Centre for Research

The latest in youth work research in the UK

Mental health of children and young people: What else is going on? (Part 3)

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

Lucie Shuker (Director of Research) and Jo Fitzsimmons (Manager of our self-harm programme Alumina) sat down recently to discuss ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’ which was published in November 2018. The third and final part of their conversation explores self-harm, emotional disorders, and social inequality.

Mental health of children and young people: Gender (Part 2)

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

Lucie Shuker (Director of Research) and Jo Fitzsimmons (Manager of our self-harm programme Alumina) sat down recently to discuss ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’ which was published in November 2018. The second part of their conversation, focussed on gender, is recorded here.

Evaluation of Prayer Spaces in School

By Lucie Shuker

Since 2007, Prayer Spaces in Schools has hosted interactive prayer spaces for children and young people up and down the country. Earlier this year an independent evaluation revealed fascinating insights into what these spaces meant for the children and young people who used them. We have summarised some of the key findings, and offered a bit of further reflection. 

Theory of Change: should you bother?

By Lucie Shuker

‘Theory of change’ is a youth work buzz phrase at the moment. But have you got one? Youthscape’s Lucie Shuker introduces theories of change, how they can help, and where to go if you want to develop one for your own youth work project.

What is the impact of social media and screen use on young people’s health?

By Lucie Shuker

The Centre for Research recently survyed the Youthscape team about the impact of social media on the young people we work with. We have now published this as a submission to the parliamentary inquiry on the use of screens and social media. In this blog Dr Lucie Shuker, our Director, reflects on what we and others submitted to the inquiry. What can we learn from these submissions, ahead of the select committee's report?  

Girl holding a phone

No Questions Asked: Why are young people not questioning God, faith or religion? (part 2)

By Admin

This blog is part two of a short series outlining the key findings from our latest research project, No Questions Asked. For the first blog, visit Youthscape.co.uk/blog/xxx  

The aim of our latest research project, No Questions Asked, was to discover what questions young people have about God, faith and religion. More than this, we wanted to find out if they were questioning at all, and if not, why not.   

New research: No Questions Asked (part 1)

By Admin

What questions are young people asking about God, faith or religion? Are they asking questions? If not, why not?

This was the starting point for our latest research project at Youthscape, No Questions Asked.

To tackle these questions, we carried out a qualitative interview project in Luton Schools. Conducting hour-long interviews with 16 young people between the ages of 16 and 19, we sought to understand what questions these young people have about God, faith or religion. We also wanted to find out, through conversation around these topics, whether or not God, faith and religion were important to them. (The full report is available to download for free here.) Here is a summary of the key findings:

Why do schools think it is OK to run illegal RE?

By Admin

The BBC, Daily Telegraph, Independent and the Daily Mail all ran big stories about RE during the third week of September, prompted by the NATRE analysis of the Government’s School Workforce Census, which reveals that more than one in four (28%) state secondary schools are struggling to meet their legal obligation to teach pupils about major religions and systems of belief, depriving teenagers of vital knowledge about different faiths and beliefs in community, public and world affairs.  Lat Blaylock, National Adviser, RE Today, shares some of the statistics and adds his own comment.

Social Currency?

By Admin

Research reveals that social media is causing anxiety among young people for a variety of reasons. Youthscape’s Head of Research Phoebe Hill shares a new factor causing anxiety among her young people, and explores how to help young people find healthy boundaries with their social media use.

New research: Parents lack confidence in passing on faith

By Admin

How do we pass on faith to our children and young people? It’s a challenging question, and one with no simple answers. And as the new report from Care for the Family reveals, parents feel burdened by the responsibility, and lack confidence in how to go about it. Youthscape's Head of Research, Phoebe Hill looks at the evidence.

Five Interesting Stats From YFC’s Gen Z Research

By Admin

Our little research ears prick up at the sound of any new statistics being released. So we were delighted to receive the latest report from leading youth ministry organisation YFC, which is jam-packed full of them! The finished report is available to download for free – have a read for yourself here. 

The research covers a wide range of topics relating to young people, including culture, influences, priorities, religion and faith. Here are my highlights, the statistics that surprised or challenged me, and what I think they might mean for young people and how we work with them.


Read more of Phoebe Hill's response to the research

A Stormzy in the youth work teacup?

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

I’m sitting here writing this listening to the new Stormzy Album, ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’. I’m sure you have heard of it in the Christian world because a semi-popular member of the music industry has proclaimed a faith – at least he has a couple of songs that you could use in church if you wanted. We Christians love to stake a claim! But it’s the whole album that I think is interesting and points to something bigger and entirely more poignant than a couple of beautiful hymns.

James Fawcett listens to the new Stormzy album and reflects on the ways it presents youth culture...

