Our Impact 2021

An Introduction 

Welcome to Creative Youth Network’s Impact Report where we take a look back at our work, it’s reach and tangible outputs and outcomes from the past year.  

2021 signalled the country’s second year of living through the pandemic and our second year of providing much needed services to the marginalised and often under-represented young people of Bristol amidst Covid-19. 

     This is a short quote from Mark." 

– Mark Coates

CEO | Creative Youth Network

We know from a multitude of reports that the challenges many of our young people are facing have been further heightened by the pandemic and our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that we continue to meet their needs by working in new and innovative ways. This includes moving services online where possible, as well as taking extra precautions when delivering services face-to-face including the wearing of face masks, the use of hand sanitisers and desk booking systems etc.  

If Creative Youth Network could sum up our staff and delivery over the past year in one word, then it would be determination. Our charity has met the additional challenges head on, our staff have continued to deliver first-rate services and the young people with whom we work continue to thrive. So, we are pleased to report that we have met, and in some cases exceeded those targets we set for ourselves at the start of the year. This demonstrates the robust nature of our organisation’s services, delivery model as well as the dedication and commitment of our staff to meet the ongoing needs of the young people with whom we work.  

Information and Statistics

Young people engaged in 2021

6,427 in 2020 and 10,000 in 2019 and whilst this sits below pre-pandemic figures, it is returning to caseload figures we experienced before Covid-19 struck. We have found new ways of working and to deliver our services and this is indicative in these findings. It is important to note however, that a reduction in the numbers of young people has been inevitable with the multitude of lockdowns we have faced over the past two years, although we do anticipate an increase in numbers as lockdowns come to an end and we return to a semblance of normality. Also, of note are the numbers of young people who have experienced a growing need and increased levels of poor mental health, isolation, exclusion, substance misuse anti-social behaviour and vulnerability to exploitation have continued to climb. This demonstrates the increasing demand for our services. 

No of young people supported 

Young people reached through exhibitions, showcases and online channels.

Our sub-contractors also created 212 broadcasts reaching 2975 young people.

Building positive relationships is at the core of our work; without a trusting relationship between the young person and their case worker, a positive outcome is much harder to achieve and can take significantly more time whilst that trust is built.

This is because, many of the young people we work with face multiple barriers such as poor mental health or unemployment; they might come from an ethnic minority background, possess refuge or asylum seeker status, experience a lack of housing or live in sub-standard conditions. Key to our success then, is building those trusting relationships so we might remove those barriers. This allows us to address their individual needs and in turn enables our young people to flourish. 

In 2021, our online and face-to-face work combined, including the work of our sub-contractors, meant we worked with 7,404 young people. Of these, 1,028 young people regularly attended our small groups which work with LGBTQIA+ youth, Young carers, asylum seekers and refugees or young Somali women. Our face-to-face work alone meant we engaged with 3,394 young people from seldom heard, disadvantaged and under-represented groups. In conclusion we achieved the following outcomes for these groups: 

young people we worked with both online and offline to achieve positive outcomes 




Lizzie helped me find my place in the LGBT+ community

When Targeted Youth Worker Lizzie first started working with Aidan he was living at home with his grandparents, who were concerned about his anti-social behaviour. When Aidan’s grandparents found him looking at gay content online they took away his phone, his laptop, and reported to his school that he’d been accessing inappropriate websites.

When I first started seeing my youth worker, Lizzie, I wasn’t allowed access to my phone or the internet, I also wasn’t allowed to attend out of school activities. I felt trapped in my own home. I was without friends, and in isolation for my behaviour at school.

"I felt powerless, so I reacted by lashing out. I thought nobody would understand what it was like to be gay in a strict household. Luckily, I had Lizzie to talk to each week. This gave me the hope I needed. I couldn’t trust any of the other adults in my life, but I knew Lizzie wanted to help me.

 Lizzie encouraged me to be honest with my friends about my situation, which resulted in one of them helping me to set up an Instagram account on their phone which I can use during lunch breaks. This helps me to feel less like I’m missing out.

I felt nervous to tell my friends that I was gay, my grandparents would not approve, so I didn’t think my friends would either. Lizzie helped me build enough confidence to join an LGBT+ group in school where I started to realise that being LGBT was not a negative thing and met lots of other people like me.

On the days I see my mum, she lets me go to youth sessions so that I can talk to people my age. She’s also been worried that I was isolating myself so she’s happy to see me being excited again. The sessions I have been going to with Creative Youth Network have changed my life."

I can finally be open about my sexuality, and I’ve found a space where I can be entirely ME.

We’re really glad that his school have seen a big change in Aidan’s behaviour and attitude. He’s now attending youth sessions and is still in contact with his targeted youth worker Lizzie, to get the support he needs. Aidan is now smiling and we couldn’t be more proud of his confidence.

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