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3“RIGHT now, every young person in the UK is at a disadvantage. 16-24-year olds are seeing the biggest fall in unemployment. It is clear that COVID-19 will continue to affect lives and livelihoods into 2021 and far beyond.”

Those are the words of Jon Egging Trust (JET) CEO, Dr Emma Egging who is calling for change if the nation’s young people are to be given the opportunity to thrive.

The charity, which specialises in delivering early intervention life-skills programmes, (centred around four pillars of inspiration, teamwork, employability and leadership) is seeking to support more young people and teachers than ever by introducing a new digital toolkit, ‘JET Inspired,’ the first series of films and resources which have been developed in partnership with the Red Arrows and licenced by the Ministry of Defence to help young people to reengage with education and learn key emotional skills that will enable them to feel positive about their futures. JET Inspired offers a unique and accessible learning programme that provides young people with the confidence and emotional-toolkit to overcome adversity, identify their strengths and reach their full potential.

JET’s Area Director for the South, Allie Hack commented:

“Working with young people who have experienced challenges and difficulties in their young lives shows that often their response is to keep things safe. Where they have experienced trauma or events which have damaged their self-belief and confidence, young people do not want to push themselves to experience events that might further set them back. This limits their ambitions and leads to a lack of confidence academically and socially. Opportunities pass them by, they don’t see themselves as candidates for positions of responsibility and yet often they are extremely resilient individuals. Our programmes allow such young people to reach higher, see the value in their views and invest in their own ambitions.”

With growing awareness of the plight of young people and the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health, JET wants to see more emphasis placed on providing the emotional toolkits in schools to support young people in making the right choices. JET knows that their work is vital to changing the lives of younger generations who are increasingly disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19, and with current uncertainty, the need is more critical than ever. With ten years of experience, JET knows that what they do for young people, facing challenges in their lives, works. Bethany, now aged 19, took part in JET’s Blue Skies Programme from 2013-2016 and found it an immensely constructive experience that has helped shape her decisions.

JET CEO Dr Emma Egging commented:

“Bethany was selected for one of JET’s intensive programmes from 2013-2016 because she had low self-esteem, wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after school and was disengaging from learning as a result. When I spoke to Bethany last week she had just finished a 4hr shift at Sainsbury’s, followed by a 5hr shift at Lloyds Bank. Bethany currently works two jobs and despite being in the midst of a pandemic affecting the futures of every young person in the UK, Bethany was in great spirits. She explained that despite working 6 days a week and doing some really unsocial hours, she was happy to be in employment when so many of her friends have lost their jobs. Not only that, working two jobs enables her to rent a house with her boyfriend and save up for her degree. Bethany explained to me that she was due to start a psychology degree this year (with the aim of doing a one-year law conversation at the end), but these plans had to be placed on hold due to the crises.”

Bethany commented:

“The Jon Egging Trust made me the person I am today. Every skill that I have, comes from the foundation that JET built with me when I was just 12. Every year with the programme I developed these skills and my personality blossomed. I love who I turned out to be and I owe it all to JET. Life isn’t easy for young people nowadays, there is always pressure to study but also to work and to build a life for yourself. If you study more than you work then you lack experience and if you work more than you study you lack education and qualifications. Young people need support because these are hard decisions to make and they are stressful and now we are in a pandemic.”

As the nation strives for a new normal amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, young people’s futures are less linear than ever before and JET wants to help more young people like Bethany to find paths to success that enable them to choose a brighter future.

JET CEO, Dr Emma Egging concluded:

“The right level of support at the right time is all that is needed to turn young people’s lives around and for them to understand why learning is important to getting the right job and career for them. For some young people, this could be an inspirational talk, which encourages them to think about a career in an area they had never thought of before, for others, like Bethany (who are signposted to our Blue Skies programme), this might mean a three-year support package that changes their outlook.”

To support JET’s Emergency Appeal please visit: | 19 November 2020

2On Sunday 22 November, TV star Martin Kemp will present a short film aimed at raising money for The Children’s Trust, a surrey-based charity that helps children with brain injury and neurodisability across the UK.

