Promoting Positive Transformations
Dreamscheme is an award-winning youth development organisation seeking to bring about positive transformations in young people and communities in South and East Belfast. They offer a comprehensive youth work programme which encompasses youth support (building early engagement with ‘at risk’ groups) and youth intervention work (stepping in when there are identified problems).
Building relationships to make a positive, long-term difference in the lives of at-risk young people
Dreamscheme engage with over 300 young people annually and sustain relations with the young people over a period of 4-5 years.
The focus is on affirming young people and promoting self-worth; challenging attitudes and encouraging dialogue; encouraging active youth citizenship and developing young people’s life skills.
In 2019 it was reported the numbers of young girls being referred to NI Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services had escalated dramatically and disproportionately over the previous three years. At a local level Dreamscheme were also seeing a significant increase in the number of girls presenting with recent histories of self-harming, depression, bullying, and anxiety.
On conducting its own research, Dreamscheme identified that 71% of girls felt they were ‘not getting on well at school’, while 50% had ‘worries about the future’. In the same survey, 71% of girls attending Dreamscheme expressed their main challenges in life as being ‘mental health problems such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety’, while 64% voiced major problems with ‘not fitting in’.
Creating safe spaces where young people can thrive
In response Dreamscheme sought to invest and build their capacity and expertise to support teenage girls by employing a dedicated Girls’ Youth Worker to develop and lead a tailored support programme.
The new programme collated best practice, knowledge and insights in supporting at-risk girls and resulted in a flexible and responsive mix of in-school mentoring, group activities, peer support and dedicated role models.
made progress in respect of school attendance & educational aspirations
reported better communications and improved relationships
Following on this success, Dreamscheme continues to invest in offering a dedicated Girls’ Youth Programme providing positive role models to listen, encourage, challenge and counsel.
Dreamscheme volunteers were recently recognised and celebrated by the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.