Our Youth Development Worker, Shelby Johnston looks at how Epilepsy Scotland’s Youth Groups continue to support young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Our young people have been giving us such hope during these challenging times! With dramatic changes to their routines and a whole new world of social barriers being put in place, they have been so open to new ways of connecting.
Our youth work programmes have needed to adapt from physical group sessions and face-to-face support to online engagement.
Virtually, we continue to work on skills development, confidence building and providing a space for young people’s relationships with peers to grow.
We have moved some of our weekly meeting groups onto Zoom. This is where young people still have the opportunity to catch up in a group setting and check in with each other.
This also gives us the chance to run activities similar to what we would run in a physical meeting.
For example, quizzes, building from our recycling, charades and have even adapted the old reliable game, Dobble, to keep spirits up!
We have been keeping our activities as accessible as possible. It has been a huge test on creativity for our young people exploring new ways to keep active whilst not needing any new resources.
Staying safe whilst being connected
Online Zoom or Skype calls don’t work for everyone! Whilst using texts, phone calls and new social media platforms to engage with our young people, we have been highlighting the importance of staying safe online.
It has been a chance for us to explore these spaces with our youth groups. Also, identifying with them how to protect themselves online as well as debunking the illusion that to be connected, you need to be online.
For information on how to keep safe online, you can check out these useful tips from Young Scot.
Tackling boredom for our young people has been massive. With so much free time on their hands, we have been looking at interesting things that we can encourage our young people to get up to out with group sessions.
We’ve been encouraging them to do this throughout the week then share their progress as the weeks go on!
We’ve also been incorporating things like cooking into our weekly group meetings, making some soups and shortbread. Developing their cooking skills as well as encouraging a routine for our young people.
New ways of communicating
The young people we work with have adapted so well to the new ways of communicating.
However, the current developments of COVID19 has caused massive amounts of anxieties. Also, it has only fuelled the feeling of loneliness for some of the young people we work with.
Our youth service is vital in working against that! Keeping a space open for our young people to communicate, get reliable information and share any worries that we can work towards solving. This has been massively important. Also it has giving peace of minds to parents knowing their child isn’t feeling alone in this.
For the parents of these young people who are key workers, knowing their child has Epilepsy Scotland’s youth group and one to one support means they have one less thing to worry about.
Seeing the young people’s creativity, smiles and resilience in this time has also helped to lift the spirits of everyone at Epilepsy Scotland too.
For more information and to join our Youth Groups, please email Kirstyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for our Edinburgh Youth Group. Or email Shelby at email@example.com for our Glasgow Youth Group.