My Journey with ERVAS and the Volunteen project

East Riding Voluntary Action Services (ERVAS) is a local organisation that champion’s and supports the voluntary and community sector in the East Riding of Yorkshire. They are an organisation that can guide and support you through all aspects of making a positive difference to your community. They can help with providing information on how to set up an organisation, develop an existing one, help you access funding and discover new opportunities. For more information about ERVAS you can find out more at www.ervas.org.uk.

The Volunteen project is run by ERVAS.  It aims to help young people  aged 11 – 25 in the East Riding of Yorkshire to increase life skills, by introducing them to new and enjoyable social activities.

Volunteen works with Secondary Schools, as well as a wide mixture of groups from the voluntary, statutory and private sector.  Their aim is to ensure that all young people in East Yorkshire have the chance to benefit from volunteering. The project is designed to increase the confidence, self esteem, skills and knowledge of young people.

2012

In 2012 I started volunteering with ERVAS whilst at school, I was a volunteer peer mentor working at school to help and support the younger students with their transition between primary and secondary school along with providing them support with any issues they may be facing whilst at school.

As part of the Volunteering for Young People in East Riding (VYPER) scheme I was able to achieve my Bronze, Silver & Gold awards for volunteering more than 500 hours.

2013 & 2014

In 2013 / 14 I started to set up my own anti-bullying project Action Against Bullying and Advice for Teachers, these two projects started to form the beginning of the new Devan Group.

I was supported by ERVAS with this as they helped me get in touch with people in the local area along with helping me gain a place on the East Riding Council Anti-Bullying Strategy Group. Being a member of this group helped me to raise awareness of my project whilst being able to have a say in how the council could form anti-bullying strategies and run various events. 

The Advice for Teachers website was created with the help of Fixers UK who are National Lottery funded through the Big Lottery Fun. They later worked with ERVAS to support other young people in the area. During this time ERVAS were supporting me with the expenses of setting up the Devan Group such as helping me towards travel costs and buying various materials that helped me to promote the work that I was doing within schools.

2015

In 2015 ERVAS supported me to become a member of the Anti-Bullying alliance, this helped me to further my network of Anti-Bullying contacts whilst also gaining more information about other anti-bullying organisations across the UK.

During 2015 ERVAS also put me in touch with Talent Match Humber (A project that is National Lottery funded through the Big Lottery Fund aimed at helping those young people that are the furthest away from the labour market).

Through this connection ERVAS supported me to attend various volunteer meetings. From this I managed to gain a seconded internship between Talent Match Humber (Humber Learning Consortium) and the Hull Youth Justice Service (Hull City Council). This happened thanks to ERVAS, they enabled me to build my confidence and work on how I could promote the work that I was doing at the time. This helped me loads when I was asked to meet with the Service Manager for the Hull Youth Justice Service through ERVAS being a strategic partner.

In October this year ERVAS jointly nominated me to receive the Diana Award where I travelled to Barclay’s HQ in London and took part in various life skills activities along with being presented the award.  Towards the end of 2015 I was invited to become an ambassador for the National Lottery. As part of this role I joined many young people in London to celebrate the National Lottery Funding, this started a campaign to show how National Lottery Funding supports so many people.

2016/17

In 2016 my internship ended and I became a full-time staff member with ERVAS (seconded to the Hull Youth Justice Service) this enabled me to further my work with the youth justice service. At the end of the year I later found out that I had been nominated for the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to children’s mental healthcare and wellbeing.

All my work mentioned has been made possible from the continued support that I have received from all of the staff at ERVAS through National Lottery Funding.

Safer Internet Day 2017 – ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet’

Today is Safer Internet Day 2017, the day is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre. The day is a celebration that sees hundreds of organisations come together and get involved to help promote the safe and positive uses of digital technology for young people.

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities; Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation. The organisation provides resources for children & young people, Schools and families. You can find out more about safer internet day at: www.saferinternetday.org.uk.

Globally, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over a hundred countries, coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe. – UK Safer Internet Centre.

Today is an opportunity for everyone to talk about and highlight the positive uses of technology and to explore the role everyone plays in helping to create a better and safer online community. The day calls upon everyone, young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers, and everyone else to join together in helping to make and create a better internet.

The Devan Group is pleased to announce that again this year we are one of the Safer Internet Day supporters. If you would like more information about how to stay safe online, or how you can become involved in a positive internet, you can visit the UK Safer Internet Centre’s website.

Alternatively if you are looking for help and support with being bullied online visit the Devan Group website where you will find information about cyberbullying in the anti-bullying pages. www.devangroup.co.uk.

 

 

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Time to Talk Day 2017

Today is Time to Talk Day organised and run by Time to Change:

The aim of Time to Talk Day is to get as many people talking about mental health as possible. At the moment, people with mental health problems are made to almost feel isolated because of their condition. They are made to feel worthless about themselves just because of how other people react.

Time to Talk Day is an opportunity for you to just have a conversation and talk about mental health. This doesn’t need to be difficult and can be as simple as making a cuppa or going for a walk.

I wanted to talk about how bullying can affect your mental health, especially the mental health of young people who are being bullied.

Bullying has so many affects that it is unbelievable, it affects everyone in a different way. Being bullied though can also affect your mental health, it causes both long and shot term problems.

