What young people need in order to thrive is a question that we are setting out to discover in Worthing. In the past, our focus has often been on what doesn’t work, the problems that young people face and what needs to be done in order to fix them. Now we want to turn our gaze towards young people’s own perspectives to ask what might help them gain strength, power and happiness in their lives.

Using design methods described within our stories booklet we explored this question using an ethnographic approach (best understood as walking in the shoes of the people you want to understand), and spent time with and heard the stories of 12 young people aged between 16 and 19. These young people had diverse experiences: mental health issues, offending and not being in employment, education or training (NEET). Some were living in care or had left care, others were living in unstable accommodation (e.g. homeless), and some were not.  

We are grateful for the time these young people gave to us, along with their candidness.

The stories booklet tells these individual accounts and synthesises key themes from the data.  Together it paints a picture of what matters to these young people and what helps them to thrive. The synthesis is our interpretation of the themes, which have been shaped by the young people themselves, ensuring that the words used make sense to them (and not us).  

This formed part of a systems leadership programme, which brought together leaders from across the statutory and voluntary sectors, along with the young people themselves. It was sponsored and supported by the National Leadership Centre, a service designer and a number of local organisations (mentioned below). It is being used to inform the work we are doing in Worthing and Adur on young people and our approach to communities and our Thrive Agenda.

This forms one part of our total work programme and if you are interested there is more that we are doing around loneliness and work and skills, and more that we are starting around our thrive Agenda and housing, food, finance and debt, anti-social behaviour and neighbourhoods.  

Tina Favier
Head of Wellbeing, Adur and Worthing Councils

What do young people need to thrive?
Emerging Themes
Young people's stories from Worthing
Find it Out Plus One Pager
Find it Out Plus 2019
Find it Out Research

Adur and Worthing Councils (AWCs), Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), West Sussex County Council (WSCC), all part-funded this work. AWCs also provided a Designer to work with the team throughout this work.


  • Adur and Worthing Councils - Head of Wellbeing, Communities and Wellbeing Manager
  • Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group - GP Clinical Lead for Prevention
  • Mental Health, Public Health, Head of Communities and Partnerships, Head of Social Care
  • MIND - Chief Executive
  • Northbrook College - Principal
  • Sussex Police - District Commander
  • West Sussex County Council - Head of Social Care, Commissioning Lead for Young People