Projects

Where we're heading. What we're doing. What we've done. 

Welcome to our projects page, here you can find out a little more about what our future plans, what we're currently doing and previous work we've been a part of.

We've co-created a range of strengths-based resources for the youth homeless sector

We're incredibly proud of our 6+ years of working with St Basils and building My Strengths Training for Life 

Looking at how we can prevent youth homelessness by improving family relations 

Understanding what support is required to ensure young people successfully transition out of care

STRENGTHS-BASED RESOURCES

Our current and most recent project has been the co-creation of strengths-based resources for the youth homeless sector. Below you can find a summary of our progress so far, with more information on our toolkit page.

Our Mental Skills Training Toolkit (#MSTtoolkit) has been designed with and for those working in the youth homeless sector. Building from the content included in the MST4Life programme, the toolkit includes activities which are designed to support young people recognise and develop their mental skills, such as: goal-setting, coping strategies, resilience and support seeking. 

When producing the toolkit, we pitched an initial prototype of the MST toolkit to a wider audience of 60+ people from the homeless sector, including front-line staff and policymakers. We also sought the opinions of young people experiencing homelessness.

Feedback from staff and young people underscored the importance of producing a toolkit that included tips and techniques to encourage conversation and ensure the resources were completed collaboratively

Furthermore, attendees of the toolkit launch event also highlighted the importance of providing staff with guidance on how to use the tools; for example, being emotionally safe and psychologically informed.

This let to the development of a second resource: a guide to delivering the toolkit in a psychologically informed way. Here staff can find strategies to foster feels of autonomy, competence and relatedness, as well as, techniques and tools from solution-focused brief therapy.

And, of course, it wouldn't be a trilogy with our a third and final resource!

We're currently working on a resource to assist commissioners who may be wishing to implement a training programme in their service. This will include strategies for planning and evaluating a programme, building from our own first-hand experience and evidence-based frameworks.

 

MY STRENGTHS TRAINING FOR LIFE (MST4LIFE)

All young people have the capacity for growth and personal development. My Strengths Training for Life (MST4Life) uses a distinctly strengths-based approach informed by clinical and sports psychology to support young people to achieve their goals.

The MST4Life programme has become a central component of a large housing provider's support and wellbeing offer to young people. Those who are currently NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are particularly encouraged to take part in the programme.

MST4Life uses similar techniques to those used by sports coaches to help young people establish aspirations, set goals and utilise support networks to develop confidence, teamwork, problem-solving, and a range of other mental skills. All this is aimed at helping residents, many of whom have complex needs and are at risk of isolation, social disadvantage and poor mental health.

Just as successful sportsmen and women develop their mental skills to reach new heights in their sport, the programme helps young people develop the mental skills to navigate the job market, build healthy relationships, and manage their mental health.

Read the MST4Life impact case here.

 

PARENTING YOUNG PEOPLE

The leading cause of youth homelessness is family breakdown. By helping parents improve relationships in their family, it is possible that many instances of youth homelessness could be prevented.

In collaboration with a local youth homelessness charity, we have developed, delivered and evaluated programmes for parents of adolescents and young adults.

Parents are helped to explore ways to improve relationships, communication skills, and learn about the psychology of adults and young people.

These interactive workshops, developed in collaboration with parents themselves, have been delivered to parents in local communities, as well as employees in NHS hospitals.

 
 

IMPROVING PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN LEAVING CARE

Children leaving care are at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers, which particularly affects those who have multiple support needs, such as having mental ill-health, learning disabilities, or experiences in the criminal justice system.

In an effort to improve existing provision for children leaving care services, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned us to evaluate the outcomes and processes of a new housing pathway for care leavers with multiple and complex needs

Five young people accepted a placement at a youth homeless housing project, which included support provided by the homelessness charity, such as employability and life skills training, and an opportunity to complete the MST4Life programme.

Findings and recommendations from the project, including a literature review on what factors influence care leaver outcomes, are intended to help local governments make informed decisions to ensure leaving care services are effective and cost-effective.

 
Contact

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT

UK

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