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.

At the close of 2021, it was estimated that 10.2% of the country’s young people aged 16-25 were not in education, employment or training.

This can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes these young people might not have the same support structure within the home, where they might experiencing barriers, such as substance misuse, violence, physical/sexual abuse, mental health issues or even have caring responsibilities that prevent them from being able to thrive.  

For these marginalised young people, the journey into/back into education, training or employment is not always a straight path and often along the way additional hurdles can present themselves. Here at Creative Youth Network, our role is to help to remove these barriers when we can or to support the young person gain access to the opportunities available to them. 

This can often mean providing someone to listen and offer support and guidance, but it can also mean financial assistance. For example, in 2021 we continued to fundraise for laptops for those who could not afford them as well as offering educational courses and signposting information and advice services to help when needed. Sometime this will be group work, but on occasion this takes the form of more intensive 1:1 or small group support or holistic courses. How they get there doesn’t matter, it’s the end result that really counts. 

The young person talked to me before the session about feeling pressure to “already have made it” and not being on the linear career progression path they wanted for themselves. The young person was feeling stuck by this pressure, which has made accessing EET (education, employment or training) opportunities difficult because they feared making the wrong step and because their self-belief has taken a hit. During the careers fair, the young person was able to hear the stories of the professionals. They discussed missteps and decisions that didn’t work out for them; they showed that you don’t have to always be an extroverted people person do well in the creative industry; they talked about the long period of time it took them to figure out what they wanted to do; they gave an honest impression of their own career journey, which was by no means linear, and showed the young person that their wibblywobbly path is okay!

- Luke Wilson-Reid, Engagement Worker, West Of England Works 

young people who benefited from our career courses, workshops and fairs


Preventative Impact

We also work with young people to stop them from being in isolation, school exclusion and expulsion. We also support young people in their next steps of education when transitioning from Primary to Secondary School.

We work with marginalised and vulnerable young people that may have barriers in staying in school. For these young people having trained practitioners is essential as we can provide dedicated, professional 1-1 support, specific to that young person's situations and needs. 

Young people supported in the transition from Primary to Secondary School
Young people supported back into education, employment or training.

Sam had refused to go to school previously and home feels like his ‘safe space.’

Youth work support has helped me to build my confidence and to learn new skills that have helped me to become more independent and aid both my mental and physical wellbeing. Weekly 1-1 sessions with my youth worker have allowed me to have someone to speak to and to chat to someone about different worries and challenges I face. My youth worker has helped me to think about my future and visiting Aston Martin was a real highlight. I have taken part in a number of Creative Youth Network trips and my attendance and sense of worth at school has increased meaning I feel more hopeful for my future.

Sam’s school felt that he was at risk of ending up NEET (not in education, employment, or training) before the referral. Sam and his youth worker spent some time exploring options for when he finishes school, apprenticeships, and careers. Sam expressed an interest in car mechanics, so the youth worker organised a tour of the local Aston Martin branch.

Read Sam's Full Story Here

Back – 3. Change Through Creativity

Next – 5. Working With Diverse Communities

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