AAF deeply believes in empowering young people especially those experiencing disadvantage or those at risk of antisocial and criminal activities. We equip them with the skills and confidence to become healthy and productive members of society.
YOUNG CARER’S SERVICES
A young carer is defined as a child under the age of 18 who helps to look after a parent or relative who is living with a long term health condition, disability, mental health issue or substance dependency and can often extend to caring for younger siblings. The impact on young carers of taking on intense responsibilities can lead to reduced physical and emotional health, lower educational attainment, limited employment prospects; as well as missing out on the opportunities to be children – to socialise with their peers and engage in extra-curricular hobbies.
In the UK there are approximately 700,000 young carers; 20,000 of whom are looking after a family member affected by HIV. Our young carers activities are delivered as part of our wider work with families affected by HIV and other long-term or terminal conditions
We liaise with and provide training for faith and community leaders, schools, local social services and GPs to raise awareness of the experiences of young carers, recognising which children are undertaking caring roles; and how to positively engage with families.
Our Youth4Life Club affords young carers the opportunity to conduct activities and outings, access peer support, information and advice. We provide caring relief to young carers through trained volunteers who have knowledge and understanding of the particular issues the families are experiencing, and are familiar with the cultural, faith and language needs of beneficiaries and their families.
We address these barriers and ensure that the young people are not shouldering the majority of caring responsibilities within their families. Instead we ensure that they are supported to focus on their education, socialisation and other interests.
UNACCOMPANIED MINORS SAFESPACE INITIATIVE
With the growing humanitarian crisis sweeping across Africa and the Middle East and increasing numbers of people seeking sanctuary in the UK, there is a mounting need for those children and young people who are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian to be protected.
Often, these young people have experienced trauma in their country of origin, as well as on their treacherous journey to reach safety, and may have lost parents, siblings and other relatives; while without a strong support system in the UK they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and recruited into criminal activity. The Unaccompanied Minors SafeSpace is a new and exciting initiative providing unaccompanied young people the opportunity to gain peer support, counselling, and engage in a range of enjoyable activities.
YOUTH4LIFE GROUP (THURSDAYS)
Hosted at AAF, Youth4Life focuses on improving the inclusivity of young people those vulnerable to challenges faced by young people aged 15 - 25 who may be disadvantaged in any aspect, ranging from mental health issues to physiological difficulties. This initiative, inspired by the surge in knife crime and mental health disorders linked to academic stress, aims to identify, monitor and aid burdens within our young peoples day to day lives by offering support and solutions. This is done through monthly therapeutic art, baking and drama workshops on a Thursday afternoon, alongside an open clinic that offers 1-1 peer support, future mapping and counselling services (both internally and by referral) being readily available and accessible. In order to offer a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for our young people to turn to, Youth4Life is run BY young people FOR young people to make a dramatic perspective shifting change in our society.
At Youth4Life, young people engage in several projects in order to effectively express personal and social issues regarding mental health, sexual health and other day to day challenges. Here you can explore 'The Youth4Life Blog' which circulates around voicing the experiences, opinions and aspirations of young people who attend monthly activities at AAF.