Back on Track North Tyneside
19 Oct, 2020
Back in August, YMCA England and Wales released Back on Track… a report outlining the effects of lockdown on young people across the nation and how YMCA’s have adapted their services to continue helping young people during the pandemic.

The key findings from this report showed that: 

  • Young people were feeling more isolated than ever before 
  • Relying on virtual communication was becoming tiring and simply wasn’t the same as having face to face interactions with others.
  • Young people are having doubts about their aspirations for the future with school closures causing them to fall behind on their education.

* You can read the full report published by YMCA England and Wales here.

YMCA North Tyneside’s Youth and Play Team provide informal opportunities to support young peoples learning and development in the North East. Post-Covid, this was done through weekly group activities, trips to culturally stimulating and educational destinations, and a number of projects put in place to help develop young peoples understanding of community.

With many of these activities being unsafe to do during the pandemic, the Youth and Play team had to quickly re-think how they could have a positive impact on the young people who relied on them, whilst keeping everyone safe in the process.

Street Work Project 

This project involved the additional deployment of street workers into the community with the aim of having a positive impact on young people and parents who may be feeling isolated or anxious during lockdown. While adhering to social distancing rules, youth workers engaged with many people providing a listening ear, support and encouragement. They delivered activity packs, sanitary products and other such items to families most in need.

Lamp Post Project 

Youth workers visited over fifty houses of children in one of the most deprived areas in the North East. With their table, chairs and box of tricks, the workers provided a range of fun and engaging activities at the bottom of the children’s gardens or doorsteps. Up to 45 minutes was spent at each house before moving to the next family. Information about this new approach was displayed on lamp posts in the designated areas and the response from children and their parents was overwhelmingly positive with comments such as, ‘thank you so much, my son has been bouncing off the walls and has not seen anybody for weeks’.  Some of the children told heartfelt stories of their experiences of lockdown, both verbally and through their drawings.

Don Irving – Youth and play Manager said:

We need to reassure young people and their families that the work we undertake in centres is Covid secure and welcoming.  Furthermore, our youth and workers presence on the streets will continue to be instrumental in gaining the trust of young people and encouraging them to feel safe in participating in the activities that we are able to offer them.”

With local restrictions being unpredictable and ever-changing, the Youth and Play team will endeavour to continue their street work whilst seeking more opportunities for young people to try out new things such as socially distant walks in the countryside.

If you would like more information about the activities YMCA North Tyneside provides to young people and families in the local community, click here.

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