Young people want a connection to their local area, to people who care and to their passions. In most corners of the UK, we are not giving young people the information they need to make these connections. We live in a world where it is easier to find a takeaway or a good deal on a purchase than to find support when we need it.
Young people use the internet as a main source of information for their mental and physical health. However, navigating online service information can be overwhelming and confusing, particularly for those with additional needs.
Many organisations exist to support people in need, however there is a lack of coordination and sharing about support services, making the information unreliable and misleading. Ultimately, this results in people never discovering services that could help them meet their goals. Being unable to access the right services can have a significant impact on someone’s mental and physical health, development, and wellbeing.
Great progress is being made to improve the availability and quality of service information in pockets of the UK. There is however a need for more scalable, sustainable and open models.
Signpost+ is a collaborative programme working with communities, data folk, the social sector and beyond. Testing models, processes, and technology to ensure young people find support when they need it. We are exploring how to improve the quality of life for young people and communities, and the value that technology and data can bring to this. We have chosen to focus on young people as a key beneficiary, but this work is replicable to anyone.
So far, we have delivered a programme of desk research, user interviews and workshops. Going forward, we will be looking to build on this research and pilot the recommendations explored in the report.