What is Needs Now?

Over the years, includem has sought the views of children, young people and families across a number of areas – including services, school experiences, mental health and wellbeing, youth justice, poverty and more. Building on this understanding and practice, we worked with those we support to develop the #NeedsNow Manifesto for the 2022 local elections – focused on what they believe is needed in communities.

This is intended to be the beginning of a larger conversation, bringing what matters to children, young people and families to the heart of our policy & research. We are on a journey to embed participation and co-production into everything we do to #KeepThePromise.

We will continue to build the Space, Voice, Audience, and Influence needed to ensure their expertise by experience is recognised and heard.

Key Needs Now publications:

includem Manifesto #NeedsNow (2022)


The includem vision: Children, young person and families can access help when and where they need it.
“I wasn’t able to get access to anything! I don’t qualify for anything. I feel like my back is against the wall.” Robin


ACCESS is about the right, opportunity, and/or ability to benefit from support you are entitled to.

Many people are unable to access support when facing challenges such as endemic low-income employment and bereavement. This is caused by a number of challenges – including gaps in safety nets, funding cuts, disconnected services and experiences of stigma.

Often, help is only available when families have passed a point of crisis.

Topics include:

  • Stigma and economic support
  • Mental health and wellbeing support
  • Practical advocacy
  • Children’s rights
  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Whole Family Support
  • Social work and care
  • Justice and restorative practice
  • Social security
  • Bereavement


Our recent research and submissions:

Our response to the Care and Justice Bill Consultation (2023/03)

Our response to the National Care Services Bill Consultation (2022/08)

Our response to the Improving Victims Experiences Consultation (2022/08)

Our response to the Scottish Mental Health Law Review Consultation (2022/06)

GIRFEC: Wellbeing Assessment Consultation (2022/02)

Poverty-related Stigma Research (2022/03)

Voices: Families Experiences of Poverty and Services (2021/11)

Voices: Families Experiences of Poverty and Services (ACADEMIC) (2021/11)

The Benefits of the Restorative Approach in the Charitable Sector (2021/08)

National Childhood Bereavement Interim Report (2021/08)


The includem vision: Children, young people and families are warm, safe and included – able to access all their rights, including to nutritious food.
“I sometimes struggle but I just get on with it…My kids would never go without, I would, but not them.” Riley


BASICS are about the essentials to a decent life and your rights to them.

Cost of living is rising, and wages and social security are reducing in real terms. This impacts people’s ability to provide basic resources for themselves and their families. Local areas must have access to safe housing, affordable supermarkets, health services, decent transportation, and nature. All children and young people should feel included and nurtured in education.

A growing number of families are being left without access to the basics – such as a Home, Food, Health, Education, Transport and Nature.

Topics include:

  • Poverty, destitution and cost of living
  • Housing and heating
  • Food insecurity and ending the need for food banks
  • Physical and mental health & wellbeing
  • Substance misuse
  • Harmful sexual behaviour
  • Education, exclusion, and employment
  • Neurodiversity
  • Digital access
  • Local neighbourhoods
  • Transport routes
  • Access to wild and green spaces

Our recent research and submissions:

Wellbeing & Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill Consultation (2023/04)

The National Discussion on Education: Submission (2022/11)

The School Experience of Young People: pre and during Covid-19 (2021/08)

Ending the need for foodbanks Consultation (2022/01)

The Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People Inquiry (2021/12)

Education Consultation Cover Letter (2021/11)

Living in Poverty: A Form of Permanent Lockdown (2021/10)

Ofcom Response (2021/09)


The includem vision: Children, young people and families are included in their communities, and can affect change that matters to them.
“ …People get involved in gangs because it is something to do. Mum said that when she was younger there used to be a youth club where people could go…” Parker


CONNECTIONS are about resources, opportunities and spaces that bring individuals and groups together.

Continuous cuts have weakened connections that are vital for health & wellbeing. Local areas and neighbourhoods, particularly in communities facing deprivation, no longer reflect the needs, strengths, and aspirations of the people in them. There is a real need to develop and invest in resources, spaces, and services for everyone to thrive.

People are often left to face hardship alone.

Topics include:

  • Wellbeing economy
  • Community hubs and youth groups
  • Neighbourhood planning
  • Peer support
  • Participation and co-production
  • Hobbies, recreation, and play
  • Community resources

Our recent research and submissions:

Physical Intervention in Schools Guidance: Consultation Response (2022/10)

National Planning Framework 4 Consultation (2022/04)

Parliamentary Briefings

If you would like to find out more about our Parliamentary work, please email publicaffairs@includem.co.uk

Child Poverty and Cost of Living Crisis (2023/04)

Previous releases

Research and evaluations

Impact of Poverty on Families in Fife

Impact of Poverty on Families in Glasgow

Poverty and the Impact of Coronavirus on Young People and Families

Staying Connected: Assessing Digital Inclusion

Revised National Guidance for Child Protection

Impact of the Transition Support Service on Young People’s Transitions Executive Summary

Substance Misuse and Young People in Scotland


Consultation Submissions

Digital Strategy Consultation

Social Renewal Advisory Board: Call for ideas – Oct 2020

Social Security Committee inquiry into COVID-19 – Oct 2020

Raising the age of referral to the Principal Reporter – Oct 2020

Sentencing Young People – includem submission to Scottish Sentencing Council consultation – Aug 2020

Equalities and Human Rights Committee inquiry into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on equalities and human rights

Education and Skills Committee inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable children and young people – May 2020

Scottish Government consultation on Youth Justice Standards – Jan 2020


Other Documents

includem Annual Accounts 2020/21

UNCRC Training Tool

An Introduction to Children’s Rights in Scotland



Poverty Alliance Webinar 27th August 2021

Mackay Hannah: Children’s Rights Presentation

Making Rights Real – Participation Presentation


Change a life today.
Our young people and families need your help today, more than ever.