Coronavirus Appeal Stories: Young Somerset

Young Somerset works with young people to develop a youth work relationship that is open, honest, respectful, trusting and led by the young person. We provided an urgent grant to help them quickly adapt to providing online support for young people as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Nik Harwood, CEO at Young Somerset, told us more about how your donations are helping his team support some of Somerset’s most vulnerable young people.

“The largest challenge has been going from 100% face-to-face youth work and support for young people to no outreach activity at all, across the county. 

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two weeks putting together online provision so we can continue to deliver our youth work and mental health services. The new specialist video software we’ve been able to purchase, thanks to the emergency grant from SCF, is encrypted. This means that our staff are able to support our young people remotely and confidentially. Our number one priority now is to make sure all our staff and volunteers have access to this new software so that we can continue open access youth work activity and support as well as cognitive behaviour therapy sessions with our young people.

This continued support represents some sort of stability and routine for vulnerable young people who have seen most of their social outlets disappear due to social distancing restrictions. Across the county, this amounts to support for 500 young people, with capacity for up to 1,000.

If it wasn’t for the dedicated 1:1 work we do, these young people would struggle with deteriorating mental health and wellbeing, particularly since the schools have closed, as this has meant they now have very little in the way of social interaction. A lot of our young people rely on our work for stability and guidance, and for many it is an essential lifeline which counters isolation and offers support – especially where their home life may not represent a safe haven.

The grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has allowed us to continue this essential work by equipping our staff with the tools they need to keep working remotely and supporting the young people across Somerset who are in most need.” 


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