We have been working with a group of young people from our 'Engage N You' Big Lottery Northern Ireland (NI) funded project.
The majority of the group are all experiencing issues that arise from being a young parent as they are all either young mums or dads (some for the second time) or are about to become young parents.
They had expressed concerns about various issues in terms of difficulties they (and their peers) are facing when becoming a young parent. The group had discussed the perceived lack of information available to young people about their rights, entitlements and access to services that are available to support them.
The group decided they wanted to find out what other young parents were experiencing and discover more about what can be done to help other young people in their situation, including information on their rights and responsibilities when becoming young parents.
In April 2015 the group received a grant from Awards for All Big Lottery Fund NI and began to plan the Young Parents Matter project.
The project aimed to:
- Record the views and experiences of other young parents living in NI;
- Identify what support is available to young parents who live in NI and identify if there's anything missing from services to help young parents;
- Look at how young parents can be better informed of support available to them in their area.
In total we gathered the views and experiences of 95 young parents from different localities across Northern Ireland and spoke to Practitioners delivering support services to these young people.
On the 21 December 2015, 40 of the young parents attended a Young Parents Matter celebration event, along with their children, their partners and support organisations.
As one of the main issues arising from our discussions with the young parents was their 'social isolation' the event gave the young parents an opportunity to socialise with other young parents and meet organisations that provide support and advice to them.
As part of the project NCB produced a report and complied an A-Z of useful contacts for parenting support & Referral Agencies which can be accessed here.