Seeing a future emerge:

The needs we are addressing and why it is important

Southampton is ranked 67th on the overall Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2015 out of the 326 Local Authorities in England (1 equals the most deprived). Previously for IMD (2010) Southampton ranked 81st and has the 7th largest increase in deprivation of neighbourhoods in England in the most deprived decile between IMD(2010) and IMD(2015).

The Health Deprivation and Disability domain has seen the largest deterioration with 64.7% of LSOAs moving into a more deprived decile and only 2.9% improving.

The Employment domain has also seen some deterioration with 33.1% of LSOAs moving into a more deprived decile and only 11.5% improving.

SAFE addresses both these issues in that we tackle the underlying causes of unemployment, often linked to depression and anxiety, enabling people to believe in themselves and develop self-worth to enabling them to take the step towards employment or even employment itself.

Positive life choices

Through People’s Postcode funding, we targeted young NEET people such as Nikita.

At the time of attending the course Nikita was 22 years old. He joined for the sole purpose to restore what has been lost and broken - confidence, passion and the reason to move forward.
Before joining the course, Nikita has been dismissed from work for something he has never done. This unjust decision has left him hopeless. His negative cycle has been returned and he couldn't gain enough power to make things positive again. He's suffered a severe case of depression, he's been anxious in doing things and he constantly thought about ending his life. Nikita didn't know what to do. The CBT didn't give him much help.
Nikita has heard about SAFE course from his support worker at the YMCA. Since he was unemployed, Nikita decided to give it a try. He attended his first day and he realised... that he felt welcomed.
He's met people of a vast diversity, seeking similar purposes. All of the attendees wanted to make their lives better. They wanted to be more confident, more organised, they wanted to find their goals and skills that can be useful somewhere. Nikita felt welcomed... and after a long time, happy.
Thanks to the course, Nikita was able to find what he wants to achieve and how to reach these goals. He managed to collect the skills he was good at and use it for self-promotion in order to get a job. He also found new acquaintances to spend time with and new hobbies as well. But most importantly, he found his primary fear - rejection - and the strategies to fight him.
Nikita had to finish the course earlier as thanks to the course he has started training for something he has never done - construction. Whether he is successful with that or not, time will tell. But in any case, Nikita is ready to move forward, and he is willing to help others with getting things sorted.

This course was incredible. I'm extremely happy that I have attended it. Right now I feel like a completely different man. I'm motivated, confident and sincerely passionate about what's coming up in the future.

I believe that this course must be attended if you have hit the wall which you cannot pass. One of my major, let's say, bricks in the wall, were bricks of rejection. I've feared it for so long that it has caused a huge negative impact in my life. I felt worthless, hopeless and lifeless. Thanks to this course, I've found an appropriate strategy to overcome my fears. That worked like a sledgehammer. I didn't decide to find a way over, I've decided to go straight through it by smashing the wall so much that it is impossible to repair it.

Overall, I just have two words for the newcomers: do it. This is the best opportunity you can get. Good luck"

Choices future 2018/19
We plan to launch eight new Positive Choices Programmes during 2018/19 with an emphasis on young people aged 16-30. Each programme will have a group of approximately 10 participants struggling with depression, anxiety or other or forms of mental health problems such as eating disorders or self-harming. Some will face added barriers around physical health, addiction and offending.

The programme will help young people overcome their negative core beliefs, changing thinking and improving their self- confidence and motivation, allowing them to take control of their lives and set healthy goals to re-enter education, employment or training. We will provide pre and post-course coaching to help beneficiaries move towards their goals.
The Positive Choices courses will be community based in local venues. On each course two beneficiaries will be trained to deliver Positive Choices to further cohorts.
Choices will target people who are disengaged and living chaotic lifestyles. They are likely to have come from a deprived family background or local authority care and/ or face multiple barriers around substance misuse, crime and antisocial behaviour. They are typically unlikely to engage with the labour market

Summary of planned outcomes
Our expectation is that final outcomes from the proposed Choices programmes will replicate previous outcomes achieved in previous youth programmes:
• 50% at risk of becoming NEET will find employment, further education or training
• 83% less depressed
• 67% less anxious
• 96% increased confidence
• 100% increased self-esteem
• 100% goal achievement
• 92% more self-aware

We will measure and report on the positive changes made as follows:
• Decreased depression/anxiety. Increased confidence, self-esteem, resilience and goal-setting. Ten psychological measures using the DASS (Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale) conducted on First and Last day of the course, showing percentage gains pre and post course in each of the five areas.
• Outcomes in attendance or entry into education, employment or learning. Weekly drop-ins for three months post-course and ongoing close relationships with referrers to capture concrete educational and employment improvements.
• Changed family and personal lives: Individual case studies and one-to-one interviews capturing personal stories of changed lives and mental health transformations.
• Achievement of goals: Individual action plans monitored weekly during the course and post-course reunions.

With EUESF funding that we received through HIWCF, we targeted ‘inactive’ candidates, who for health and disability reasons were unable to seek employment - such as Rita.
Rita (44) was unable to get a job due to significant mental health issues and trauma brought on by serious domestic abuse situations. She said “One of the best things about the course was knowing what we are actually worth. I didn’t think I was worth much. The course said you are worth a lot. Since then, I have done three weeks voluntary work for cancer research in Shirley high street for a couple of days a week.

I have got my CV up to date and even started applying for jobs and I have an interview next week.” March 2018

Through Henry Smith Funding, we received referrals from Southampton City Council employment support team such as Sam who is now applying for jobs as a cleaner or shop work.
Sam (29) had never had a paid job and spent her whole life thinking she had a ‘child’s brain’. She got extremely depressed following the death of her mother who was also her full-time carer. She said,

One thing I want to do is go off my benefits. I want a proper job, so I know I can do it. I want to work for my money and be proud of it and be independent. This course helped me to talk a bit more in a group, make new friends, meet new people, come to a different place. I never missed a session. Now, I have good thoughts in my head about understand what I want to do. This course really helped because now I can understand who I am.” May 2018