Friendships and relationships

This page gives you useful information about building relationships and having a safe social life.

Young people often tell us that the most important thing to them is keeping in touch and having places to go to with their friends.

There are lots of ways you can keep in touch with your friends, including swapping phone numbers, using social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc. If you want to see your friends, you may want to go to each other’s houses, or go out to places like the cinema, a restaurant, clubs, bars or a local pub.

If it is difficult to organise getting together, ask your family or college tutor if they can help you to arrange to meet up.

It can be easier for you to remember if you arrange to meet up the same time and same day each week or month or you could put it in your diary or calendar.
As you get older you may wish to start a relationship with someone else.

This can be exciting but you may be worried about whether the person likes you or how to go about asking the person out. Talk to someone you trust, who can help you and advise.

If you are thinking about having sex with your partner the Sexual Health Service can provide free and confidential sexual health advice if you are aged 13 and over. To learn more about the sexual health service click here.

If you think you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you might want to speak with someone from LGBT groups. Local information for young people can be found by clicking here
Help with feelings of missing someone.

Sometimes people you love may leave you. This could be because you have fallen out of love with each other, moved home or they may have died. It’s normal to feel anger, guilt, fear and sadness.

This is called grief, it is important to talk to someone you trust. If you want to speak with someone confidentially about how you feel, call the Samaritans on Freephone 116 123.
The internet offers you access to information, communication with your friends and opportunities for exploring the wider world.

You get a lot of benefit from being online. However, you should have good advice to make sure your experiences are happy and safe. If you see something that makes you feel unhappy or unsafe you should tell someone you trust who will be able to help you. For more information on internet safety click here.
Bullying can happen anywhere including at school, college, on social media sites or at work, and it can make you feel sad and scared.

Bullying can be things like namecalling, hitting, stealing or making you feel bad about yourself.

There are lots of reasons why people get bullied including because of their clothes, the music they like or because of their disability. It is not your fault but it is really important that you tell someone you trust such as a family member, college tutor or carer. You can find more information about bullying by clicking here.
Sometimes you may feel under pressure to do things because your friends and the people you know are doing them.

This is called peer pressure and it can be difficult to say no. Some people may pretend to be your friend and then make you do things you do not want to do, such as spend your money, smoke, drink or even have sex. You may get into trouble because of these friends.

It is normal to want to fit in but it’s important that you learn to make your own choices and become friends with people who like you for who you are. 
Bullying and being picked on can also happen in your home. If your partner/parents/family/carers hurt you this is domestic abuse.

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  This may be someone that:
  • hurts you - such as hitting, kicking or biting.
  • is sexually abusive - someone touches your body in ways you do not like or want. This can include kissing you, making you touch them when you do not want to or having sex when you do not want to.
  • is financially abusive - when people take or control your money or things which belong to you.
  • emotionally abusive - when people talk to you in unkind ways. For example teasing, threatening, swearing, ignoring you, shouting or putting you down.
  • neglects you - this is when people who are often supposed to help you don’t look after you properly. For example not giving enough food, not keeping you warm and safe.
None of this is ok and you must tell someone you trust who will help you to get the support you need.

You can call Childline 0800 1111 if you are under 18 or contact Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service number on 01434 608030.

If you have a concern about any safeguarding issue (whether that be adult or children) then please contact 01670 536400 to discuss this.

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It is important that every young person gets to have their opinion heard about the things that matter most to them.

In Northumberland there are lots of different ways you can have your say and make changes in your local area, such as through youth groups and other services. To learn more about youth groups click here. To learn about the Respect Equals Change (REC) group click here

These groups can also be a good place to make new friends and have fun. Speak to a family member or carer to find a group in your local area. The Families Information Service (FIS) is a free service providing information on a wide range of services for children and young people in Northumberland and their families, just call 0800 023 4440

Another way you can make a difference in your area is by volunteering. Volunteering can help you make friends and build up skills, as well as have fun. You can find volunteering opportunities by clicking here.
There are different ways to travel to places including, getting a lift, walking, cycling or using taxis, buses and trains.

Your family, school and college can help you learn the skills you need to travel on your own or with friends. This is called travel training.

Tips for travelling to somewhere new:
  • Plan the easiest route
  • Only learn one new route at a time-start with walking to the local shop
  • Do the route with someone else a few times first
  • Plan with someone you trust what to do if something goes wrong
  • Ensure your mobile phone has credit or enough data, calls and texts, and is fully charged so you can phone someone if you get stuck
Northumberland County Council’s Go Smarter team promotes and supports all types of sustainable travel in the county, whether that’s by working with local employers and bus companies to run a bus service to key employment areas, or by encouraging school pupils to get active by walking or cycling to school.

The team also works one to one with job seekers to help plan routes to their new job, offers free public transport tickets to those starting new employment and a scooter loan scheme for people who can’t get to their new job on public transport.

For information about local bus services operating across Northumberland, including services that cross the border into the Tyne & Wear, we have a list of the three main bus operators:
 Help with journey planning can also be found at Traveline North East. You may be entitled to a free bus pass, find the information can be found in the Transport section of the SEND Local Offer website.

Community transport operator NEED might be able to help. Their contact details are: NEED Ltd - South Road, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 2PA Tel: 01665 605780 Email: administration@needltd.co.uk. To visit the website for NEED, click here.

On the Go Smarter website there is a journey planner and bus stop finder, find out more here.
 
Some local cycling companies provide adult cycle training and supported cycle rides; look for Bike for Health, Watbike, and Cycle Experience. We also have a cycle loan scheme through Active Northumberland, to learn more click here.