On vaping & drug use, plus updates from our hubs

The latest from the Dreamscheme team

March 2024

Hello friends

We’re back with another newsletter from Dreamscheme. Hope you are well.

On vaping and drug use

By Jonny Luke:

Today’s teenagers are much less likely to engage in ‘risky behaviours’ such as drinking alcohol, or taking illegal drugs. However, one behaviour on the rise is vaping. 9% of young people in the UK aged 11 to 15 years old are now using vapes – and the government are now trying to intervene.

In Dreamscheme, we’re also concerned with young people vaping.

One of the biggest concerns is that drugs are more accessible through vaping pens such as SPICE, cannabis or THC. Five young people have been caught in the past two weeks alone in some of our local schools with such drugs. 

There is an obvious health danger to the young people but also long-term effects such as gateway drugs or not being able to kick the habit.

This is a cultural shift and something which must be tackled at that level but for us in our local areas we have a responsibility to educate. In January, we spent some time across all our youth hubs talking with young people about the dangers of vaping, and it has been great to see a number of boys take the risks seriously. A few have even decided to stop the vaping.

Around Dreamscheme

Behind the Scenes at Belvoir

Andrew, one of the young guys at Dreamscheme, gives us a walk through tour of the Belvoir youth hub.

Lower North Belfast

We started a new Dreamscheme hub in a very deprived area of Lower North Belfast in 2023. One of the biggest issues in the local community is the easy access to drugs and alcohol, with a lot of young people dabbling in this kind of activity. There is also a lot of anti-social behaviour, which young people can get sucked into.

Our work is growing slowly but we are really encouraged by a small group of young people who have started to buy into our programme. Currently, the group is primarily girls – so a big focus is to reach out to more boys in the area.

Despite being a fairly new hub, we can already see that Dreamscheme has become a huge part of the young people’s week. The girls say that they count down to Dreamscheme! They love having a space where they can be themselves, and they value the advice of our leaders. When we are with them, there is a great level of vulnerability, with young people opening up to share their lives with Lizzie and Adam. We have been able to have important conversations about relationships and body image.

Young People Talk Money

Young people talk about how to spend money wisely.

A New Cohort of Young Leaders

We love to encourage young people to step into leadership – to lead with character, to take responsibility for what’s in their reach, and to make a difference in the world around them. There are currently two ways in which young people are growing as leaders: our Young Leaders programme and our new Youth Council.

Below is a recent photo from a Young Leaders training session:

And, no, these guys are not mindlessly scrolling. They are completing a personality test as part of a session on authentic leadership.

“You will be the best leader you can be when you stay true to your own values and beliefs. So, lead from your heart, embrace your own personality and stick to your own style.”

New Season of the Thrive Podcast

Season 3 is coming: Young people from Belvoir estate talk honestly about how they thrive. First episode is out 14th March on Spotify.

If you want to find out more about our work – just send us a note or ask to meet with one of our team. We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time.

The Dreamscheme Team 🙂