Overcoming the challenges of Covid-19

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, we have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that we can continue to support the young people on our programme. We have been busy looking at the role we can play and putting the necessary support systems in place.

We are really pleased that the 13 existing mentoring partnerships between a young person and volunteer mentor have been able to move to online remote sessions. Video calls which incorporate interactive challenges, games and one to one discussion have proven to be a successful alternative to face to face meetings, and are providing these vulnerable young people with some much needed support and continuity during these difficult times.

We have used our existing Mentoring Scheme as the basis for the bespoke, virtual, one to one mentoring support we intend to offer to other young people on the programme instead of the usual camps and activity days, which have been postponed until next year. This will allow our dedicated team to continue to give the young people the tools to make positive decisions, develop confidence and build resilience to face not only the Coronavirus crisis, but also the other challenges that they still have to overcome in their daily lives.

Over the course of the next few weeks, our staff team and volunteer mentors will begin to invite the first group of 40 young people to take part in regular online mentoring sessions. Sessions will be held fortnightly for an hour and will be structured to help each young person get the maximum benefit from the time. 

As resources allow, we will offer this support out to more young people, with the help of our specially trained volunteers. In addition, we will facilitate some small group discussions. These will provide a safe online environment for positive social interaction and allow the young people to nurture the friendships they have made during their time on the programme. Until then, everybody can access our Isolation Motivation webpage which is packed with suggestions, ideas and advice to help during this extremely challenging time.

Later on in the year, once government restrictions have been lifted and our financial situation allows, we will move some online mentoring sessions to face to face meetings. If we can secure the necessary funding, we also hope to be able to offer a number of group activity day sessions. These will be a much needed opportunity for the young people to reconnect, experience positive activities outside the home again and resume their YAT adventures.

All things being well, we will resume our normal programme of camps and activity days next year, when we will be very much looking forward to some outdoor adventures.