Youthwork is often about flexibility and ingenuity, thinking on the spot, and responding to change. This year grew our team in all these areas of youth work and challenged us to create new ways to do what is most important: build relationships.
Having just trained a new set of Peer Mentors, and spoken at Swale Youth Forum we were raring to go! Then change gave us a chance to try something new!
Suddenly we were online, all the time!! Clubs, Bake Offs, Craft – we even started our own Youtube Channel.
and we celebrated our team!
As summer rolled around, we were able to meet up with groups of 15 young people – socially distant and with lots of handwashing. We were out again!
We’ve managed to start four new projects over all this time: 812 Squad, Detached work (Faversham, Sittingbourne) & Sibling Club (for children & young people with siblings who have disabilities).
We have guidance from the NYA that the youth sector can go into AMBER across all tiers meaning clubs could open again to up to 15 young people, indoors or outdoors, open access.
However, as Kent (and particularly with us in Swale) is in tier 3, we feel it is not really sensible to go back to AMBER until the situation in Swale has got better. Some schools are closing, year groups are off, lots of young people are having to self isolate. It would not be safe for us to pretend this is not happening.
Clubs will continue on zoom. We are looking forward to virtual Christmas parties and making music videos! We will also continue checking in with families and parents where we can. Do let us know if there is anything further we can do to support you.
We can still run invite-only small group support sessions, and provide mentoring. We also have a well-being text service where we send out a positive text once a week to young people that have signed up. You can sign up for that here
Our detached work across Swale will carry on with our team able to engage with young people in groups of 6 under the tier 3 rules. We understand The Mill Skatepark in Sittingbourne should also be able to reopen (TBC)
What a year! Here’s to more learning and growing (with hopefully less of a curve in the curveball ) and being able to do what we love the best – Support Young People!