Short term, being bullied can cause a young person to suffer from depression, it can also cause young people to want to self harm or commit suicide. The victim may even feel that they are unwanted or unloved. This can lead to the development of low self esteem, low self confidence or social anxiety.

Long term, bullying is known to cause chronic depression, PTSD and OCD  amongst other mental health conditions. Bullying can also impact on an existing mental health condition and cause the victim’s state of mental health to worsen. As a young person it is hard enough growing up with a mental health condition, so this being made worse because of bullying can make growing up very difficult.

I would like to encourage everyone today to talk to someone about their mental health, just ask them how they are feeling and if you are asked about your own mental health, you do not need to be ashamed to talk about it.

It’s never to late to have a conversation, have one today!

 

 

Make a Noise about Bullying

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Anti-Bullying Week in England is coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and will be from 16th – 20th November 2015. The theme is ‘Make a Noise about bullying’ with the #antibullyingweek.

You can enter their Anti-Bullying Week competition with classic musical, Wicked.

Here is the Anti-Bullying Week video for 2015:

The key aims of the week are…
  • To empower children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online;

  • To help parents and carers have conversations with their children about bullying – both as a way of preventing bullying, and to help children who are worried about bullying;

  • To encourage ‘talking schools’ where all children and young people are given a safe space to discuss bullying and other issues that effect their lives, and are supported to report all forms of bullying;

  • To equip teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied; and

  • To raise awareness of the impact of bullying on children’s lives if they don’t tell anyone it’s happening – or if they are not given appropriate support – with a focus on the impact on mental health.

 How can you get involved?
  • Share this year’s logo on your website, social networks and resources. The suite of logos can be downloaded from the ABA Resources section on their website

  • Follow them @ABAonline for regular updates on the week

  • Check out the ABA website for more information: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk

*Please note all inforation here has been taken from the Anti-Bullying Alliance website. The Devan Group are currently one of the Core Members of ABA. For more information about the Devan Group please vsit www.devangroup.moonfruit.com.

Bullying & Mental Health

Today I am looking at the issue of Bullying & Mental Heath and the problems which they both have in common.

Firstly bullying can have many short term and long term effects on a young person. Short term it can cause depression, make them want to self-harm or commit suicide, make the victim feel unwanted or even unloved. They may develop a lack of confidence or low self-esteem and even Social Anxiety Disorder [SAD].

Long term they could develop chronic depression, or a mental health condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD] and others. I have more information about the effects bullying can have on my website, created with the help of Fixers here: www.adviceforteachers.org.uk.

Young people can also have a mental health condition which makes them different, such as suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], OCD, or an eating disorder to name a few. A young person suffering with a mental health condition may then get bullied because of that, this could lead to their condition being worsened or even them developing other conditions.

Some statistics:

Out of 3,600 young people 83% stated that what they have gone though has impacted their self-esteem, and that 30% of young people bullied would go on to self-harm.

According to the independent: “Liam Hackett, chief executive officer of Ditch The Label, said the survey showed “the profound effect bullying is having on children’s self-esteem and therefore the future prospects of millions of young people across the UK”.”

This tells me that more needs to be done about raising the awareness of both Mental Health and Bullying in schools.

If you are suffering and are not sure where to go, you can contact Get Connected, Young Minds or Time To Change.

It’s never too late to speak out, contact someone today!

Notes & Source(s):

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople

http://adviceforteachers.fixers.org.uk/home/effects-of-bullying.php

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/report-10-of-bullied-teenagers-have-tried-to-commit-suicide-9262874.html

Isn’t bullying just part of growing up?

45% of young people are bullied before the age of 18 and some people believe that this is just part of growing up saying “it’s character building.”

This however is not the case, bullying can have some huge effects on young people and can also aid in the development of mental heath conditions, such as SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

“So it’s not just part of growing up?”

Out of 3,600 young people questioned, 10% said they have attempted to commit suicide – that’s a massive 360 young people! Yet a further 30% have actually self-harmed because of being bullied proves otherwise.

Some people believe that we are “running the risk of children growing up who are not going to be able to look after themselves in social situations” yet one main effect of bullying is Social Phobia…

So why do people let it happen? Its not surprising that 51% of young people are not happy with the support they receive from teachers – but why is this?

My opinion is that there is not enough information provided to schools about the issue and that some teachers have never been a victim – therefore do not understand what its like as a young person.

That is one of my main reasons for working with Fixers to create a website for teachers on how to tackle bullying. The website can be seen here www.adviceforteachers.org.uk. Fixers are an amazing charity providing young people a voice and the best part is that they reach every UK postcode.

By teaching the teachers about bullying, we can start to help change the attitude towards it, by showing that it is not accepted and not a part of growing up. If something like this causes so many problems it should be stopped once it is apparent.

There are some great organisations out there who provide help and support to victims of bullying. My main advice to anyone being bullied is to tell someone. You can start that now by contacting Get Connected.

Remember there’s always someone you can talk to, so don’t suffer in silence. Have a chat today. It’s good to be different.

Click here to contact Get Connected or visit www.getconnected.org.uk.getconnected_logo

Notes:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-490250/Coping-bullies-growing-says-child-expert.html

http://www.ditchthelabel.org/uk-bullying-statistics-2014/

http://www.headspace.org.au/is-it-just-me/find-information/bullying