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FutureProof and Parkes Pharmacy

Future is looking bright... 

FutureProof work with marginalised youth groups with criminal records who engage in risk-taking behaviours such as substance misuse, sexually active young people, young parents and those facing unemployment. Situated in the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Council area, FutureProof engages with young people to tackle a range of health and social issues. They have a daily drop-in service, offering support, advice and education.

The project targeted The Cut and the Edenderry area, both ranking in the top 25% deprived Super Outputs Area (SOA).   

Building on their Level One BCPP Project's success, FutureProof secured Level Two Funding and was awarded £12,000. They worked with a group of 13 young women over 14 weeks. The young people co-produced the programme, exploring issues such as sexual health, relationships, mental health and coping strategies, personal safety, substance misuse and smoking/vaping. 

The aim of the project was to increase the young women’s awareness of health issues that impact them, encouraging them to make positive choices. Building on the work from Level One Funding, Michele the Pharmacist was able to provide expert advice on prescription drugs, alcohol-misuse, and quit smoking aids. She informed the young people of services that the local pharmacy offered such as emergency contraception. FutureProof teamed up with several community and voluntary partners which specialised in health areas that the group wanted addressed to improve their health literacy.  

With the ABC Council area ranking the second highest area for drug seizure in NI, FutureProof partnered with Start 360 to deliver an educational session on the harmful effects of using illegal substances such as ‘spice’, vaping and cannabis.

At the time of the project, a few of the girls were excluded from school. This funding provided them with a sense of belonging, allowing them to feel valued and listened to whilst learning invaluable educational information on health and social issues that impact them. 

Common Youth facilitated a session on Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE), offering practical support and advice on issues such as pregnancy, UTI’s and contraception. Another weekly session was carried out by Aids Community Education Training (ACET), delivering an interactive programme designed to provide the young people with an awareness of their physical and sexual development, exploring period education and issues such as period poverty.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the young people that FutureProof support. To overcome this, the group benefited from the Mental Health and Well Being Programme delivered by PIPS Hope and Support. This particular session was priceless as it built on pertinent issues such as coping strategies, how to build resilience and signposting the young women to services when they are struggling. 

The informal nature of the sessions allowed the young people to talk about their health issues in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment. The young people had fun using interactive props such as glucometers and sphygmomanometers to test their peer's blood sugars and blood pressure levels, whilst increasing their awareness of the services that the pharmacy has to offer. The programme was just as beneficial for the Pharmacist, as it improved Michele’s awareness of the health issues that impact young people in the local area. Early intervention and prevention played a key role throughout the programme as the group became more informed of community services in their locality, relieving strain on statutory services in the future.   

‘’It has been fantastic to see how the programme has been having a positive impact on the young people - each week I have noticed they are opening up more and showing great interest in the health topics we have covered and the pharmacy services we have discussed. Working alongside the girls has been invaluable for me, it has given me a great understanding of the needs of young people which I will take back to my work as a community Pharmacist’’. – Michele Thompson, Pharmacist  

‘We are almost halfway through the programme, the young people are really enjoying and learning from the Pharmacist. We have been able to dispel any myths and reinforce healthy behaviours which will impact positively on the young people taking part in the programme’. – Lucinda Love-Teggarty, Lead Community Partner  

''The course is going well, everyone is enjoying it including me. Great opportunity for us” – Young Person 

‘’I like learning about drugs and the different categories. I’ve learned the pharmacy has different services like blood pressure and blood sugar level” – Young Person