I recently caught up with Tim Waudby, who heads up York’s Youth Network, and Charlee Bewsher from the Regional Youth Unit, for a round up of what’s been happening in the youth sector across Yorkshire and Humber. Here’s a summary:
- In Bradford and Leeds all youth work provision is now detached. Many workers are supporting Police Community Support Officer’s in addressing anti-social behaviour but predominantly engaging with young people to reduce large groups meeting and educating them about social distancing etc.
- Around 50% of summer provision seems to have gone ahead across the region with changes to delivery. Microphone led sports and activity sessions in parks have enabled social distancing. Short sessions and very localised provision (so young people don’t need toilets etc) have allowed provision to continue.
- Many providers who mostly offer provision up to age 12 have switched to engaging with 12-16 years olds in order to address emerging issues in local areas.
- Humberside Council have given out over 18,000 meals throughout the lockdown period to combat ‘holiday hunger’, which has been a much bigger issue with schools being closed for so long.
- Some indoor provision is returning with staff engaging with bubbles of no more than 6 young people at a time. Outdoor engagement is still being prioritised with small outdoor cinemas and other activities.
- Many youth events have been online, LGBTQ Youth have had a very successful online Pride Festival.
- There’s an emerging issue of a high proportion of young people saying they will not return to school in September, mostly ages 14+. Young people who had previously found school challenging have in some cases “blossomed” at home being taught remotely. Many now saying they won’t go back, especially with the added stress of trying to keep covid secure within school.
- Many apprenticeships have now been cancelled. Increasing numbers of 16-18 expected to not be in education, employment or training (NEET). Colleges are offering extra places but how likely this will be in practice is yet to be seen and many young people are not willing to attend.
York’s Youth Network is free and informal, and a great source of information, support and networking if you work with young people in York. The next meeting (virtual) is on 30th September (time, tbc). Contact Tim Waudby for details: email@example.com