since creating the charity in 1994.

A well-known television journalist, Lewis has been involved in the charity sector for more than 30 years, holding several trustee and Chair posts.Speaking about his decision to step down, Lewis said:

“As Chair, I have a clear duty of care to the charity I founded to ensure it is fully equipped to take advantage of the rapid changes in the digital revolution to deliver the support young people need. A key part of that is choosing the time to hand over the baton to a successor with a formidable track record in digital innovation. Luke fits the bill perfectly. I couldn’t be more delighted that he is taking the helm, and am confident that he will work extremely well with our inspired Chief Executive, Emma Thomas, to further develop YouthNet’s digital support for the benefit for young people in the UK today.

“It is 20 years since I founded YouthNet. It is embedded in my DNA, and I would like to thank the many wonderful people and organisations who have given the charity so much help and support along the way. I am honoured that Luke and the Board have asked me to remain involved and become YouthNet’s ‘Founder At Large’, so that I can still be available to help in whatever way I can.”

Incoming Chair, Taylor, has been Global Chief Executive of marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi since 2013. Prior to this he was Global Chief Executive of public-listed LBi, where he implemented a series of successful strategic transformations to ensure that the agency thrived in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.

Talking about his new role with YouthNet, Taylor said: “YouthNet’s innovative approach to developing digital support for young people is truly inspiring. It’s hard to think of another charity so in tune with young people’s needs and so entrepreneurial in spirit.

“I feel privileged to be taking over the position of Chair from such an esteemed founder and look forward to helping YouthNet achieve its ambition of reaching even more young people with its unique brand of support and advice.”

YouthNet supports 1 million young people each year through a range of digital support, primarily through its flagship service, TheSite.org, which helps them to develop the social and emotional skills, resilience and determination to cope with life’s challenges.

Chief Executive, Emma Thomas said: “Martyn has worked tirelessly to champion the needs of young people, the powerful role of digital, and YouthNet’s continued delivery of services which make a difference.  It has been a real pleasure to work with him.  Whilst he is stepping down, I am pleased that he will stay connected and grateful for his continued support.

“We are delighted to welcome Luke to the Board and know he will be a great addition to the organisation as we develop further innovative new digital services to impact on young people’s lives and look to support 1.6m young people a year by 2016.”

-ends-
Notes to editorsAll media enquiries: Zoe Bailie, YouthNet, 020 7250 5713Email: zoe.bailie@youthnet.orgNote that Martyn will be continuing as Chair of NCVO, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and Families of the Fallen.

About YouthNet

YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite, which supports around 1 million 16 to 25 year olds in the UK each year.

The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.YouthNet has developed a range of complementary digital services to support young people:

  • TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health,mental wellbeing, drugs and more
  • StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect.
  • Madly In Love- A digital service where young people can share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.
  • Makewav.es – YouthNet contributes to this social learning environment, which provides social media for education.

About DigitasLBi

DigitasLBi is a global marketing and technology agency that transforms businesses for the digital age. We help companies of all shapes and sizes decide what’s next… and then we take them there. In 25 countries around the world, across 40 offices, there are more than 6,700 digital experts working to enrich people’s lives via our unique blend of strategy, creativity, media and technology.

Our skills span insight, brand building, content creation and distribution, as well as the ability to help clients organise themselves for the consequences of the change. We act as strategic partner to some of the world’s most exciting brands across travel, financial services, FMCG, publishing, telecoms and retail.

There are many things that make DigitasLBi unique but if we had to choose one it would be our ability to connect data with storytelling to help make brands special, shareable and more ultimately valuable wherever, whenever and however people choose to engage with them.

 

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YouthNet Live – London Technology Week

Yesterday, amidst the buzz of London Technology Week, YouthNet gathered with over thirty corporate organisations for the fifth of our Cycle of Innovation events at the wonderful Think Big Hub in Shoreditch.

It was a chance to immerse guests in how YouthNet uses technology to support thousands with their employability through our digital lifeline TheSite.org.

It included hands-on demonstrations of our services alongside the Job Squad – a group of young volunteers who’ve been integral to shaping our work into employability.

Indeed, by working with our Job Squad to look at young people’s employability needs and the gaps digital could look to fill, YouthNet has identified four key areas that together offer comprehensive support into employability which were shared with guests.

