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Central YMCA – A World of Good: The Challenge of Being Young in Modern Britain

Central YMCA has been helping young people improve their lives for over 170 years, a task that has evolved with each new generation.

As the nature of these challenges change, so must the support society offers to ensure no one is left behind.

Those of us working with young people know the importance of remaining flexible and fluid, especially in a society where the pace of change seems more rapid than ever. Always-on digital communication, widening gaps between rich and poor, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and the impact of austerity on public services are changing the experience of being young in modern Britain. Support for this group, therefore, also needs to move with the times.

This work is vital. Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in society, often with fewer financial and emotional resources to withstand life’s battles. Any harm caused can leave a permanent scar over the rest of their lives. This not only reduces the quality of their own lives, but may also be detrimental to their families and society as a whole for many years to come.

To better understand how our organisation (and others) can best support this generation, we have conducted a survey asking young people, and those working with them on a daily basis, to assess the nature of the challenges they face.

Our findings are set out in this report and provide interesting food for thought about where to direct resources and which issues to prioritise.

They are accompanied by some real-life examples, detailing the impact of major issues and the work being done to support young people.