A mobile phone app to help young people access support around mental health, involvement in crime and relationship advice has been created following feedback from Lancashire’s young people.
Whay: What’s Happening Around You was created by Lancashire Violence Reduction Network (LVRN) and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to offer free resources for young people on a range of matters including mental health, knife crime and sex & relationships.
The app aims to provide vital support for people who are turning to online resources for help and give them a reliable, safe source of information that can be tricky to find on the internet.
Through the Lancashire Youth Commission; a peer-led project made up of 32 active members from a range of diverse backgrounds and experiences, young people raised their concerns and highlighted key priority topics.
These priorities included, Hate Crime, Abusive Relationships, Mental Health, Drugs & Alcohol, Social Media & Online Crime and Relationships with the police.
Introducing the Whay app, Susannah Clarke, Director of the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network said, “We saw an opportunity to listen to our young people and create a safe space for them to access information whilst still allowing them to explore their issues in private.
The early-intervention nature of the app is not intended to be a replacement for professional interventions, but a self-help tool for young people facing challenging times.
Our vision is to make this a resource that continuously meets the needs of young people in Lancashire and acts as a live resource that we can shape between all partner agencies working together.”
The app includes videos and links to resources and further information to help young people access the relevant support they need, as well as a directory on clubs, youth zones and events in their local area.
It also creates awareness about the local support services available – such as SLEAP and Kooth – and encourages young people in difficulty to seek help.
Whay may also be used by practitioners working with young people as an extension of their intervention and support.
Ria Barker, Champions Co-ordinator at Preston North End Community Trust, said: “Being able to access support from your mobile phone makes it immediately feel less daunting for the young people we work with.
“We’re proud to be supporting the Whay app. Now more than ever, people need things to do, they need a laugh and they need to be around other peers. The app is a new way for people we are working with to find sports or clubs in their area in one easy place and this resource is vital for many of the young people we work with.”
The Whay app will initially contain a directory of events happening in the Preston area but with plans to go further in the future. The funding for the app has come from The Home Office ‘Grip’ funding which sets out to tackle knife crime in local areas.