The majority of young people the Targeted Youth and Family Engagement Project Team work with are considered to be vulnerable, with some living in circumstances where they do not have either the space or peace to thrive. As lockdown began the team ensured that contact was maintained – working with around 140 young people each week and an additional 120 families. Their immediate focus was on reassurance and safety and to continue to deliver a service the team needed to completely change its approach.
With face-to-face working increasingly difficult, a Facebook page, Twitter account and Zoom sessions were set up. The team made cooking videos, topical Kahoot quizzes and set up competitions in order to keep young people motivated. Resource ‘drop offs’ were also important as it reassured the young people that there was someone there for them, as well as providing them with what they needed to participate and engage in activities.
The team was also first to volunteer to deliver free school meals and to help make sandwiches for free school meals when schools closed. They organised food parcels, mental health support, housing support, liaised with schools, undertaking many duties that are not normally part of their role.
The judging panel highlighted the broad range of activities and services provided to the benefit of young people and commended the team’s ability to continually adapt and evolve – learning from a challenging situation.