For Mental Health Awareness Week, young people working with Gazebo Theatre to write and perform a special song. Here it is!
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and a wide range of activities are happening around the city, in support of the theme of the week, which is "Stress: Are We Coping?". Here's a video clip from the Place To Be activities running from Bilston Town Hall with HeadStart partner Gazebo Theatre!
A HeadStart Easter: NewsHounds footage from emotional well-being activities for young people and parents.
Two new videos from the Newshounds out of the Low Hill / Scotlands / Bushbury South HeadStart area!
'Mind your Health' was a free drop-in event for young people at the Bob Jones Community Hub, on Wednesday 21 March and the HeadStart Wolverhampton team were on hand to offer support and advice on local services available for young people, parents and families.
The drop-in session also offers the chance to participate in fun workshops including creative arts, dance, and fitness from a range of local organisations, and to find out about the facilities available at the Bob Jones Community Hub, including the gym, dance studio, martial arts, yoga and more.
Our HeadStart Newshounds captured it all. Here is their video!
What are volunteering initiatives?
Volunteering Initiatives are different things you can do to volunteer. There are a ton of things you can do to volunteer and help others, some of which I’ll be talking about in this article.
Why do people get involved?
People volunteer for various reasons. One of those reasons being the fact that it’s time consuming. Especially in the holidays, young people have a lot of spare time. What better way to spend it than doing something that you enjoy doing, and benefit other people at the same time?! How do young people benefit from volunteering? Volunteering has many benefits. For young people, it’s great work experience. Most people volunteer for something that they enjoy doing. That way it doesn’t matter that they don’t get paid, because they’re enjoying themselves and it’s not about the money. Volunteering also widens your horizons and gives you a taste of what it would be like to be in that profession fell time. I used to volunteer at the stables, because I really loved horses. However, I didn’t just go there and say “Hi can I volunteer to look after your horses?” I had to be going there for some time first, so they knew me and knew that I knew what I was doing. I benefited from it because I was doing what I loved, and if later on, I went somewhere to apply for a job as a stable hand, I’d have all these years of experience.
How can I volunteer?
You can volunteer by going to the actual place that you’d like to volunteer at and offer your services. Some places also have signs and posters asking for volunteers. Unfortunately, you can’t really apply online for volunteering, you’ll more than likely have to turn up in person. Where can I go to volunteer, and what can I volunteer to do? Where you volunteer really depends on what your interests are, and where you would like to volunteer. When it comes to volunteering, it’s really important that you’re doing something that you enjoy, and something you want to do, because that’s the only thing driving you to do your best. If you were getting paid, you could say “I’d better do a good job or else I won’t get paid.” With Volunteering, you have to want to do a good job. Some teens volunteer to sit with the elderly. Older people enjoy the company, and it’s nice for young people to spend time with their elders.
You can also volunteer to help with children. Places like nurseries would be more than happy for the help. You could also volunteer to be a dog walker. If you really like dogs, this would be a really enjoyable responsibility for you. Christmas is also a great time to volunteer, a time to think about others who may be less fortunate than you are. Darlington street church on Darlington Street Wolverhampton opens every Christmas day to feed the homeless. I know my parents and many others who have volunteered to go there on Christmas day, and help hand out food and spend time with people who may not have anywhere to go on Christmas.
Why is it sometimes hard for me to volunteer?
Some jobs or professions, are so sought after, that there just aren’t any openings, even for volunteers. Some people are money-driven, and that can make it really hard for them to volunteer. You could also end up working as a volunteer, next to someone who’s getting paid, and thinking “why should I do for free something that they’re getting paid for?” The young people also have to be responsible and trust worthy, which is why some people are wary when hiring volunteers. It’s been known that some people have volunteered to sit with elderly, took advantage of their vulnerability and stolen from them. It can also be hard for a young person to find somewhere to volunteer at.
How can the Aladdin's Community Centre help?
The community centre could help the young people find volunteering jobs, and make sure that they’re safe. They could also set up a weekly club, where young people could get together and volunteer to do things that will help the community. You could also get in touch with council, who are bound to have a list of things that young people could volunteer to do.
Volunteering is a great, fun thing to do. As long as it’s kept safe, it can prove beneficial to a lot of people. It’s a great thing to do to get young people out of the house, and to give them a feel of what it’s like working in the real world.
The views expressed by our Newshounds are their own, and reflect their feelings and thoughts
What is social media? Quite a simple question, but not so much with the answer, what really is social media? Social media has now become the world, social media is celebrities. Trends, fashion, news, education. Social media doesn’t evolve around us anymore, it has now become as if we are evolving around it, as if we depend on media to satisfy our mental wellbeing just as much as we depend on food and water for our physical wellbeing.
