Despite Harrow’s reputation sometimes being that of a ‘leafy’ trouble-free borough, we are seeing an increasing strain on services for young people. Problems like youth violence in Harrow are also happening more frequently, and young people are navigating ever complex challenges and pressures.
Young Harrow Foundation, Harrow Council, Harrow Youth Parliament and other YHF Members and Partners set out to do something different – to make lasting change in the lives of young people in Harrow through an innovative collective response.
The first milestone in this journey of collaboration is to define the need. To empower young people with a voice by asking them directly them what they need support with. This process was led by young people themselves as 24 trained peer leaders ran the survey in schools.
In an unprecedented exercise we have brought together data via three sources below. This report is the first attempt at bringing all data together to draw conclusions based on the combined evidence:
1. A survey taking in the views of 4,358 young people (around 15% of the Harrow 10 – 19 population).
2. 51 charities using local intelligence and conducting young people focus groups
3. An analysis of data relating to local young people undertaken by the Council as part of the Joint Strategic Needs Analysis (JSNA) (An external researcher was responsible for conducting the combined analysis.)
The project has also received overwhelming support from the community through volunteering – with over 30 people volunteering an impressive total of 450 hours. Most of these helped to transfer the surveys online for analysis.
Snapshot of the findings
Young people in Harrow tell us they are struggling with mental health issues including self-harm and suicidal thoughts; poor physical health; problems with drugs and alcohol; and other challenges of modern life.
Further, our evidence suggests that there is a wide spread of young people in Harrow with unmet needs. Our evidence highlights the importance of making support more generally available to young people, and the need for focus on preventative support.
We anticipate that the survey evidence will be accessed by a wide range of professionals and young people alike working across a range of issues. In this report we focus on the five key areas that jump out to us as amongst the most urgent needs.
These are the areas where YHF and Harrow Council will commit to bringing voluntary organisations and other stakeholders together to develop collective and innovative solutions, and to help bring in external funding to support these approaches. The voice of young people must continue to be at the centre of this collective approach.