The truth about small group resources

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

The beating heart of youth discipleship is not found in the grand scale event, the sleep deprived festival, or even the sweat-soaked mission trip; it’s in the weekly grind of small group ministry. Tim Gough from Youth Work Hacks  reveals his research into how youth workers use small groups and whether the current resources are really meeting the need. Read more...

Theresa May and the burning issue of mental health

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

On the 9th January, Prime Minister May gave her first speech of 2017. After laying out her policies and thoughts on Brexit, the divide between rich and poor, and the general state of the country, she said the phrase: “I want to turn to one of those burning injustices in particular – the burning injustice of mental health and inadequate treatment that demands a new approach from government and society as a whole”

Helen Cutteridge, Emotional Wellbeing Worker at Youthscape, gives us a youth worker's perspective on the Prime Minister's plans. Click here to read more...

THE ‘SEXTING’ PHENOMENON - and why we need to keep talking

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

Rachel Gardner examines some new research on how to help young people navigate the sexting culture and raises some challenges for youth workers as they approach this issue.

Academics in Australia have recently called for an end to Government-funded, abstinence- only sexting education.Why? Because simply telling teens not to sext doesn’t work. Even worse, it seems to be loading shame and judgement on the very people it’s trying to help. Instead of a reduction in nude-selfie-sharing, Australian teens seem to be ramping things up and of course they’re not alone. The global phenomenon of ‘sexting’ (a term coined as recently as 2005) isn’t going away. In fact, it’s absorption into young people’s daily lives is an indication that when it comes to ‘sexting’ we’re not talking about the 21st century version of the underwear section of the BHS catalogue! Young people are engaging in digital sexual cultures, and like all sexual activity, there are real consequences. Read more...

Is the internet changing how young people engage with the Bible?

By Admin

Every other day a survey seems to hit our news feeds about teenagers and technology use. A recent survey from Digital Awareness UK revealed that almost half of young people are checking their mobile phones after they have gone to bed. Of the 2750 young people surveyed, one in ten admitted to checking their phones at least 10 times a night.

Youthscape's Head of Research, Phoebe Hill asks what this means for churches and their youth work.

The state of girlhood in the UK: How can we turn up the volume of hope for girls?

By Admin

Last week, GirlGuiding UK’s survey revealed that girls are becoming increasingly unhappy and lacking in confidence. Surrounded by a popular culture which both screams and whispers to girls ‘You’re not enough’, how can we, as a church, empower a generation of girls to live in Gospel hope?

Rather than paralysing us, these statistics and the honest voices of girls should mobilise us to respond to girls’ needs, concerns and aspirations in relevant ways! Hope is not just a word; real hope spurs us to action. It fuels us to be so dissatisfied with the status quo so that we’ll be the change we want to see in the world. But we need to put hope into action. And youth workers have a key role in doing this.

Read Dr Claire Rush's five suggestions for empowering this hope.

The state of girlhood in the UK: What are girls telling us?

By Admin

Last week, Girlguiding UK published its annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey; the UK’s largest annual survey into girls’ views and experiences as they grow up today. The 2016 survey captured the voices of 1,627 girls and young women (seven to 21s) across the UK on seven key issues including body confidence, women in the media and everyday sexism, personal safety and harassment, online and social media, and mental and emotional well-being. You can read the full report here.

So what are the key messages that girls are communicating to us?

Volunteers and Training

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

Dr Nick Shepherd,  Assistant Director of Discipleship and Ministry for the Diocese of Southwark, reflects on our recent survey on the training needs of youth workers.

Youth Work Training Survey

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

In October 2015 the Jerusalem Trust, in partnership with Youthscape, carried out a piece of research into the training needs of youth workers. The survey was completed by 400 youth workers from around the UK.

Self-harm and Gender Expression

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

An estimated 48% of transgender young people aged under 26 have attempted suicide, and 59% have deliberately harmed themselves (PACE Mental Health Charity). This is a massive concern, and SelfharmUK is committed to talking about the difficult issues facing young people. Ruth Ayres from selfharm.co.uk looks at the links between self-harm and gender expression.

Raised on Porn

By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

A report commissioned by the NSPCC, finally provides us with concrete evidence proving, what many of us previously believe to true, Children and young people are at risk of becoming ‘desensitised’ to online porn. Here, Jemimah Woodbridge, Romance Academy Project Director, offers three things that we can learn from the research.


By rachel.warwick@youthscape.co.uk

Every once in a while we like to do a piece of research that is so important, and so ground-breaking, that no one has ever attempted to do it before. Ladies and gentlemen, we present… the definitive (sort of) survey of youth workers’ favourite biscuits, and probably the best pie chart you have ever seen. Read more...