Young Redbridge Volunteers highlight Healthy Relationships for young people in their ‘Love is..?’ campaign.
The cheesy cards, love hearts and chocolate of Valentine’s Day are a gift of love, yet do many of us actually know what makes up a healthy relationship?
Team v Redbridge are a group of young volunteers from youth charity vInspired, taking part in Team v, a programme which aims to change the world one campaign at a time. Team v is a unique, nine month leadership and volunteering programme powered by young people who want to make an impact in their local communities. Every three months they work on a campaign set by vInspired staff and receive training over a weekend residential to equip them about the campaign, recruit volunteers and then create events from scratch.
113 Team v Leaders across the country have just finished their second campaign, ‘Love is…?’- a pop-up event focusing on young people aged 16-25 attempting to create discussion about what constitutes as a healthy relationship and to highlight the warning signs of abuse and services available to those who need it. Team v Redbridge, Ilford and Newbury Park partnered together to put on an event on the 15th February at Wanstead Youth Centre.
Young people were invited to come and discuss what is a healthy relationship and find out some advice of the warning signs by National Charity Tender. Each young person was asked on a scale of 1-5, 1 being unacceptable and 5 acceptable, where do you stand in the following situations:
1. Somebody wanting to check their partner’s texts and social media posts.
2. Somebody always wanting to hold their partner’s hand in public.
3. Somebody getting jealous when they see their partner speaking to someone else at a party.
4. Somebody wanting to know where their partner is all the time.
5. Somebody telling their partner that they’re putting on weight.
6. Somebody always forgetting their partner’s birthday.
7. Somebody not wanting to meet their partner’s friends or family.
8. Somebody going on a night out and not telling their partner.
9. Somebody calling their ex all the time asking to get back to them.
There are no right and wrong answers, the idea is to create a discussion about how some of these scenarios can lead to an unhealthy relationship. Although healthy relationships charity Tender does provide some expert thoughts on each scenario which can be accessed through the online questionnaire: https://beta.vinspired.com/team-v-questionnaire
With Sex and Relationship Education out-of-date and not compulsory in schools it seems obvious why so many young people struggle to know what to look for in a potential partner. According to NSPCC figures, out of the 75% of girls and 50% of boys who have experienced some form of emotional or physical abuse from their partners, only 19% have sought help. Therefore part of Team v’s national campaign was to raise awareness amongst young people about the services available for them in their local communities.
The young volunteers contacted various organisations to see who could come to their event and provide expert support and advice to any young person who may need it. Local charity Redbridge Rainbow Community, who support LGBT people in Redbridge, came and provided a stall with various exhibitions about their work and also showed their new documentary film featuring personal accounts, demonstrations and marches from Redbridge citizens in their own words. Young People Friendly also came to support the event, providing various information and advice with a stall. Other organisations helped the young volunteers by providing leaflets and posters to ensure that a young person could access the relevant support they needed. These included: Redbridge Action against Domestic Abuse, Redbridge Victim Support, Childline, Get Connected, Karma Nirvana, London Bubble Theatre Company, This is Abuse, Sexual Advice Association and Phoenix Counselling Service.
Young people also had a chance to listen to some great music by local Redbridge artists, performing their own original songs and also covering songs that brought the topic alive. As well as a chance to write down their opinions on a love heart and provide feedback to the young volunteers about the event.
Rebecca Kemal, Team v leader for Redbridge, says: “Many young people do not receive adequate relationship education about what makes up a healthy relationship. Some people think that if your partner doesn’t hit you then their relationship is healthy, but psychological manipulation and emotional abuse can do a lot of damage. We hope that the ‘Love is’ campaign will allow young people to discuss and debate what they think makes a relationship healthy and to become more aware of any warning signs and support services that are available in Redbridge.”
Namrah Arfan Team v leader for Ilford said: “Abuse is an issue that affects people of all ages, but many young people don’t recognise what is happening to them. And even fewer know they can find help. We hope that the event and going in to youth centres will open some people’s eyes to think differently about future relationships and inspire them to seek help if ever they need it.”
Throughout the campaign, Team v leaders created a buzz online using the social network Twitter promoting a Q&A with National charity Tender using the hashtag #loveis. Early estimates of the campaign state that the twitter Q&A on the 15th reached nearly 500,000 twitter accounts allowing young people to ask questions, find out about local services and explore what a healthy relationship is with the online questionnaire.
If you would like to find out more about Team v Redbridge, to volunteer with them or to support them in their new and final campaign please get in touch:
Email Rebecca Kemal at Rebecca.Kemal@vinspired.com
Follow Team v Redbridge @vRedbridge or www.facebook.com/vRedbridgeTeamv
Watch our Love Is..? video explaining more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3K8_GXQU1I
Guest Post Author: Rebecca Kemal