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Youth Realities On a mission to educate, empower and support young people

Youth Realities is a youth-led organisation based in Barnet that addresses teenage relationship abuse through creative education and specialist, survivor-centred support. It has seen an increased demand for its services in response to COVID-19 and other additional challenges.

1 in 3 young people experience abuse from a partner, with 68% not receiving any support for their trauma. Domestic abuse has a social cost of £68 billion per year in the UK, and can be reduced through holistic, relationship-based and trauma-informed prevention work and sustainable, survivor-centred support services. Youth Realities (YR) aims to:

  • reduce abuse within teenage relationships
  • raise awareness through creative and inclusive education
  • empower young people’s personal development and growth
  • provide advocacy and trusted support for young survivors.

YR uses a feminist-led, intersectional model that is inclusive and centres on the safety, healing and experiences of young survivors, helping them rebuild their sense of self, resilience and empower them to move forward with their lives, free from violence and abuse. Youth Realities is based in Barnet, focusing on the pockets of poverty in the South West Localities, including Colindale and the Grahame Park Estate. COVID-19 has exacerbated the already challenging environments young people were living in, and being able to engage in YR’s work provides them with the guidance and support needed to navigate through the difficulties they are facing.

YR offers a range of provision including 1:1 support for young survivors of abuse, trauma, violence, exploitation and other adversity. It also runs a weekly dance, fitness and confidence building programme for young women aged 12-25, and a 15-week programme targeted at young men, helping them to shape themselves into happy, healthier and resilient young adults.

With support from the Foundation and others, YR seeks to sustain the increased demand for its services in response to COVID and other additional challenges, including a significant increase in domestic violence and abuse, youth violence, exacerbated mental health challenges, increased poverty and familial challenges, and increased social anxiety. YR has also moved premises as feedback showed some women felt increasingly unsafe when leaving its existing premises at night, due to poor street lighting. The Foundation provided support towards equipment for the new rented venue, which is a short walk away.

YR aims to continue offering support at the current level, working with high-need and vulnerable young people and supporting them to feel happier, healthier and safer. In the medium-term, YR is researching the potential to replicate its work in neighbouring Boroughs.

Youth Realities took me in and transformed my story of being a victim to being a survivor. She [my youth worker] provided me with endless life changing opportunities, using my story and educating myself on domestic abuse in order not only to help myself but others. She brought out a totally different side of me, the side that had been lost and destroyed due to my past experiences. I began to realise my worth and potential, slowly my life began to turn back to normal, school life, family life and reconnected with old friendships.” Young Survivor