Lee Crofts, Youth Team Leader at Compass Support, shares how young people within the communities have been affected during the lockdown and the initiatives the team have been working on to keep everyone happy, healthy and connected.
The COVID-19 lockdown has seen massive changes to the way that Compass Support has supported young people. For hundreds of young people their youth clubs, one to one support and school support was stopped overnight and it has had a big impact on their lives.
With this in mind, our team set up a virtual youth programme that has seen mentoring moved to video or telephone; youth clubs delivered in zoom rooms; and online activities have become a daily routine with local young people. One of the most popular sessions has been our online quizzes where we bring education and hobbies together. With music rounds, themed rounds and the now famous Ash’s ‘Possibly Possible Impossible’ round – the game has become popular for both young people and local families that take part!
Mental Health, isolation and hardship have been major factors for many of our young people, particularly during lockdown, and as a result the team have been busy securing funding to help address these needs. With the new funds in place, we are able to offer additional mentoring support to young people and to continue offering interactive activities, including making over 300 home activity packs that have been very popular.
Although we had to respond quickly and find new ways of working, some of these changes have been very popular and we will continue our online detached sessions and some of our online games beyond COVID-19 as we have reached lots of new young people that we may not have done before lockdown.
The community has really been at the heart of The Pioneer Group throughout COVID-19 especially supporting referrals to the foodbank and delivering hampers every week. On that note, we adopted a new member to the team – Betty the Bike! Over the past few weeks she has clocked up over 700 miles collecting donations and delivering to local families, often playing music to bring a smile to faces as she goes around the estate.
We’ve tried to not lose all sense of normality during these difficult times, and have helped the community celebrate the holidays by delivering Easter eggs, VE day packs, ice creams when it was hot – and we even brought a touch of gardening to local people!
As we move into the ease of some distancing measures the team are planning their summer programme with the funding secured to deliver a street-based service and some park activities (all in line with distancing guidelines) as well as bringing back some face to face mentoring. We are aware for lots of year 6 leavers the transition support into starting senior school has been lost so we look forwards to doing some exciting work around this too.