Former Lioness Jill Scott says young people are facing ‘complex challenges’ now more than ever

‘Now is the time to act’ said the former England football star

Maira Butt
Saturday 11 May 2024 00:02 BST
(Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Retired footballer and former Lioness Jill Scott has shared her concern about the “complex challenges” facing young people in a new campaign, as she urged “now is the time to act”.

Scott hung up her boots in August 2022 after making 161 appearances and scoring 27 goals for England, and was part of the Lionesses’ European Championships triumph in 2022.

The 37-year-old Children In Need ambassador visited Community On Solid Ground in Greater Manchester, a charity that delivers a range of sports, mentoring, and youth activities to help empower young people.

She discussed the importance of mentorship and the importance of positive relationships to steer the trajectory of their lives.

“Not every young person has someone they can go to, to confide in,” she said. “This could mean they sit with their issues, letting them build up and then carrying that weight on their shoulders.

“However, we know this weight can be lessened through having a simple conversation, that is why access to trusted mentors is so important.”

She also discussed the importance of discussing issues such as “racism and bullying”.

“It is great to see young people at Community On Solid Ground be encouraged to share their own experiences and also engage in discussions to take in other perspectives, to tackle issues such as racism and bullying.

The former Lioness said young people were navigating a range of ‘complex’ challenges
The former Lioness said young people were navigating a range of ‘complex’ challenges (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

“Now more than ever, young people are having to navigate more and more complex challenges in their everyday lives and now is the time to act”, she said.

During the visit, the I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! winner met with the charity’s chief executive Majid Dar to learn about the challenges facing young people and the work being undertaken to deal with them.

Scott joined charity Community On Solid Ground in Greater Manchester
Scott joined charity Community On Solid Ground in Greater Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Dar said: “We work in the heart of the community in south and central Manchester where there can be a range of issues facing young people.

“We have children who are doing really well at the project, and then we have other young people who have got involved in petty crime, anti-social behaviour or drugs, so we make sure we address those issues with them and support them to make better choices and keep them safe.”

BBC Children In Need has partnered up with fundraiser Omaze to fund more critical youth work projects in the UK.

Omaze has guaranteed a minimum donation of £1 million from the partnership and is giving away a house in Dorset worth £2.5 million – along with £100,000 in cash – to raise funds for youth work projects across the UK.

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