The sun is shining, exams are done and school summer activities are in full swing. The end of another academic year is in sight - hurrah, you made it!
For many young people the summer holidays are a great time. Long days played away in the sun, picnics and barbeques, family trips, late nights and long lay ins (for some!). If only it was like this for everyone.
Sadly, the harsh reality is that some students do not have this experience during the long summer holidays. For them school is a place of stability, safety and support. It is important to remember, not every student is looking forward to summer!
Even before the current cost-of-living crisis that has impacted many families, the long stretch of time out of school was a risk for students who were more susceptible to grooming, exploitation and criminal activity. This is particularly true for those who do not have stable home lives with adults to protect and provide for them.
Now, with the current situation affecting so many, Barnardo's have warned that children are at greater risk of exploitation this summer. (See article) A recent study showed that families are fearing this summer will be particularly difficult because of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. With nationwide funding cuts over the years, there has been a decline in holidays clubs and summer schemes for young people to attend.
We see first hand the impact that not being in education has on young people. We are often supporting those who have been groomed and exposed to criminal behaviour. For the young people we are working with in the run up to the summer holidays, there is always a concern about what will happen to them. We know the risks that they face - the gang members who will lure them into dangerous activities, the 'friend' who will offer them an escape through drugs or the neighbour who will send them on an errand for a bit of extra cash. It's one of the reasons why we stay open through the holidays and where possible offer summer support to those who need it.
In the run up to the holiday our education team are assessing the needs of all our students and liaising with parents/carers and all professionals involved to try and ensure the best support is in place. We offer our services over the summer for those who need it.
If you have a young person who needs some ongoing support this summer, we can help. Our summer provisions are the perfect way to keep a young person safe and engaged. This also sets them up for a successful transition back into education in September.
If you would like to know more about how we can help, please click here to get in touch.