33% rise in number of young people in Bournemouth claiming benefits for more than six months (From Bournemouth Echo)
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33% rise in number of young people in Bournemouth claiming benefits for more than six months
ALMOST one in five young people from the South West has experienced mental health issues as a direct result of unemployment, warns a new report.
Bournemouth has seen a 33 per cent increase in the number of young people claiming benefits for more than six months since the beginning of the recession.
Nationally, the report found that young people who are long-term unemployed are more than twice as likely as their peers to believe they have nothing to live for.
Dermot Finch, regional director of The Prince’s Trust, said: “Here in Bournemouth 1,600 young people are facing long-term unemployment and there is a real danger that these young people will become hopeless, as well as jobless.
“Our research highlights that unemployed young people are significantly less likely to ask for help if they are struggling to cope. Our message to them is this: there are organisations out there that can help you.
“At The Prince’s Trust, we provide vulnerable young people with sustained support, through both our long-term personal development programmes and our work within schools across the capital.
“If you are struggling to get back into work, education or training, you need not struggle alone.”
The Prince’s Trust, which tackles youth unemployment in every region and country of the UK, last year worked with 110 disadvantaged young people across the area.
The youth charity is now calling for urgent support from health agencies and employers to fund its vital work with long-term unemployed young people battling mental health issues.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, said: “This research proves that unemployment is a public health issue – and one that must be tackled urgently.
“Unemployed young people are worse off in every aspect of their lives, from their mental health to their relationships and their qualifications.
“We must act fast or risk hundreds of thousands of wasted young lives across the UK.”
The Prince’s Trust is increasing support for the UK’s most vulnerable young people through its long term personal development programmes such as the Team and Fairbridge programmes, and its shorter Get Started programme, which aims to engage the long-term unemp-loyed.
For more information about The Prince’s Trust visit princes-trust.org.uk/youthindex
Programme 'changed my life'
ALREADY enduring a difficult home life compounded by autism and dyslexia, Nat Hawley found himself penniless after his father left home.
His mother suffered a breakdown, which added further pressure to Nat’s life.
His GCSEs were looming when Nat came close to leaving education to look after his mum.
“I was afraid to leave the house because I had to look after my mum,” explains Nat, pictured right.
“I used to get really bad anxiety when I went out and I was always worried about things like paying the bills or getting enough food to eat.”
With no brothers or sisters, Nat felt like he was trying to cope on his own.
“I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my situation and I was really depressed for a long time.”
However, Nat’s life started to change when he heard about the Fairbridge programme, a Prince’s Trust personal development course that helps vulnerable young people get their lives on track.
The scheme introduced Nat to a diverse range of activities and he gained accreditations in climbing, yachting and other notable skills.
“I was sceptical about the course at first,” says Nat.
“But it changed me completely. I identified with the other members and because of the activities we learnt to trust and support each other.”
Follow-on programmes in cooking and food hygiene proved invaluable for Nat.
They enabled him to properly care for himself and his mum while she recuperated at home.
Nat is now in his third year at university and is achieving things he never thought possible.
He says: “My life has changed completely because of The Prince’s Trust and I’ll always be grateful for the support they gave me.”
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