During #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek we are looking at how those in our communities are showing that #KindnessMatters and how they have adapted or developed to support others during COVID- 19. We are starting the week off with 3G’s Youth Project.
On April 1st we welcomed 3G’s youth Project into Merthyr Valleys Homes. Over the last two months they have had to adapt the way they work drastically. Sarah Williams – Senior Youth Worker (Right) and Sacha Thomas(Left) – Youth Engagement Worker tell us what changes they have had to make and we also see how one of the service users is adjusting to the changes.
“How we as a provision have had to change and adapt as a result of COVID 19 has been led by the young people. They have chosen how we communicate with them and what methods work best. To keep in touch we use Whatsapp, Facebook and twitter.
To consult with the young people and ensure we are still meeting their needs we use Survey Monkey, Kahoot and Zoom. We use these platforms for workshops, quiz and feedback sessions.
As a team it was a very strange transition, from spending 5 evenings a week with the young people to not seeing them at all, but we knew that we needed to adapt our support.
With funding from VAMT early into lockdown we were able to provide over 50 young people and families with snack packs. These packs included items we knew the young people would like and eat. We were also fortunate for donation of toiletries from residents and elected members so were able to provide the young people with hygiene packs
Using social distancing and Government guidelines we were able to deliver these packs. It also provided us with opportunity to see the young people and check in. It also provided us with opportunity to find out what other support the young people may need.
It was evident quite early on that the young people needed support in other ways, so as a team we developed several activity packs based around health and wellbeing, VE day activities, fact sheets and useful numbers. These packs were delivered over 4 weeks.
We used other platforms to deliver educational workshops around smoking, health and wellbeing and also a competition to decide our new name and logo, with a local artist working on the design.
We miss all the young people but we have been able to adapt our support in this time of crisis.
There’ll be BIG parties at Calon Las when we can open our doors again for the young people again!!”
At the beginning of March this year along with COVID-19 my role as a youth engagement worker became extremely challenging. I love my job and enjoy spending the majority of my time working face to face with children and young people but with social distancing measures in place my role in supporting, empowering and listening to young people has changed.
Fortunately, I’ve been healthy enough to stay in work and along with my team have adapted to the current circumstances and have still been able to offer support to the children and young people we work with by putting together and delivering food, hygiene, activity and well-being packs, keeping in contacts with children, young people and family’s via different social media platforms and doing Zoom calls to check in and keep updated with all young people. The positives of our work has been the ability to use social media in positive ways and keep everyone in contact, to work as a team with staff and young people to overcome barriers and adapt to different roles, this also still gives us an opportunity to monitor some safeguarding. One of the main positive’s for me is having the opportunity to get to know the young people and their family’s more.
Payton who is 12 has kindly provided us with some feedback from a service users point of view.
Every few weeks the youth help us all with packs and other stuff. They bring snack packs around to everyone, when it was Easter they brought Easter packs around with paints and word searches in there. They also bring toiletries packs with soap, sanitary pads, shampoo and conditioner.
They really do help us with all this, it keeps me occupied instead of being bored and on the internet all the time. We are doing a Zoom quiz today and make sure everyone is ok etc.
I really miss youth and being with all my friends and family. Youth was like my second home, we all had good times together. If I don’t hear that the youth workers are ok or anything it makes me upset
Being kind can also have a great impact on your personal well-being. Mental Health Foundation have lots of information and ideas for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek on their website here https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/kindness-matters-guide