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Tools to tackle appearance related abuse and bullying in youth groups launched

Changing Faces, has developed a set of new resources, funded by The Robertson Trust and the National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland, to support youth workers and volunteers to better understand and deliver workshops on visible difference to their groups and communities.

The resources are in response to research that revealed that one in six children living with a visible difference, say they are too self-conscious about the way they look to join new groups.

The research also found that when it comes to taking part in activities outside of school, children with a visible difference are more likely than their peers to fear that they might not fit in (33% versus 21%), that they might not make new friends (27% versus 20%), and that they might get bullied (19% versus 9%).

Angela Harris, Changing Faces, Head of Scotland, says:

“We want children and young people with a visible difference, like a scar, mark or condition, to be able to live the life they want to lead. That includes feeling comfortable and confident in local youth clubs and groups that we all know can be so beneficial to young people.

“We live in a society that puts great emphasis on body image. Our new resources help youth workers and volunteers to support young people to challenge stereotypes and start to think differently about appearance.”

The new resources were designed and developed with community and youth work experts from organisations including YouthLink Scotland, Youth Scotland and Scouts Scotland, as well as young people, their parents, and adults with visible differences and disfigurements.

The resources give step-by-step guidance to anyone who wants to run a workshop with their youth group, as well as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training module that’s suitable for youth workers and volunteers.

The training film features two youth workers and a group of young people from Greenock who took part in the pilot.

Beth Doherty, a Youth Worker from Inverclyde who took part in the film, says:

“As a youth worker with a visible difference, I was so pleased to be part of the pilot project with Changing Faces. When I was younger, it would have helped me enormously if more adults had felt equipped to talk about looking different. Together with young people we can create more inclusive environments. You don’t need to have someone with a visible difference or disfigurement in your group, it’s about helping young people to challenge stereotypes and normalising visible differences.”

Changing Faces is now working with partner organisations including YouthLink Scotland and Youth Scotland, to share the resources and encourage more youth workers and groups to use them.

Image credit: Changing Faces

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