4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people
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The Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) has a number of programmes, projects, and initiatives that target vulnerable young people who may be socially excluded. These include:
Sports Programme was developed with the aim to introduce young people to several sports sessions varying from football, basketball, handball, etc in order to be exposed to sports disciplines. This programme which runs over 4 months specifically aims to bring young people together, do something fun, away from addictions, social phobias etc.
Drama Programme – Ta’ Teatru Squad is a programme with the aim of attracting vulnerable young people through drama. A small group of young people is brought together and given drama skills with the ultimate aim to engage them in fun activities and also filter through their abilities and creative ideas whereby they will ultimately perform their own ideas in front of a small group of people.
Evolve is a youth group that targets young people who may be vulnerable. A small group of young people gather in this youth group and come up with several ideas, topics to discuss etc.
The Adolescent Day programme follows the International Prince’s Achieve Programme and relates more to life skills. This programme offers young people the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence through relevant, engaging, and informal learning. This programme targets vulnerable young people at risk of social exclusion and young people with the risk of a school dropout. The timeline of the programme is between 4 to 6 months.
Animal Lovers is a project over 8 sessions that aim at helping young people develop a sense of care and responsibility towards themselves and others
Embark 4 Life is an ongoing programme that addresses the needs of young people who are at risk of social exclusion. These include youths between the ages of 15 and 25 years of age who, for various reasons and life situations, face difficulties in finding or keeping employment. Furthermore, the service also aims at empowering them to participate in educational programmes.
Opportunity Knocks Project ended in December 2021 and targeted young people aged 13-25 at risk of social exclusion. Over 400 youths enrolled in the project.
. This is an EU project focussing on prevention campaigns, safe houses, multidisciplinary team to support youth with education and employment and educational opportunities.
Supportline 179is the National helpline and has been operational since 1996 on a 24/7 basis. The National helpline caters also to youths who go through different issues including loneliness, identity and gender issues, self-harm, online abuse, suicidal ideations, mental health, eating disorders, relationship issues, domestic violence, child abuse, and homelessness. Trained operators answer the calls received and guide the person accordingly. Some callers just need a listening and empathic ear, whilst others would need a means of referral to other services. The Helpline also offers immediate help in crisis situations. The target for 2022 is to have an online platform so that the Supportline reaches out to more children and youths who are online and would also like to receive help and support through their preferred means of communication.
The Besmartonlinehas been launched in 2010. The project targets children and teens to be safe online and offers sessions and assistance to parents/caregivers, educators, and other front-liners who work with children regarding internet-related risks. Through the online reporting website, FSWS is targeting members of the general public who come across child sexual abuse material online and who feel the responsibility to report such illegal content to be able to identify the victims and also to put an end to this kind of abuse content.
Aġenzija Appoġġ’s BeSmartOnline’s Team has multiple roles. It operates the online reporting system which receives online reports related to child sexual abuse material; whilst also handling calls received through Supportline 179 related to Grooming, Sexting, Cyberbullying, Excessive Use and other emerging dangers which pose a threat to a child’s psychological and emotional wellbeing related to online use.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ is the agency responsible for the coordination and implementation of the National Youth Policy and has a number of programs that target social inclusion. Strategic Goal 3 of the National Youth Policy Towards 2030 focuses on the provision of an environment that fosters equality and inclusivity these programmes include:
Youth.incis a youth work programme conducted by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ with the aim to guide young people between the age of 16 and 21 to develop in a holistic way. The programme is developed around a youth-centred approach with the aim to engage the young people in their own process of development and enable them to live more independently and access further study or employment.
Swishis a wheelchair sports practice session intended to promote inclusion in sport and life. Students from year 9, 10, and 11 have the opportunity to experience inclusion through a hands-on fun and sporting activity. They will also have the opportunity to process the sporting activity through a life-skills session focussing on inclusion. Swish embraces this ideal of inclusion through sport and promotes the values of acceptance, non-discrimination, and human rights by challenging different ability stereotypes. The programme provides a space where students can explore, and experience different realities as lived by persons with different abilities through experiential and reflective sessions.
Kickstart is a programme for young inmates up to the age of 21 years at the Centre of Residential Restorative Services – L-Imtaħleb. This project aims, to reduce recidivism through a non-formal education programme that builds on the skills that the participants bring to the sessions and an understanding of how these can help their future prospects. The sessions are facilitated in small groups by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ’s youth workers twice a week. Kickstart provides young people a space to learn about themselves. The aim is to empower the participants to better recognise their potential and foster more confidence in their successful reintegration into the community.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ also runs a number of youth cafes for specific target groups who may be vulnerable young people. These include the Bridge Youth Café which caters to young people who are on the Autism spectrum, the Youth LGBTI+ for young people with different gender identities and sexual orientations, and the Be youth café for young people with down syndrome.
Youth Worker Online is a free online service provided by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ which aims to support young people who may wish to know more about anxiety and mental health, and how to get support and help. This service provides young people with a safe space to express their concerns, information on their issues, and a bridge to specialised service on their concerns.
The funding for all the specific programmes for vulnerable young people from The Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) is approximately 2.4 million euros and Agenzija Zghazagh has a budget of approximately 500,000 euros.
Disclaimer: the above budgets are the actual costs per year and include all the costs in relation to the service such as salaries and running costs per service. Any changes in the budget were/are due to cost of living or fluctuation in remuneration to professionals.
Evaluation of programmes is held on a regular basis and the service concerned makes sure that FSWS policies are implemented. The aim of the evaluations is to always improve service delivery.
FSWS has an Audit and Quality Assurance Service which was set up two years ago but this Service has not yet audited the concerned services.
No formal evaluation of these Services has as yet been carried out by the Research Department within FSWS.