While we live in a society where many people thrive, this is not the case for everyone. Too many people still fall through the gaps and don’t have the same start in life or access to the same opportunities. Poor mental health, inadequate education, drug and alcohol addiction, low incomes and lack of affordable and secure housing can all contribute to a life of chaos and hardship that can be very hard to move on from.
Budgets cuts have drastically affected what can be delivered by local authorities to those most in need. And many social problems have worsened in recent years. The UK has the highest rate of imprisonment in Western Europe, with 85,636 people in prisons and young offender institutions. Of those, 29% have a drug problem on arrival to prison and mental health is a serious issue – 26% of women and 16% of men said they had received treatment for a mental health problem in the year before entering custody. Reoffending rates remain stubborn, with almost half of people going on to commit further crimes following release.
Recent figures show that at least 254,000 individuals and 59,090 households in England are homeless. Child poverty has risen for the third year running with around 4 million children growing up poor.
Too often young people are let down by the mainstream education system, which can fail to meet their specific needs. The latest figures show that school exclusions are on the increase, with 6,685 young people being permanently excluded in 2015/16. Children with special educational needs account for more than half of those exclusions. The knock on effect is damaging – last year, 11% of all young people aged 16-24 were not in education, employment or training.
Some of the most vulnerable members of our society are not getting the help they need. We do everything we can to offer support, stability and guidance, enabling people to open doors that were previously closed to them. We know that most people who come to us for help have a range of needs, not just one. We also know that, with the right support and guidance, people can be empowered to turn their lives around and move on to a future of success and independence.
We work hard to support people with all their needs but a lack of resources means we cannot reach as many people as we know need our help.