Support for young people

Updated 20.07.21

Young people living in Blackburn with Darwen deserve to lead happy and healthy lives. We spoke to hundreds of young people in the borough and used their feedback to shape our new services.

Everybody needs advice, help and support at different times during their lives. When you do, we will be there for you.

How the council and our partners can support you

Need advice on careers, job opportunities, training or education?

If you need support to make choices about your future, New Directions can help. They are a career, information and advice service for 16-19 year olds in Blackburn with Darwen. If you have a special educational need or disability, they can support you until you are 25 years old. To start planning your future, ring the New Directions team on 01254 666424 or email newdirections@blackburn.gov.uk

Help is also available if you have lost your job or training placement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are 16-24 years old, the Step Up Youth Hub can put you in touch with a skilled Jobcentre coach. More information about the support on offer can be found on the ‘Bwd Help Hub for residents’ page.

Stuck for things to do or want to get involved in your community?

The council and our partners provide a wide range of activities for you throughout the borough. This includes youth clubs, outdoor activities, school holiday camps and community events. The BwD Youth Forum also offers you the opportunity to make things better for young people in your community. For more information on the activities and events on offer to you, take a look at the following websites:

Worried about your drug and/or alcohol use and want to make a change?

Whether you want help making changes or some advice and information, the Go2 team can help. Go2 is a free and confidential service for people under 25 years old. They won't judge you or tell you what to do. They can also offer you support if someone else's drug or alcohol use is affecting you. You can contact the team on 01254 495014 (choose option 2) or by emailing inspirebwd.referrals@cgl.org.uk

Need support for your mental health?

Many young people experience issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm. If you are ready to share how you feel, help is available. Talk to someone like a teacher, school nurse or your GP. Professionals like these are able to refer you to ELCAS. This is a specialist mental health service for children and young people. You can also get support from the following organisations:

  • Kooth: create an account online to get access to a free and anonymous mental wellbeing community for people under 25 years old. You can also receive support from counsellors.
  • Samaritans: call 116 123 for confidential emotional support or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Shout: for immediate help, text SHOUT to 85258 to text with a trained crisis volunteer

In trouble with the law?

If you get into trouble with the law, the Youth Justice Service can step in to support you. They are separate from the police and the courts and can work with you to help you avoid committing crime. They will offer you advice and support, and make sure that you are treated fairly. You cannot refer yourself to the Youth Justice Service, but the police and other agencies may do this on your behalf.

Homeless or worried about becoming homeless?

Every young person has a right to a roof over their head. If you are homeless or at risk of becoming so, the Nightsafe team can help. They will work with you to help you find accommodation, and provide you with advice and guidance. Referrals to Nightsafe are made by the council’s Housing Needs team. You can request their help by completing this online form. You will then be contacted within 5 working days.

In need of contraception, pregnancy testing or sexual health advice?

Brook Blackburn offer contraception and sexual health services for people under 25 years old. Many of their services are available online which means you will not have to visit a clinic. For example, you can order free STI test kits and contraceptives online and have them delivered to your home. You can also find advice on a range of topics such as gender, relationships, sex, and sexuality at www.brook.org.uk

Being forced to commit crimes?

If a friend or adult is pressuring you to commit crimes, such as dealing drugs or carrying weapons, you could be a victim of criminal exploitation. They may bribe you with rewards or threaten you if you don’t do what they tell you to. If this sounds like what you are experiencing, help is available. You can speak to a trusted adult, such as a teacher or a social worker, or contact one of the following organisations:

  • Childline – call 0800 1111 or register for an online account to send an email instead
  • Children’s Advice & Duty Service – call 01254 666400 to speak to a council social worker
  • Police – call 101 to speak to a member of the police (or 999 if you’re in immediate danger)

Being encouraged or forced to take part in sexual activity?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) happens when a young person is encouraged or forced to take part in sexual activity. This may be exchange for presents, money or alcohol and can happen both online and in ‘real life’. If this sounds like what you are experiencing, there are many ways to get help. Speak to a trusted adult such as a teacher or school nurse, or get in touch with one of the following organisations:

  • Childline – call 0800 1111 or register for an online account to send an email instead
  • Children’s Advice & Duty Service – call 01254 666400 to speak to a council social worker
  • Police – call 101 to speak to a member of the police (or 999 if you’re in immediate danger)

If you are worried about the way someone has been communicating with you online, you can send a report to one of CEOP’s Child Protection Advisors. They can ensure you get the help you need. For advice on how to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship, you can also visit the Childline website.

Experiencing severe difficulties and in need of specialist support?

Some young people need specialist support. This includes young people in the youth justice system and young people in care. To help get you back on the right track, our Targeted Youth Support (TYS) team can provide a package of support to you. You cannot refer yourself to the TYS team. But, if any of the professionals you talk to think this type of support could help you, they will refer to you to TYS.

Worried about your sibling or your friend?

If you suspect that your sibling(s) or friend may be at risk of abuse, neglect or harm, you can tell us. We will talk to you about your concerns and take action if needed. This may involve us stepping in to provide support to your family or your friend's family. To speak to a social worker about your worries, call the CADS team on 01254 666400. Lines are open from 8:30am to 5pm on weekdays (Mon-Fri).