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Meet the women making a conscious effort to help youth

PICTURED: Sophie Simpson and Serena Johnson

TWO FRIENDS who established a community organisation to benefit the youth of Huddersfield have just celebrated a two-year anniversary amid plans for a new venture to empower young women.

Sophie Simpson and Serena Johnson formed Conscious Youth in 2016 in response to the loss of youth provisions and services within Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

The women have earned great respect for their work with young people, which includes a youth group, social action, creative arts, fundraising, culture sharing, community engagement and personal development workshops in schools and community spaces.

As a youth-led organisation their projects are developed from consultation activities and discussions with young people and they have identified the need for targeted support to local girls aged 12-16.

“We’ve noticed significant recurring issues; a feeling of not being understood, not knowing who they are, what their values are or what they stand for. Many of the girls also suffer from a lack of motivation and confidence, low self-esteem, unhappiness in important relationships, conflict with parents, bullying and peer-pressure and a fear of the future,” said Simpson.

They point to the rising number of STI’s among 15-24 year olds, a 67 per cent rise in gonorrhoea and the fact that chlamydia now accounts for 40 per cent of all new STI infections locally.

With funding from One Community Foundation and the Tampon Tax Community Fund the plan is to create a space in which girls between the ages of 12-16 can attend an all- female youth group, Conscious Girls, where the focus will be on self-development and character building.

TAILORED

Simpson added: “We plan to deliver a youth-led tailored programme of activities and workshops which includes our Stepping up, Stepping Out programme exploring topics such as personal boundaries, image and identity,” added Sophie.

Their new initiative will be launched to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8 at the Conscious Youth 3rd Annual Women’s Conference to be held at Cummins Turbo Technology, Huddersfield.

Special guests in attendance on the night are MP Thelma Walker, Sarah Dransfield from Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust and forced marriage survivor Asha Iqbal.

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