In my opinion, there is no social in social media, while you are staring at a screen texting, typing or FaceTiming. The meaning of ‘social’ has changed a lot throughout the years; before it meant going outside, meeting new friends, interacting with people but now it’s how many ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ you have, how many people have liked, commented or retweeted your post.
But are you really helping yourself or are you putting yourself into greater depression? Does your self esteem and happiness in life depend on comments and likes, until your mood depends on every time the little blue bird on Twitter flies or every time someone on Instagram tags you in a popular post. If so, who knew that a little blue bird could drag you down so low until you had no self esteem? Who knew that Instagram could make you feel so insecure. Who knew? But that is the case in some people’s lives, not only teenagers but adults too.
Now don’t get me wrong, social media is amazing. It connects the world and empowers us all to make better decisions about our lives. At the same time it can be very addictive and make us very antisocial. Nowadays teenagers spend most of their time online. A recent study shows that an average teenager is on social media for about 35 hours per week, that’s 5 hours per day spent on social media.
Teenagers are now spending so much valuable time, interacting with each other on social networks and phones that they are growing less comfortable with face to face interactions and not developing their basic social and communication skills. From personal experience, I have witnessed teenagers who have a huge follow base on social media and are very active online yet they’re too anxious to even approach someone.
Teenagers need to be told the consequences of spending too much time online and schools and community centres should start teaching communication skills to those who are antisocial. Community centres are helping by offering more youth groups only for teenagers where they can meet new people and learn or participate in fun activities instead of staying at home scrolling through their phones. This will mean that not only will teenagers spend less time on their devices but also spend more time meeting other teenagers and being active for a change.
The views expressed by our Newshounds are their own, and reflect their feelings and thoughts about the areas where they live.
Anxiously walking through Heath Town, many fear its reputation for crime, as it is one of the most dangerous areas of Wolverhampton. However, amidst the hate and violence lies ‘Hope’ a non-government funded charity which gives the troubling youth of Heath Town and other areas of Wolverhampton hope and optimism for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the children of Heath Town and Wolverhampton are incredibly vulnerable, from young ages these children are exposed to hate, violence, crime, drugs etc. How can any child be exposed to this great level of violence? However, it is happening; on the streets of Wolverhampton, there is an unprecedented number of children who are isolated and helpless, ‘Hope’ reaches out to these children. ‘Hope’, as the name suggests, gives these children hope, optimism and dreams for the first time in their lives, just as every child should have.
‘Hope’ began in 1985, when two Catholic sisters set it up to help the people of Heath Town, the services of ‘Hope’ have changed since 1985, to reflect and respond to the needs of the local community, for example, they offer services such as English lessons to compensate for the large number of immigrants living in Heath Town. This is incredibly important as there are many people living in Heath Town who cannot speak or understand English, therefore their lives are heavily affected by this. Despite this, what hasn’t changed is their commitment to helping people who are experiencing difficulties or people who are disadvantaged or excluded by society. It is this factor that makes ‘Hope’ such an amazing and life changing charity.
There are several services which ‘Hope’ provides, one of which is visiting elderly homes and arranging day trips for the elderly. This is incredibly important due to the high number of pensioners who suffer from loneliness and lonesomeness. The elderly are left abandoned in their old care homes, abandoned to just stare at the same walls every single day. ‘Hope’ brings purpose and excitement back to their lives and supports them, bringing them happiness, something they have missed for a large amount of time. In addition, ‘Hope’ offers support for women who suffer from domestic abuse and helps them escape the horrendous mistreatment and injustice that they have faced their whole lives. This is essential as domestic abuse is on the rise. Furthermore, ‘Hope’ runs a youth group and gives one-to-one advice to enable young people to make informed decisions. The youth club includes school clubs, social groups, outings and workshops. This enables them to provide social opportunities, fun, friendship and support to the youth. Children of Heath Town are indoctrinated into a world full of hate, crime and violence. Educating or raising awareness around areas such as gang activity, teenage abuse drug addiction and child exploitation has never been so vital. ‘Hope’ and other youth centres is the solution to such ssues in Wolverhampton, however, ‘Hope’ is the only youth centre in Heath Town and it does not have the capacity or the funding to help everyone.
We spoke to Dianne Garbett, one of the only workers in ‘Hope’. Dianne exclaimed “Gang activity and online safety is a huge concern in Wolverhampton, especially Heath Town, Hope is essential in ensuring that young people are not vulnerable and are fully educated in the dangers of gangs and social media”. Later, Dianne also stated that there was no government funding for ‘Hope’ and that there was a huge shortage of workers and Hope depends on amazing volunteer staff. ‘Hope’ holds summer activities, after school clubs and weekend activities for youths to take part in completely free of charge. We were give an amazing opportunity to visit ‘Hope’ and speak to their amazing staff members.
