Welcome! If you’re a young person in Reading, this section is for you.
Here you will find lots of information all together in one place: activities and things to do, advice on a variety of topics plus info on all the different support we offer, such as through our Youth Service, our Mental Health team or our Elevate team (careers service).
There’s also information for if you’ve recently been taken into care, including a message written by other young people in similar situations.
Have a look at the menu to the left of this page – and also see below for more useful advice on important topics, with links to other organisations.
If you’ve any queries at all, or if there’s anything missing that you think would be good to be included on this hub, please do get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as providing services for younger children and families, we also support anyone aged 13+:
- Youth Service: you may meet some of our youth workers out and about around the borough each week, on hand to provide you with any advice or info. Or you can join in with an online youth club they run, Wednesdays 5-6pm. There's also one to one support through our specialist teams. Find out more here.
- Elevate: our careers service provide impartial advice to support you into employment, education or training.
- Young carers: If you’re caring for an adult family member or silbling, there is a weekly group you can join for support - read more here.
- ReachOUT: We also host weekly sessions (virtually at the moment) for young people who are LGBTQ+ - details here
- Childline has a range of advice for coping with the impact of the pandemic.
- This short guide has been produced by the Children’s Commissioner to help answer any questions you may have about coronavirus.
- MIND has information and support on its website if you're worried about coronavirus and how to cope with the changes to your life
- Young Minds pulled this blog together with tips for maintaining good mental health
- Student Space is a mental health programme to support students through the unique circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Anna Freud (National Centre for Children and Families) has advice and selfcare resources to support your wellbeing.
- No5 supports children and young people in Reading to become mentally fit. They offer free counselling services and confidential listening.
- Text TALK to 07786 202430, call 0118 901 5668, email email@example.com or visit their website
- Kooth is your online mental wellbeing community where you can access lots of useful information
- Young Minds is a charity that offers lots of support and help - if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, text YM to 85258, 24/7. Or see here for more info.
- The Little Blue Book of Sunshine is a great resource, by Berkshire West NHS, with details on what you can do right now to feel better or who to turn to if things feel too much. Read the latest version here.
- Do you want to speak to someone in your local community about your health? Text the School Nurses Service on 0799077164
- If you're under 18 and worried about something, Place2Be can help
- Every Mind Matters (NHS and Public Health England) has information for young people on mental health and self-care.
- NHS England has a blog about what to do if it is all getting too much.
- Rise above has inspiring and useful stories, videos, games and advice for young people.
- Power of Youth has resources, information, activities and thoughts from young people and organisations from all over the UK
- Reading's independent and impartial Information, Advice & Support Service for SEND offers free advice and support. Call on 0118 937 3421, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Reading IASS website
- For many more local and national organisations that can support you, visit this directory
There are many young people who unfortunately experience abuse, domestic violence or exploitation but do not realise they are being abused. There are different forms of abuse including:
- emotional: being ignored, excluded or blamed
- physical: being repeatedly hit or not cared for
- sexual: being forced to take part in sexual activities in person or through the internet or mobile phones
Any form of abuse should not be happening. It is not your fault and you shouldn't feel guilty, scared or ashamed.
There are many organisations who can help you:
- If you are in immediate danger, call 999. Press 55 when prompted if you can't speak.
- Or if you have any immediate concerns, please call 0118 937 3641 or email email@example.com without delay.
- NSPCC: call 24/7 on 0808 800 5000. Read more abuse and sexual exploitation
- Childline: can also be contacted 24/7. Calls to 0800 1111 are free and confidential or contact them online
- ThinkuKnow has advice about staying safe when you're on a phone, tablet or computer - explore one of their age specific websites.
- Films, games, quizzes and advice to help you use the internet safely and positively can be found here - UK Safer Internet Centre
- From bullying, feeling good on social media, tips to keeping private to online gaming, Childline has a load of support for online and mobile safety.
- Social media is great for staying connected to friends and family but it can also be somewhere where negative language and imagery is shared, which impacts on our mental health and wellbeing.
Read Anna Freud's Managing social media booklet, written with young people, which aims to offer advice and guidance on how to minimise this impact.
- Here are some tips to make sure you're using the internet responsibly from The Mix.
- Loan sharks offering financial support (illegal loans) may advertise online, through WhatsApp, Instagram or SnapChat or other social media platforms - it's important to be wary and report anything that seems suspicious. See here for more info and how to report anonymously.
Sex is your choice. Being ready happens at different times for everyone. It's completely normal to have questions and there will be many young people feeling the same or in similar situations.
Whether you've had sex or not, it's important to find out about consent and contraception so you can make decisions that are right for you.
- Here are some answers to common questions about sex on the NHS website
- Knowing when you're ready, talking about sex with your partner, safe sex, healthy v unhealthy relationships plus lots more useful info is here
- Find out about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) here
- Find your nearest sexual health clinic - NHS Choices
- Relationship advice for under 21s can be read here
- The Mix has lots of support, with discussion boards too if you've something on your mind you'd like to chat through
- First crushes, first kisses, first times...Rise Above has interesting and useful stories, videos and advice
If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or are questioning your sexual or gender identity, you may feel confused or misunderstood.
There are different types of organisations that can support you or give you advice on various issues.
- We have a local group, called ReachOUT that provides advice, support and a safe space for young people to meet others in a similar situation
- Everyone should be free to be themselves - Barnardos provides direct support to all young people
- Young Stonewall empowers young LGBT to live their lives free from discrimination - find out how they can help here
- Want to read about the history of the gay rights movement? See the LGBT+ history month website which has different info and resources.
- The Mix is an essential support service for young people, helping you take on any challenge you're facing. Read more here
- If you want to speak to someone about relationships, family or sex issues, Berkshire's Relate can help
- Cool2talkand one2one provide a safe space where you can get questions answered, without judgement. Your questions can be about anything and will be answered within 24 hours. Visit its website here
- Special United is a youth forum for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their siblings, age 8-25 years, living within the Reading Borough. The youth forum is run by Reading Families Forum, a local charity supporting families who have children and young adults with SEND.Special United youth forum gives young people with SEND a platform to have their say on the services that are provided for them locally.
- Free, safe and anonymous online support can be found here with Kooth
- If you're a young person with SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities), Reading has an independent and impartial Information, Advice & Support Service (known locally as Reading IASS but often referred to elsewhere as SENDIASS) for advice and support. Call on 0118 937 3421 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the Reading IASS website, which has a host of useful information and advice.