Over lock down our teams have been adapting sessions to be able to work remotely with online content. We have had a number of different projects running, including positive masculinity work, Tell Me, Healthy Holidays, Kendray Street Dance Crew and Leeds Pears.
Our Youth Workers support young people to be Community Ambassadors where they live. In Barnsley, community ambassadors wrote letters to elderly people in care homes to reduce isolation and loneliness during lock down. The young people were also interviewed for BBC Radio Sheffield, where they spoke about their online street dance club and the letters they wrote.
Other social action projects in Leeds and Barnsley included organising a ‘pop and crisp nights’ where they held a Disney quiz, played games and handed out prizes. They also made a mental health awareness video which shed light on how words can hurt people.
Our positive masculinity work has engaged 10 male students with twice-weekly group work sessions via video chat, along with 1-to-1 engagements for extra support. Sessions have covered healthy eating, coping with stress, CPR training, self-awareness and ‘The 2020 man’.
Our ‘Tell Me’ project has been engaging 24 students in group work via video chat. This has included 1-to-1 engagements for extra support and some single-gender work. Sessions have included cooking, body image, coping with stress and online safety.
We have released two issues of our Healthy Activities packs, which contain activities and ideas for young people to do over lock down. These have been distributed across charities, schools and councils in Leeds and Bradford, supported by Leeds Community Foundation. We are currently working on our third issue, which will also include Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley, where we’re supported by South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Covid-19 response scheme.
Work continued with the Kendray Street Dance Crew “full circle”, using Instagram, as this was the young people’s preferred platform. The online sessions included discussions about lock down, sharing anxieties and myth busting. One to one support was also given, providing support with access to school work. Two group members took a leadership role, planning what to do, doing workouts and creating dance routines. Every week a guest was invited to talk to the group about their experiences and answer questions. This included a dancer, a choreographer and a west end performer.
Some of the funding we have in Leeds and Bradford comes from Pears Foundation. Pears asked The Youth Association to set up a youth panel to consult young people and gain feedback on the projects they took part in. This included questions about their understanding of the funding process and how projects moving forward should include young people in this process. The hope is that Pears will take on their recommendations on how they award grants and how they ensure that young people are included in the process.
Since the end of June, the teams have been getting back onto the streets to rekindle relationships with communities and young people.