Building connections between young peopleYST Building connections between young people
Young people feel disconnected, isolated and lonely and are less happy with their friendships than previous generations. Four-out-of-five adolescents report feelings of loneliness at some time, and almost a third describe these feelings as persistent and painful.
Feelings of isolation can be exacerbated for young disabled people, who are among the most likely to feel excluded and can also have fewer opportunities to be physically active. There are around 770,000 children with disabilities living in the UK — around 1 in 20.
Project: Allianz Dare to Believe Festivals
Building on the legacy of the Paralympics and a proud history of supporting inclusive sport, Allianz partnered with us to deliver a national series of 24 mixed sport festivals for over 100 primary schools across England. The events challenged attitudes and perceptions to special educational needs and disabilities among young people and within their local communities.
- 2,580 young people brought together to enjoy Paralympic sports like boccia and seated volleyball
- Three quarters of teachers reported that the festivals had helped their young people to make new friends or strengthen existing relationships
- 88% of teachers reported that their young people now better understood the importance of inclusive activity.
A primary school teacher engaged in Dare to Believe commented: "One of my SEND children was so positive about the experience that she had with the Dare to Believe programme that she is now attending further extracurricular clubs at school and her confidence has rocketed in her class and PE lessons. She is now a role model for other children in giving things a go."
Case study: Local People Programme
This project connects schools and communities to unlock the social benefits of sport and physical activity in local neighbourhoods, fostering a sense of pride in the community. Fatima Hussein is an 18-year-old Muslim woman from a Somali community in the London borough of Brent. Through the Local People Project, delivered by YST on behalf of the People’s Health Trust, she has been given training and support to develop her confidence and aspirations to make a change.
She said: “Through my involvement in the Local People Programme, I have developed skills to support more young Muslim girls to get active in the community. I now regularly lead football sessions and give a voice to girls in my community. What I believe matters is that a person can show empathy, friendship and a sense of humanity. Sport does just this.”