Element Society is a charity based in Sheffield, delivering social action and enterprise programmes to young people and vulnerable adults. Our aims are to empower young people to change their communities, raise their own aspirations and become role models to their peers.
So many young people and young adults feel powerless in their local community. We believe that providing young people with the tools and the confidence to address a problem themselves, they feel more useful and engaged with in society.
We work with: 16 and 17 year olds in mainstream education; 16 – 24 year olds with additional needs; and 18 – 24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET). Many of the individuals who have participated in our projects have experienced some form of disadvantage or discrimination: they either come from a BME or special educational background, or have a history of drug abuse and homelessness. From the 263 participants that took part of our 2014 NCS programme 55% were from BME communities, 33% identified as Muslim, 9% had special educational needs and 46% were eligible for free school meals.
In terms of the vulnerable adults we work with, 14% are single parents and a further 6% have had their children either removed or adopted. 31% of the participants have mental health issues, 24% have criminal records and 14% are themselves care leavers.
So far we have worked with over 700 young people and we have contracts in place to work with a further 1750 over the next 3 years.
We have strong relationships with Sheffield schools and colleges, including organisations that support hard to reach young people with additional needs or criminal records. We also have a good relationship with a local youth homeless shelter and local Talent Match coaches, both of which work specifically with disadvantaged young people.
Since 2013, we have been subcontracted by Groundwork Sheffield to deliver government youth programme National Citizen Service, and have recently been granted a contract to continue this work for another three years.
We are also one of the providers of nation wide youth engagement programme Talent Match in the South Yorkshire region. This project is aimed at young people who are furthest from the jobs market, particularly those who are outside the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work.
Alongside this, we have devised and delivered our own youth engagement programme called “Enterprise Camp” which supports young people not in education, employment or training between the ages of 18-24. The goal of the project is to develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility, make new friends and develop enterprise skills. From our 2014 delivery of Enterprise Camp, we have seen 50% of the participants progress into employment and 25% begin apprenticeships or training.