Discover amazing deals on food & household items

Hop aboard our Key Community Bus!

11 March 2024

Key Clique youth programme launched

South Tyneside charity Key has launched a new educational youth programme to help young people boost their mental health and wellbeing and improve their life skills to realise their potential.

Key Clique is a 10-week course designed to help 12–16-year-olds reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation, build confidence, and increase self-worth.

The 90-minutes sessions are delivered fortnightly by Key’s Prevention and Intervention team, along with a select range of external providers, and cater for young people identified from families the charity is already supporting.

Learning modules cover a wide range of topics, each with its own discrete learning objective, including social skills; stress management; essential first aid; cookery and baking basics; unsafe and unhealthy relationships; healthy lifestyles; self-care and personal hygiene

The programme is designed to tackle the post pandemic surge in feelings of loneliness and isolation among young people and provide practical support so they can go on to achieve their goals in life.

Studies suggest that children who experience social isolation in childhood tend to have worse educational outcomes and go on to get lower-paid, less satisfying jobs, and have higher likelihoods of smoking, obesity, and psychological distress in adulthood.

The course creates opportunities for social connection with peers while accessing practical support, makes it more acceptable to discuss feelings in a safe space without fear of judgment or stigma, and prepares young people to better understand and address loneliness in themselves and others.

 Rebecca Dunn, Family Intervention Officer, said: “Isolation and loneliness is a large and growing problem among our beneficiaries, this programme is designed to help young people overcome their feelings and build their confidence about their ability to achieve their aspirations in future.”

One of the young people attending had previously been the target for bullying. Following the session focussing on healthy relationships, she said she felt much better about herself and was able to regain a sense of control because she started to realise that her bully was the person with the problem rather than something that was wrong with her.”

Ross Allen, Chief Executive Officer at Key said: “Being social disconnected has recently been found to be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. No young person should have to battle loneliness alone. We believe it’s important to counter the scourge by better equipping young people to overcome the challenges they face and helping to build their confidence and skills so they feel heard and seen and can go on to realise their potential.”