What's The Issue? The issues we tackle are... We have grown from a small organisation, initially with a focus on the rural areas of Somerset, to becoming a major provider of services to young people across the county. Somerset's statistics: 20% population of somerset is made up of children and young people 48% of these live in rural areas 23,000 young people aged 16-24 live in rural Somerset 13,000 young people under 18 live in poverty Only 29% of primary school leavers report high self-esteem (compared with 38% nationally) Only 49% of young people who have been in care in Somerset are in education, employment or training. Given the vast geographical size of the county, it is not surprising that the experience of young people living in Somerset varies greatly. In many ways it is a great place for young people to live. Young people regularly identify a range of positive elements to living in Somerset, including a strong sense of safety, a lack of pollution, peace and tranquillity, a sense of community and access to open spaces. However, young people in Somerset remain isolated in several ways: Young people are often pessimistic about their employment prospects. In the JSNA research, 60% of young people expressed a desire to remain in Somerset but recognised that this would be self-limiting – they felt that remaining local meant lower paid jobs – the 2016 median salary in West Somerset was just £287 per week. Another young person said: “I would love to be able to make a difference here and stay with my family - but I know I might not be able to.” However, the prospect of leaving Somerset to pursue careers was viewed with uncertainty, particularly with the prospect of facing large student debts. Young Somerset engages and supports young people in a range of social, economic, educational and recreational opportunities designed to encourage social inclusion and life-long learning by: Addressing the issues of exclusion, isolation and disadvantage Increasing the take-up of education, training, employment and enterprise opportunities Encouraging community regeneration through good citizenship and participation Engaging and providing access to information, advice and guidance Generating and participating in partnerships involving young people and stakeholders Involving young people in the organisation’s development and delivery Enabling the voice of young people to be heard in their communities Acting as a voice for the voluntary and community youth sector Establishing projects to respond to local need We exist because we are helping to tackle these issues and we are putting young people first. Find out about the difference we make.