Thank you! Thank you for all your support this year. It’s been a challenge, but we’re motoring on with plans for 2021. This pandemic has brought into sharp focus how much families need support and each other. We hope to build on what we’ve achieved in 2020 with work focused on mental health, excluded pupils and giving young people and families a voice.

We are hugely proud and delighted to have awarded 54 Cities of Learning Digital Badges to the young people that have been actively involved in our projects in 2020.  Well done team!

We Are Poppy, our First World War project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, was co-produced by young people across Brighton and East Sussex. It was created entirely remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions and is a fascinating look at how women fared during the Great War, as well as its legacy for women today. 

You can listen to WeArePoppy here, as well as the interviews the team did with historian Professor Lucy Noakes about women’s lives, with therapist and historian Denise Poynter about women and shell shock, and with trauma therapist Darren Abrahams about how trauma affects people today.

Our third series of radio show, Raising Teens, was broadcast on BBC Sussex and Surrey in May/June this year. Co-prodcued by young people and again, entirely remotely, all episodes from the three series are available online. It was supported by Public Health, East and West Sussex Local Authorities.

We would like to thank Sussex Police for their unwavering support and we look forward to strengthening our partnership further in 2021.

Our Facebook Group, Raising Teens in Lockdown is going strong and providing much needed support to parents and carers. We’re hugely grateful to the support from the National Lottery Communities Fund. Our Facebook Live Q&As, posted on our Make (Good) Trouble Facebook page, have covered everything from concerns about drugs, going back to school in a pandemic and how to keep your teen safe. Do give us a follow on Facebook to make sure you catch the next Q&As in the new year. 

Quick links to catch up on our Facebook live Q&As:

We collaborated on Extraordinary with Storythings and Brighton Festival. It’s a lovely film featuring teens and Lemn Sissay, celebrating the achievements of Year 11 students of 2020 who had their GCSE’s cancelled and who are extraordinary! 

It’s been a busy year! We wish you all a happy, safe Christmas. See you in 2021,

Tayler, Daisy and Jane 

Our latest Q&A is all about weed and drug-taking. We’ve seen a rise in concerns from parents and teens about use of weed, and worries about county lines. We brought together a group of brilliant experts: Carl Scott, a youth worker from Reboot Sussex; Toby Chown from charity Oasis Project which helps families affected by alcohol and drug use; Luci Hammond from RU-OK?; and PC Joe Davies from Sussex Police. 

Watch our half hour conversation (below) which covered:

  • signs to look out for if you think your teen is taking drugs; 
  • how a parent should approach them and talk about concerns; 
  • advice about what effect different drugs have on the body; 
  • when to seek help and where to find it; 
  • parent’s influence
  • what to do if you’re concerned about drug dealing and county lines; 
  • and what the law says. 

If you’re concerned about a young person getting involved in drugs or county lines, getting advice before talking to them can really help. Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Talk to Frank  Information for parents worried about their child and demystifying the language around drugs

Oasis Project, helps women, children and families affected by alcohol or drug misuse, and Young Oasis providing a place of safety and support for children and young people

RU-OK? Part of Brighton & Hove Children’s Services, working alongside under 18s whose lives are affected by substance misuse in Brighton & Hove. RU-OK? adolescent service switchboard – 01273 293966 – ask for RU-OK

Change Grow Live charity with advice on alcohol and drugs including information about benzodiazepines

Young Minds offer information for parents worried about their child’s use of alcohol or drugs

Winston’s Wish is our charity of the month for December. They do incredible and important work with children, young people and families supporting them through bereavement. 

Our Raising Teens radio show about grief featured Ross Cormack from Winston’s Wish. It was a fascinating discussion between Ross, host Guy Lloyd, Winston’s Wish Ambassador, Mark Lemon, and two other parents who were all dealing with grief. 

Winston’s Wish have a trained team who will talk to young people and those who care for them offering guidance and support with a brilliant online chat service available every Tuesday (1-5pm) and Friday (9.30-1pm).  

Their Freephone National Helpline on 08088 020 021 is open between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

They also have a special website, Help2MakeSense, aimed at young people where they tell their own stories and share advice on everything from returning to school after a bereavement to expressing your feelings and looking after your mental health. 

We know that Christmas can be a really difficult time for those who are grieving, and especially so during this pandemic. They cite research that found that “90% of parents whose partner had died in the last 10 years said the pandemic had deepened their feelings of loneliness and isolation and 80% said their children had also struggled with loneliness and isolation”. Take a look at their latest blog post which includes tips for families coping with grief at Christmas.

The Winston’s Wish website offers a wealth of information including:
❤️ Specialist support information including following a bereavement by accident or illness, suicide, homicide and the military
❤️ Publications for bereaved families and professionals
training for professionals 
❤️ Support for schools

You can donate to Winston’s Wish via their website.

Follow Winston’s Wish on social media:

🎧 Listen to Raising Teens: Dealing with Grief

We tackled male mental health and home learning this week with two live Q&As with brilliant guests. Grab a cuppa and join Daisy and our brilliant guests.

Men’s mental health

On International Men’s Day, we wanted to focus on male mental health. We’ve been really concerned about the recent rise in suicide rates in men. All three of our guests for this chat have experience working with young people and gave us great insights into how to broach difficult subjects, on role models and how to tackle cannabis use, a particular concern in Brighton and Hove. Huge thanks to Carl Scott, a youth worker from Reboot Sussex, Glen Wiseman from YMCA Downslink Group and Lee Hine from East Sussex College for joining us.

YMCA Downslink offer counselling for young people aged 13+. Find out more on the e-wellbeing website.

Motivating teens to work from home

It can be so hard to motivate teens to learn from home. We talked to Darren Abrahams from Human Hive Learning to discuss the issues and he offered plenty of practical advice including what signs to look out for when your child is struggling as well as the language and tools to help build a better relationship with your teen. (If you followed our First World War project, you might remember Darren as he spoke to or teens about his work as a trauma therapist. You can hear the interview here.) Darren talked about his latest online course which is designed to help parents support teens learning at home.
For anyone interested in The Human Hive Learning course, all carried out over webinars and via their website, we have a half price exclusive to Make (Good) Trouble – which makes it about £10 (usual price $24.99). Click here for the offer.

If you have any questions for our guests or something you want us to cover in our future Q&As, let us know in the comments below.

Follow us on Facebook to catch our Q&As as they happen live.