These are that young people require:

  • Emotional support to keep young people motivated and resilient
  • Better able to benefit from practical support
  • To realise the skills and experience they have to offer
  • To plot a path into suitable employment by understanding their options and what employers are looking for

It was a fantastic opportunity to show guests that by creating the right support at the start of a young person’s journey and throughout, we can help deliver to these needs and in turn, support young people toward becoming more resilient, more motivated and to understand their strengths so they can make the most of the practical support on offer to get them into work.

Staff and young people from YoutNet’s Job squad were able to demonstrate the power of YouthNet’s emotional support, which is so crucial for young people to be able to access in parallel to practical support, being delivered via our content, the peer to peer community boards and our Live chat services on TheSite.org.

Indeed, Juliet one of our young keynote speakers today, said that without support around resilience and self-knowledge, practical support can be hard to use to its full potential.

“When you keep getting rejected from jobs it can dampen your confidence. It’s hard to pick yourself up.”

Guests were also treated to an insight into Goal Guru, a new digital product developed by YouthNet, our young volunteers and O2 Think Big – that uses push notifications to keep a young person motivated and has just gone into production –  exactly the kind of employability support that digital could look to fill.

Some of us might have forgotten just what a key transition into adulthood this is – a transition that sees a young person move from the structured, supported environment of school to increased independence and getting by on their own.

Not surprisingly, this challenge can be daunting and the rejection it sometimes entails demoralising. Young people can feel unprepared and unsupported so we need to work together to develop solutions that will help them on this complex journey.

For me, it was inspiring to be in a room with so many others who share a passion for supporting young people to achieve their potential and the belief that digital can provide new, truly innovative solutions to improving young people’s employability.

It takes strong partnerships to deliver the right support for young people and we look forward to continuing the many conversations that were started .

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our Job squad – all of whom are at different stages in their employment journey and who have played a vital role in sharing their personal experiences and creativity to seek to help more young people by working alongside YouthNet.

Also to the brilliant AJ King from Kiss FM who took the time out  to share his experience with us, Ben Plain from O2, the staff at O2’s Think Big Hub and of course each and every one of our guests for coming along.

 

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Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories- Jack

To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here’s Jack’s blog…Jack Welch

Having known YouthNet through a number of the youth projects in volunteering across a number of local and national organisations, I finally discovered a way to be involved in March this year as they recruited for their new ‘Job Squad’ through the social media networks I often use to discover opportunities and events going on beyond my local area. But what exactly was ‘Job Squad’, I asked myself? As it turned out, finding this new project through social media turned out to be very appropriate for the occasion, as YouthNet are going through a period of research (known as the ‘Cycle of Innovation’) where they are essentially looking into the digital tools that supported young people into finding employment. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a young person who would help the charity support their findings into some of the challenges our generation faces at the moment and inputting into their ideas for a creation of a new digital source which may just help more young people become ‘job ready’ and prepared for the wider world.

I’m very excited to see the results from our research with the charity, as each session has offered an inventive and stimulating formula in looking at the various needs young people have in finding a job in different areas of the country. As a university student that has now finished my degree, it will be great to see if any new effective tools for job searching will help people such as myself pursue an ideal place for employment.

The project’s been a great way to practice my team-work and communication skills, as well as using my own initiative when it came to creating my own ideas for some of the exercises involved. I very much hope to stay involved with future YouthNet activities and support their work for getting a wide array of young people in the country in putting their digital skills for good use.

Our thanks to Jack for his blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities
or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

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Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories

To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here’s Lauren’s blog…

My name’s Lauren, I’ve attended a weekender with YouthNet working on a mobile app for handling stress and I also help out on the boards on TheSite, something I began back in January however despite beginning 4 months back it hasn’t taken hours and hours of my life away. The boards are where topics are discussed and advice given, its similar to meeting a friend for coffee as you’re engaging with real people who perhaps want support or just a good movie recommendation. Where its all online there’s no pressure to contribute where you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the time.

I went for it because being a college student I feel now is the time to begin giving back, I’m at the stage I can look after myself but am not yet living alone and facing a mountain of responsibilities; I have the time and should give some up for others.

Skill-wise I’d say I’ve gained the ability to distance myself (not get too attached to those I’ve just met) while putting myself in their shoes at the same time therefore allowing me to compassionately provide advice where I can. I’ve not done any voluntary work before YouthNet and found it was a very nurturing place to start as I never felt alone or unable to do anything.

Our thanks to Lauren for her blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

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