Our Youth Services Team are amazing.
Year-round, they work to support young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, providing practical assistance with housing, employment, and money, as well as offering vital mental health support and compassion for people who are sometimes facing very difficult circumstances.
As we approach the third week of the third national lockdown, we checked in with Shanta, a Youth Practitioner from the Youth Team, about how the lockdown has affected the people who they work with, and how they are adapting to ensure that they overcome these challenges.
One of the most significant impacts of the latest lockdown has been the difficulty in simple in-person communication, Shanta says:
“It has been incredibly difficult for some of the young people I work with – they have really missed face-to-face contact and they have struggled without that. Some clients really look forward to catching up once a week to talk about how things are going, sometimes you are the only person they have to talk to.
Having time to ruminate about their problems causes massive anxiety for some of them. We created a wellbeing tool to help them with grounding and mindfulness techniques amongst other things.
The clients we are unable to see face-to-face we continue to support them in any way we can, FaceTime, texts, phone calls, emails. It’s not ideal but it’s important to keep the momentum going. We haven’t stopped working during the pandemic, we continue to deliver a service to our client group and support them the best we can.”
“Despite the pandemic six of my ten clients have moved into new accommodation and our amazing supporters have helped them furnish their new homes”
A lack of equipment that many of us take for granted can create further barriers to accessing essential resources, she continues:
“It’s been difficult for young people to access EET (education, employment and training). I have young people who want to learn new skills.
Colleges and training venues are closed and most training courses are online, and not all young people have the luxury of owning a laptop or having access to Wi-Fi. Before lockdown they could access Wi-Fi in libraries and other public spaces. Not being able to distract themselves with meaningful activities has been really difficult and they now have lots of time on their hands so are really keen to explore new skills.”
“I am so proud of the young people I work with. They show such strength in the face of adversity”
Despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, Shanta say she feels hopeful for the future and encouraged by the resilience of the young people she works with:
“Six of my ten clients have moved into new accommodation and our amazing supporters have helped them furnish their new homes by providing items such as TVs, hobs and microwaves. This has had a real impact on our young people and they are really grateful to our supporters for wanting to help them in this way, it makes such a difference to their lives.
They have all settled in well and continue to build a safe and secure space they can call home.
I am so proud of the young people I work with. They show such strength in the face of adversity and by just having some support and guidance along the way they can really turn things around and build a more positive future for themselves. ”
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