As the six weeks holiday draw a close, many children are coming back from family holidays or going to local parks with friends for last minute endless fun. Aspiring Futures decided to combine family + fun with a trip to West Midlands Safari Park. As we went on the safari some of us were given cameras to capture what we saw and did. We discovered the rare white tiger. The reason they don’t look like a typical orange one are due to a lack of yellow and red pigment development at birth. They were real cool.
We also saw hippos, giraffes, ostriches and antelope. After the safari we got to go into the main park to look at dinosaurs, amphibians and go on the ride. I enjoyed this, spending time with my friends and looking at new animals. Here are some pictures we took:
You come home from a long day at school. Changing into some workout clothes, you fill up your bottle of water and go for a run. If not, you go to the gym, or some form of exercise club. When you get home, you grab an apple and help your mom make a lentil lasagne for dinner. While it cooks, you go upstairs and do your homework. After dinner, you do the dishes and then watch television for an hour. You then get your stuff ready for school the next day, and go to bed at 9 to ensure that you get at least 9 hours sleep.
Does this sound like your evenings? If so then well done, if not, you’re probably no different to the majority of kids your age. This however, does not make it right. The average teen gets around 7 hours of sleep, when in reality, they need between 9 and 9 half hours. But why do kids stay up so late?
It is said that teens are spending an average of 9 hours consuming media each day. Whether it be listening to music, watching videos, texting, reading etc. But do they spend the same amount of time sleeping? Maybe parents should allow their kids a certain amount of tv/mobile phone time each day, or maybe the teen can do it themself! If you say to yourself, ‘Okay so I’ll spend 2 hours on homework, and then watch an hour long tv program and spend an hour on my phone.’ By organising and having structure, we can ensure that there is a balance.
Diet is also a major problem with Britain’s teens. If you go to LA, you’ll find Smoothie Stops around every corner. Here you’ll more than likely find a Mcdonalds or a KFC. Obesity is responsible for about 1 in 10 deaths in Britain, and costs the NHS £5.1 billion each year.
But let’s be honest. You can go to Mcdonalds and get a cheeseburger for 99p. But if you want to go to subway, for a healthier sandwich, you’re looking at £3.50. It’s not hard to see why teens are more likely to go to Mcdonalds than Subway. It’s “Cheap and Cheerful.” Fast food that tastes nice, but not at a large price.
So how can we solve the problem?
Britain needs healthier takeaway places. We have Vegetarians, Pescatarians, Flexitarians, Pollotarians, Vegans and a whole lot more. What do we have for them? We need to start catering for the minority, and even if you do eat meat, you should still be able to eat somewhere healthy that isn’t three times the price. Eating healthy should be a cheap and easy option. It’s also important that the food tastes nice. Nobody is going to choose dairy free chocolate over the normal one, because it taste’s unpleasant in comparison. We need to make our teens eat healthy because they want to. You’re much more likely to do something if you enjoy it, than if you have to.
Exercise is a vital element of staying fit. Sure, kids have PE, but do they enjoy it? Teens should have a range of activities they can do in PE, it shouldn’t just be a case of today everyone’s going to do this or that sport weather you like it or not. because we’re all different and enjoy different things.
It’s a known fact that girls exercise a lot less than guys, a problem that the government is now addressing with nationwide media coverage of the women’s national football and cricket team. The idea is that by exposing girls to women participating in sports, they’ll be influenced to start sports themselves. It’s a step in the right direction but a bigger step would be to provide PE activities that girls enjoy. Like what? Well a lot of girls like dancing to music so why not incorporate dance classes or aerobic into PE for girls. I’ve taken dance classes, and found it really enjoyable. The secret to winning this battle of getting girls to exercise is to give them an activity they enjoy so you won’t have to push them to do it.
We also need more youth gyms. You can’t join the majority of gyms unless you’re 16, and under 16’s need to exercise as well. Perhaps there should be specific days at the gym where under 16’s can work out. Sure there needs to be an age limit, maybe 12-16, and there could be a set day and time every week where teens in this age group are able to use the gym for a small fee. Teens need to be encouraged to exercise and stay fit. A lot of clubs say that the first lesson is free, which is great! This allows the child to experience the sport and see if they like it with nothing to lose. The gyms should also do girls only sessions, as some girls may feel self-conscious, and having a girls only session will encourage them to go to the gym more. Gyms should also have free aerobics sessions for girls. You may think that they’ll lose money, but the money will be gained by less obesity health issues, the NHS won’t have to spend so much money on obesity illness, and childhood obesity won’t be as common.
