Our founder's note
At 18 years old, I found myself at a crossroad that changed the route of my life exponentially. While the overwhelming advice when you finish school is to further your education with a university degree, that wasn’t an option for me, and like so many other young people, I was at a loss for what I was supposed to be doing.
If you are certain with what you want to do then there is a natural, and arguably obvious, progression. But when you are unsure and don’t know what’s out there, the route can feel hugely daunting. With my closest peers at university, I felt I was floundering and falling behind, and as a consequence my mental health suffered. I know I’m not the only one who has been in this position.
After months and months of searching online I found some work experience with Futureversity, a charity offering support and summer activities for young people. It was here I discovered how many organisations are out there that offer support and guidance to young people facing difficulty in their life, whether it be their personal or financial situation, physical or mental wellbeing, or in their working life. I was exposed to professional advice and opportunities that made the crossroads I had felt stuck at in my own life, suddenly much clearer.
Often when we are unsure of something, we Google it. But it is hard to know what to search for when you don’t really know what you’re looking for. Sometimes when you’re a young person, you can recognise you need help, but what sort of help you need is harder to define. Futureversity gave me access to the information and guidance I needed, without having to search it out.
Crucially, I learnt that there are an extraordinary amount of organisations out there who work solely with young people to improve their lives and give them opportunities that often feel unobtainable. But, like I said, how do we know they’re out there, if we don’t know what to look for?
The transition from childhood to adulthood should be easier, and I wish there had been a clear platform out there to guide my transition; something my younger sisters could use if they are ever struggling or in need of help.
There are thousands of organisations in the UK offering a variety of services free of charge to young people. However, an overwhelming number of young people remain unaware of the opportunities available to them, leaving them feeling neglected and many of these services underutilised.
BridgeMap is a free platform designed to change this. It is an online directory that young people (10-25) can use to find organisations that can support and advise them for free on any number of different challenges they may be facing. From career advice to homelessness support, BridgeMap links these organisations into one central platform for young people to easily navigate. It will explain what each organisation does, the benefits on offer and how they can be contacted. Think of it as a GoCompare website, but for life guidance support services rather than insurance.
How can you help?
The more organisations that BridgeMap connects with, the more effective the platform. If you are an organisation or know of a good organisation, and you or they provide a service for young people, please do let us know.
BridgeMap is volunteer-run, so if you’re a professional with expert advice you feel could help, whether it be mentoring and encouraging young people, facilitating workshops or providing other charitable services, please get in touch! Alternatively if you have a skill you think the BridgeMap could benefit from, also get in touch with us.
What else are we offering?
Through building BridgeMap site, we will be giving aspiring developers an opportunity to work on it. This will give them an insight into what a typical development process is like hence prepare them for their first job. They will also be provided with mentoring and guidance to help them secure their first job.
Additionally, our team is available to run practical and hands-on technical workshops for young people. We are open to do this for companies and organisations who list-no-decorationfocus on improving young people’s lives.