Chilypep’s OASIS Group nominated for National Award

Members of the OASIS group campaign to improve mental health services for young people.

This article originally appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on December 29th by Lynsey Bradford 

A Barnsley mental health group for young people is in the running for a national award.

OASIS, which stands for Opening Up Awareness & Support & Influencing Services is a Chilypep group based in Barnsley which aims to give young people a say in how mental health services are run.

The group has been shortlisted for ‘Innovator of the Year’ in the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.

The award recognises children and young people who have taken the lead in planning, organising and delivering projects with a goal to help organisations such as schools, to promote positive mental health and inspire hope in children and young people.

OASIS Lead Project Worker Chantelle Park at the launch of the Mental Health First Aid Kit on World Mental Health Day 2017.

OASIS has developed a Mental Health First Aid Kit which was launched in Barnsley on World Mental Health Day in October 2017 and aims to make mental health more visible in public spaces and help young people struggling with ill mental health to ask for help.

Lead Project Worker Chantelle Parke said: “The shortlisting is a credit to the hardworking, passionate and creative young people in the OASIS group and their commitment to finding new and exciting ways to end the stigma around mental health and improve services for young people. The launch of the Mental Health First Aid Kit was a huge success and we look forward to seeing how it will be taken forward by schools, colleges and mental health services in the future.”

Patrick Otway, mental health commissioner at Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a real credit to the young people involved in OASIS. Speaking up and getting involved isn’t always easy and they have really done themselves proud this year.”

The winner will be announced at the awards on January 6th.

RUBIC Project celebrated in House of Commons Social Integration report launch event

The RUBIC Project aims to build social cohesion and promote integration across the whole of north Sheffield

Chilypep’s RUBIC(Respect and Understanding; Building Inclusive Communities) project has been celebrated by a new report published today by the British Academy.

Representatives from RUBIC attended the report’s launch at the House of Commons alongside The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth and Chuka Umunna MP.

The “If you could do one thing…” Local actions to improve social integration looks report at a range of methods being implemented by community projects around the UK to improve social integration in local areas, drawing on evidence from practitioners, volunteers and members of the public.

RUBIC is a project working to enhance social cohesion in Sheffield. The partnership project between Chilypep, Mediation Sheffield (MESH), City of Sanctuary Sheffield, and Who Is Your Neighbour? has been funded by the Big Lottery to work in partnership with Parkwood Academy until 2020. The RUBIC project takes a holistic approach to improving integration and easing tensions surrounding social cohesion in Sheffield, using safe space dialogues, community mediation, awareness raising sessions, peer support and a young community leaders programme. The project focuses in the North of Sheffield, making connections between newly arrived migrants and more established residents in their own neighbourhoods, helping to increase understanding and create more resilient communities.

The British Academy report consists of a collection of essays on the social integration of both new and long settled communities, as well as case studies of various UK community projects that are focussed on the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in their local area – including RUBIC based in Sheffield.

Laura Abbott, RUBIC Coordinator said:

“What makes this project so exciting is its’ holistic approach to social integration. Rather than delivering activities in silo, we have come together to combine a range of expertise and activities to truly empower communities and neighbourhoods. The project works with new arrivals, refugees and asylum seekers, but also host communities across all age ranges.

Focusing on and around Parkwood Academy we have developed a range of activities, including safe spaces where people can come to explore thoughts and perceptions about their neighbourhoods, community mediation and guardianship programmes, peer support and awareness raising work, support groups for newly arrived young people and unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, and social action projects that young people can engage in.

Ultimately we hope that we can use this resource to empower those we engage with to be able to have a voice and a say in all the issues that affect them and to influence the change they would like to see in their local areas. The idea of cohesion can often be superimposed onto a given community and we want to be led by those we are working with around what ‘cohesion’ looks like and what this means to them and be led by this.”

Chair of the British Academy project, Professor Anthony Heath CBE FBA said:

“It is often said that we live in a divided society, yet our research shows how small, local projects are already making difference to the lives of established and newly-arrived migrant communities across the UK.

“But it is clear that integration does not happen on its own. Social integration must be supported and planned, taking into account the diverse needs of specific communities and places.

“The Government’s forthcoming Integration Strategy must take account of the good work that is already going on. Only then can we build sustainable and cohesive communities, where people of all backgrounds are welcomed and supported.”

The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government said:

“If you could do one thing…” provides practitioners, policy makers and communities invaluable and practical insights on how we can strengthen integration in local places drawing on our collective knowledge and practice.”

Commenting on the launch of the British Academy’s “If you could do one thing…” report, Chuka Umunna MP said:

“I welcome the publication of this report. We need a meaningful Integration Strategy which works for all parts of the UK to celebrate and look beyond our differences. However, integration is a two-way street requiring action on the part of newcomers and host communities.

Chilypep girls march to Reclaim the Night

Chilypeppers marched in solidarity to Reclaim the Night.

Saturday November 25th marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Chilypep marched with young women and girls through Sheffield as part of the Reclaim the Night Women’s March.

Armed with protest signs and placards made during sessions with Chilypep around women’s and girl’s rights, the girls marched along with supporters and representatives from Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam Students Union and the campaign group This Girl Can.

The march was organised in support of the elimination of violence against women and as a call to end street harassment so that all women and girls feel safe walking the streets at night.

Chilypep Project Worker Ellie Munday said: “There was a great atmosphere and sense of solidarity on the march. It was great to give these young women the chance to get involved in what was, for some of them, their first political action.”

Some of the art work created by the Chilypep girls’ group was exhibited in The University of Sheffield Student’s Union to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Artwork by the Chilypep girls’ group was exhibited in The University of Sheffield Students Union.
Chilypep Project Worker Ellie Munday leading a session with the girls’ group to create protest banners for the march.
“Women’s rights are human rights.”

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the 2018 Representation of the People Act in which women in the UK were permitted to vote for the first time. Chilypep will be exhibiting at Weston Park Museum to commemorate the victory for women’s rights and celebrate a proud history of political action.