Ndidi Okezie, CEO, UK Youth, said, “Over the past year, there has been a real social awakening to the responsibilities we all have to understand the experiences of others better. Both race and mental health have been firmly placed ‘on the agenda’ of critical issues; in very concrete ways. But there is still inadequate support for young people’s mental health, particularly from communities of colour.
The lived experiences and diverse cultural backgrounds of young people need to inform the services they access. Here’s where the Changemakers are required, to give young people from racialised communities a meaningful seat at the table. I’d like to thanks the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support. Without them this programme would not have been possible.”
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health, said, “Racism is toxic to mental health. Our research working with young people has highlighted the impact of racial injustice on their mental health and how this gets reinforced in their experiences of mental health support. We’re excited to be a part of this project to put young people in the lead in challenging racial injustice and improving responses to mental health.
This is also an excellent opportunity for racialised young people to be at the heart of research and evaluation to get a more accurate picture of their experiences. Their voices have been missing from the debate. We have a lot to learn, and we hope it will drive real and lasting social and system change.”
Tessy Ojo CBE, The Diana Award, said, “Whilst young people may not have been the face of this pandemic, we know they risk being among its most prominent victims, as their lives are nonetheless being changed in profound ways. Our recent survey with young people showed that two areas of concern to young people over the past year are, the increased incidents of racist bullying, with over half of young people telling us about racist incidents in their schools, and concerns over their mental wellbeing.
This project allows us to tackle these issues by going beyond the surface and providing the support needed to help young people recover, thrive and embed the changes needed for themselves and future generations.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery “This project addresses the pressing need for young people’s support services, which has escalated during the pandemic. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the charity partners have the funds to make resources fit for purpose for those who need them, and drive change to benefit young people well beyond the pandemic.”
UK Youth will manage the coordination of project stakeholders, as well as being responsible for the management of the youth advisory group. It will be the first point of contact for recruitment and pastoral support of Young Changemakers.
Centre for Mental Health will be responsible for establishing the evaluation methodology and impact tools across the project. It will resource a peer research model to lead the research phase, arm-in-arm with young people from racialised communities.
The Diana Award will coordinate the youth development programme, including training for young people in social action, mental health awareness, and emotional/social skills, bringing expert facilitators from across the partnership. It will use its expertise in matching local mentors with young people, alongside UK Youth’s network of local youth workers. This will create a local ecosystem of support for Young Changemakers throughout their projects.
People’s Postcode Lottery has made the project possible through an award of £650,000, raised by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The award is part of the Postcode Recovery Fund, designed to help communities recover from problems exacerbated by the pandemic. Since launching in 2005, players have raised over £750m for good causes across Britain and internationally.