Martin Kemp who has personal experience of brain injury following an operation to remove a brain tumour in 1997, said:

“I hope lots of people tune into the appeal to see why The Children’s Trust need your help. It’s a subject close to my heart and I hope the money raised continues to help more children and families across the UK access the vital support they so desperately need.”

The film provides a glimpse into the lives of three young people who have accessed the charity’s services: 14-year-old Finn who attends The Children’s Trust School, 7-year-old Amelia who has been supported by the Brain Injury Community Service team and 13-year-old Brittney who received intensive rehabilitation following a car accident.

Brittney’s Mum, Patricia, said:

“When Brittney woke up three days after her car accident, she was unable to stand, walk, talk or feed herself. However, after four months of intensive rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust including, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy, she was able to relearn all the skills she lost. Brittney is now able to walk and talk and has even gone back to school. I could not have done it without The Children’s Trust. They are lifesavers.”

The appeal will be broadcast on Sunday 22 November 1:55 pm on BBC One and will be repeated on BBC Two on Monday 23 November. The programme will also be available on BBC iPlayer after the broadcast.

For information please visit: | 19 November 2020


1As the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic become increasingly apparent, over 2,000 student volunteers continue to provide life-saving mental health support for their peers at universities across the UK and Ireland.

Nightline is confidential, anonymous, listening services run by students for students. They operate through the night to provide a listening ear for students when the majority of other support services are closed and work to reduce the number of student suicides. Nightline's are there to listen to students no matter what they want to talk about, be it mental health issues, calls of a suicidal nature or providing company for a chat. Over 1.6 million students have access to peer support through the night provided by Nightline’s 37 services across the UK and Ireland.

Since March 2020, Nightline’s statistics across the UK and Ireland show that:

  • Calls relating to academic issues have more than doubled;

  • Calls discussing depression have increased by more than 50%;

  • Students are reaching out more to Nightline volunteers for the company of a general chat;

  • As some Nightline's alter their services to operate remotely, the proportion of students contacting Nightline by Instant Messaging has more than doubled.

The beginning of this academic year has brought with it a unique set of challenges to students, including Nightline’s own volunteers. In spite of the additional personal challenges they are facing, Nightline’s volunteers have found a way to be there for students.

Maddy Swanton, Welfare Officer at Exeter Nightline, said:

“Over the past months, we have seen a significant increase in demand for our service, especially for those moving to university for the first time. With people’s usual coping strategies and support networks restricted, we have been more eager than ever to be a listening ear to support those who need our service.”

With particular concerns around isolation and loneliness, Nightline's have been quick to adapt their services so that they can continue providing support to their fellow students safely. This includes a number of Nightline's introducing the use of anonymous Instant Messaging and Email services.

Niamh Gallagher, Deputy Director at Liverpool Hope Nightline, has been doing exactly that. she said:

“Liverpool Hope’s Nightline has moved from being a phone call service based onsite to working remotely online as an IM service.”

Digital services have also increased accessibility, ensuring international students who may be studying remotely this term can continue to reach Nightline.

Nightline’s unique offering of peer support is made possible by the incredible dedication of the volunteers and their genuine desire to help.

Rebecca Mayne, Coordinator at Sheffield Nightline, was keen to thank her fellow volunteers for their work. She said:

“The pandemic has impacted student life in a number of ways: we’ve seen an increase in contacts and the change in working patterns has been difficult. Thankfully, our volunteers have stepped up, shown incredible resilience throughout, and adapted to these changes well.

“We hope to continue to provide support for students in Sheffield, particularly over Christmas where the isolating effects of the pandemic could increase.”

A number of services already offer holiday email services and it is anticipated that these will be particularly important this year.

Since its inception 50 years ago, Nightline has overcome many challenges but the impact of COVID-19 is by far the greatest it has ever faced. With the inspiring commitment of its volunteers, Nightline is rising to the challenge to ensure their fellow students receive the mental health support they sorely need. | 18 November 2020


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