Coronavirus is having a huge impact on how we work and live but more importantly it is impacting significantly on young people who often find themselves living alone from aged 17 years onwards without family support. The House Project approach is very much based on building and maintaining relationships and the requirements of social distancing means that we need to look at different ways for young people to engage and stay connected with each other, their projects and their communities.
As a Charity we are very much still working and whilst being based at home we are meeting virtually as a team on a regular basis and are have ongoing contact with colleagues and stakeholders. NHP staff can be accessed via email and telephone and we continue to engage through online platforms and through the sharing of information on our website and social media channels. We are keen to hear from members as to how we can best support you at this time.
Many of our young people do not have access to the internet and at the last Care Leavers National Movement (CLNM) before ‘lock down’ young people talked about ‘internet poverty’ and the challenges of being able to afford the luxuries of devices and data packages. Some reported being able to get around this by accessing free WiFi when out in the community but even this option has now been closed to them. Rosie, our Young Person’s Development and Participation worker is supporting the CLNM to raise monies so that young people on the movement can support peers in our House Project community by resourcing both devices and data packages in order to stay connected. In addition to creating a JustGiving Page and setting ourselves up on Amazon Smile to benefit from a payback function for charities we are also making grant applications on behalf of the young people in the projects. Here is a link to our latest article if you want to get involved.
With restrictions on mobility, we are focusing our efforts on developing and improving ‘how’ and ‘what’ we are able to offer to Local Authorities and their young people. We have provided guidance to our projects about how best to support young people. The NHP, CLNM and LA microsites are all being redeveloped, our House Project Programme is being further developed and we are revisiting our policies and paperwork.
Whilst these are challenging and uncertain times we will come through this together, having developed new ways of working and with a renewed focus on the strength and value of relationships. We look forward to meeting with you all soon.
Stay well and healthy.