The last topic I want to cover is water. Teens nowadays consume large amounts of juices and fizzy drinks that are full of sugar. The healthiest option is to drink water. Our bodies are made up of 70% water which goes down throughout the day as we sweating and moving and general living. This needs replacing to stop us dehydrating. I try to drink at least 2 litres a day, sometimes more, sometimes less, but at least two litres. We could also lower the prices of water to make it more accessible.
Some water drinking tips that helped me.
1 Drink while you exercise.
I consume a lot of water when I’m working out. When you’re out of breath, it’s a lot easy to drink water than when you’re laying at home in front of the tv.
2 Add stuff to your water.
This doesn’t help me personally, but I know a lot of people that find it useful. Some people add a slice of lemon, which is great for clearing your system, but you can use whatever fruit you want. Strawberries, blueberries you can even add cucumber. People like add honey, which gives the water a bit of flavour.
3 Get a bottle.
Getting a bottle really helped me drink a lot more water. It was easier because I can carry the bottle around with me instead of constantly having to fill up a glass. Sometimes I drink two 1 litre bottles, or four 500ml bottles. It depends on what’s easier for you.
4 Dilute your juice
It can be pretty hard to go straight from fizzy drinks to water, so try diluting your fruit juice or fizzy drinks with a little water and then day by day, add a little more water until there is more water than juice. You’ll be drinking just water before you know it.
Being healthy can be fun and enjoyable, but it’s up to you. Being healthy isn’t easy, as we naturally choose the unhealthy option, but you can do it with determination and perseverance. Having good health has countless benefits, and your body will thank you. Eating junk and not exercising may seem fine now, but when you get older, you’ll feel it.
I strongly believe that if you get teens active while they’re young, it’ll be a lot easier than getting them while they’re older.
We went to find out at what was cooking over at ASAN last week. They got stuck in with baking potatoes, grating cheese and limes, cutting vegetables and tiding up as they went along. Enthusiasm and lots of elbow working went into to creating the lunch for themselves and the local gardeners at All Saints Road.
Two of the girls had met in previous sessions and bonded over common interests such as dance and the love of baking. Athalia said:
They went on to say they have made all sorts of dishes including crab, rice and chicken. It makes us hungry just thinking about it so here are snaps of what we saw
As we walked around Park Village area, I noticed it is a very multicultural area. As we walked down the Cannock road towards the direction of town. there was a large Gurdwara on the left-hand side. Guru Nanak Sastang Gurdwara.
As we walked in, we stepped into a large foyer area filled with loads of different posters advertising various activities that the Gurdwara was offering. Beyond the foyer was a large hall with many chairs and tables, we were welcomed by quite a few people who very quickly offered us a tour of the Gurdwara and were happy to answer all our question. We learnt that the large hall area was where the gurdwara offered Langar, ‘free food at any time of day open to all people, no matter of religion or race.’
We were then told to cover our heads with the scarves offered in a large basket. As we followed the gentleman named Ravi up the stairs he opened the doors to another beautiful hall. It was one of the most beautifully decorated rooms I had ever seen. With drapes of net across the ceiling of the hall leading up to the ‘sixth living Guru,’ as we were informed by Ravi. He informed us that people of any religion are welcome to come and pray at the gurdwara at any time, although Sikhs are asked to pray 3 times a day once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Also, that youths were able come to the Gurdwara and learn ‘geet’ and ‘Shabad Kirtan’ wherein the Sikh scriptures are recited to music.
The Gurdwara was very welcoming, and we were very lucky to be given the opportunity to pick up so much new information and how the Gurdwara are welcoming to all ages, ethnicities and races to give Park Village a more community feel.
According to the NHS children from the age of 5-18 need to be doing something physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. This can include moderate cycling, walking with friends to school or skateboarding. For more heart pumping moves they can do dancing, football or even martial arts.
ASAN are one of the leading organisations in our area for multi-sport activities over this summer. With their recently refurbished astro turf just on the All Saints Road we caught up with some of the regulars who are fully immersed in the game. The Peer support coordinator for the activities Jon Lee said:
“The multi-sports activities has enabled young people to make friends, learn new skills and improve their balance and co-ordination.”
What do all girls want to be? Unique that’s for sure. Last Saturday at Place To Go with Aspiring Futures they created their own individual t-shirt designs. The first 10 mins were spent brainstorming what they wanted them to look like. Stencil designs and inspiration from google images helped with designing the final looks. There was a beautiful blend of heritage and love that went into each one; the effort showcased was felt with the picture we took of all of them once they had finished.
If you could design your own t-shirt what would it be? Comment below!