Many young people are finding the coronavirus lockdown particularly tough – and an Eastleigh Borough Council-supported service is working hard to make this difficult period more bearable.
The Y-Zone youth work team have adapted their service to ensure that young people across the Borough – particularly those who are vulnerable – receive the essential support they need.
For many young Borough residents, being unable to mix with their peers is particularly difficult as they are in a stage of life when friends and the outside world become more important. With youth centres closed to ensure social distancing, the Y Zone team are working from home to provide a service that includes one-to-one contact through regular phone chats for young people who are in particular need of support.
For wider groups of young people, who would normally use the Y-Zone centre (serving Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Horton Heath) and Fryern and The Loft (Chandler’s Ford and Hiltingbury), the Y-Zone team are using social media to stay in contact, maintain a presence in the lives of young people and let them know there is a listening ear and a source of advice when they need it.
Among a range of activities, each centre holds live Instagram sessions. As well as providing a chance to chat, the team have introduced quizzes, competitions, games and other activities which are fun and good ‘brain exercise’.
Many parents have expressed their gratitude and relief that Y-Zone have been able to continue their service – albeit remotely - particularly as alternative support was withdrawn or reduced due to coronavirus. A number of organisations (including national groups) have been impressed by the work of the Y-Zone team and have proactively sought to partner with them. Joint activities are planned with the NSPCC, UKYouth, Samaritans, Street Reach, No Limits and Inclusion Hampshire.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Policy, Councillor Tina Campbell, said: “The fact that the Y-Zone team have been able to continue supporting young people at this difficult time is a tribute to their dedication and a great example of a service adapting to the problems thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic. The support offered by Y-Zone is hugely important and they offer a real lifeline – especially for vulnerable young people who may be finding it difficult to cope with the lockdown.”
Find out more at facebook/yzoneyouthcentre