"YouthNet has brought together advice from the very best sources for the first time for young people. The pioneering project uses new technology to provide a one-stop-shop for free and confidential expert advice through its website www.TheSite.org."
Sir George Young MP joined YouthNet Chairman and Founder, Martyn Lewis CBE and TheSite.org user Sabrina Cardillo at the House of Commons to launch a new online advice service for young people called ‘askTheSite.’
‘askTheSite’ is TheSite.org’s direct response to the ever-increasing number of serious emails it receives. It is the first confidential online advice service for young adults aged 16-24 with questions answered by expert partner organisations UK wide. An archive of previously answered questions enables young people to learn from each other’s experiences and understand they are not alone in facing challenging issues.
Years of research, design and collaborative working has enabled askTheSite to be the THE destination for young people to source advice on issues including housing, sexual health, careers, emotional health, money and mental health. The new service reflects YouthNet UK’s research into young people’s lifestyles which shows they want to access confidential advice easily in a medium and format they chose.
Initial funding came from The Big Lottery Fund, who gave £850,000, which was matched by The Vodafone UK Foundation to enable YouthNet UK to pilot the askTheSite project. The Vodafone UK Foundation then provided £1.5 million over three years to help develop an SMS platform for askTheSite whilst The Camelot Foundation most recently added £110,000 to fund development of mental health functionality on the service.
Fiona Dawe, Chief Executive for YouthNet UK says: “Long-term plans are to expand the service’s reach. We are watching the mobile phone and digital television industries closely and awaiting developments in MMS. The first step is to create a service that is text activated to deliver fact sheets – with the long-term ideal to offer young people the same service on mobile phones and digital TV as they currently receive via the Internet.”