Developing Health & Independence (DHI), one of the region’s largest charities, is holding a charity event allowing local young people to discuss the biggest concerns facing their generation.

The Just Say It! event – which is part of the charity’s Vision Project initiative exploring how we can achieve our vision to end social exclusion – will take place at the egg theatre on 26 March, 5–6.30pm.

Open to ages 14–21, the event will offer young people an opportunity to share their views on the big questions facing their generation such as the impact of social media on mental health, the housing crisis, drug legalisation, and knife crime.

“Our young people’s services Motiv8 and Project28 are seeing an ever-increasing need for help and advice about knife crime, county lines and the increase in young people being coerced into dealing drugs and being sexually exploited, as well as emotional and social isolation,” says Mike Grizzell, manager of DHI’s Young People’s service in Wiltshire.

“Just Say It! will help develop our services, fit for the future. We’re expecting a cross section of students with a strong interest from schools and colleges alike to make their voices heard; we need to listen and not make assumptions about what young people need.”

“We want to prevent today’s young people from becoming tomorrow’s socially excluded adults, so it’s vital that we hear their views,” says DHI Chief Executive Rosie Phillips. “At a time when homelessness is on the rise and drug-related deaths are higher than ever, it’s vital that we all engage in tackling the issues that continue to perpetuate the crisis.”

A panel of experts in related fields including Victor da Cunha (Curo Housing Association), Inspector Sarah Dinnis (Avon & Somerset Police), Sandy Hore-Ruthven (Creative Youth Network), Richard King (Children in Need), the BANES Member of the Youth Parliament and DHI staff will all attend the event.

Space is still available for anybody who wishes to participate; visit dhi-online.org.uk/just-say-it for further information.

Developing Health & Independence (formerly known as the Drugs and Homeless Initiative) was founded by DHI Chief Executive Rosie Phillips in 1999 with the aim to help people out of the cycle of poverty, homelessness, social isolation and drug or alcohol abuse, responding to clients’ needs by offering a tailored programme of support from a wide range of practical and emotional support services.

For more, visit dhi-online.org.uk