05 Jun 2017

The Children’s Society and BGV launch new partnership to support startups helping vulnerable young people

By Jessica

Today we’re launching a new programme partnership with The Children’s Society, with the aim of supporting new ways of using technology to address some of most serious issues facing vulnerable young people.

The problem

It is not always a single issue or event that can damage a child’s life, but the cumulative impact of multiple adversity and risk that lead to significant and unmet need. Where a combination of factors are present – such as chaotic lifestyles, risky behaviour like running away from home or substance misuse, mental health issues, living in poverty, violence and conflict in the home – long-term permanent harm can result.

For at-risk young people experiencing multiple challenges in their lives, there can also be huge gaps in the support they receive. Services may be unable to identify the different issues or engage effectively across them. Reductions in public spending mean fewer services are available with rising thresholds to access support. Opportunities are missed for earlier intervention for the most vulnerable young people. This leads to problems escalating and lasting negative outcomes that have a devastating effect on young people as well as a detrimental and costly impact on wider society.

Technology can be a double edged sword

Technology – especially digital communication – is a double-edged sword for young people. It has opened pathways for, and opportunities to grow networks. It has provided a gateway to quicker, easier and more diverse sharing of experience, information and knowledge. At the same time, it has opened the door for exploitation, bullying, a very transient and disingenuous sense of “friendship”, and an overload of information/communication that can actually compound the sense of isolation some young people feel.

Technology that seeks to put young people in the driving seat of developments, has a critical role to play in addressing some of these issues; the way that these issues can be hidden from view, the perceived stigma associated with receiving support, the challenge of identifying when issues may be escalating, the struggle in providing accessible support at the right moments.  This is an area of social challenge ripe for better responses and new models of support.

The Children’s Society and BGV partnership

Our partnership with the Children’s Society will identify and support start-ups using technology to address solutions that can break cycles of disadvantage facing young people.

We will combine the Children’s Society’s insight into issues faced by young people with BGV’s expertise in identifying and accelerating technology ventures that impact the lives of millions of people.

We’re particularly interested in supporting ideas for using technology to:

Improve a young person’s resilience, mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Increase a young person’s skills and resourcefulness to overcome barriers and succeed in life.
Provide greater opportunities for orientation and integration of young refugees, asylum seeking children in families, and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
Improve the safety of young people, both offline and online.
Amplify the voices of young people, giving them agency and transforming systems, policy, behaviours and attitudes.

We’re looking to find and support 10 ventures through this partnership over the next two years. Selected ventures will receive investment and support through the main BGV accelerator programme.

Apply here for BGV’s autumn programme – the deadline is Sunday 18th June 2017.

If you’re thinking of applying and would like to talk through your idea beforehand, then get in contact and we’ll find a time to chat.

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This blog was written together with The Children’s Society. Photo provided by The Children’s Society.