NLYC RainbowAt New Lodge Youth Centre we are continuing to work with and support those young people in need within our communities. With the Covid-19 pandemic and government guidelines forcing the closure of the Youth Centre we have had to find new innovative ways to work with and support the needs of young people within the community. We have moved to an online platform of delivery, which has taken some adjusting to our usual daily drop-in and the range of group and mentoring opportunities we offer. Throughout the lockdown period we have continued to provide young people with activities and workshops online and continual opportunities to engage in educational, reflective and creative activities.

Throughout this period we have also continued to work with our groups in an online format. Our Romania group, who were due to have been on their volunteering visit, have preserved and are determined to make the volunteering visit happen when it is safe to do so. In the meantime they have continued to engage in weekly group work sessions to build their knowledge and skills as young leaders to aid in their development. The Romania group have also engaged in social action activities, most creating hampers to provide to those in need in the community and also those who have provided support to others as a way to say thanks and show gratitude.

Our Herspective group have continued to engage online and have been involved in initiatives during Mental Health Awareness Week such as creating positivity boards and uploading positive quotes to provide motivation to others. Our START work has also continued to provide a vital service to the young people and families within the community through continued online one-to-one mentoring, group work and delivery of care packages.

Over the course of the lockdown period we have also facilitated a range of challenges online, most notably was the ‘Pay It Forward’ challenge which occurred during Mental Health Awareness week in which we encouraged people to undertake random acts of kindness and ask those in receipt of the kind act to pay it forward to create a ripple effect throughout our communities and beyond in a challenging and difficult time. Currently we are facilitating our ‘New Lodge To New Zealand’ challenge in which our aim is to collectively, with all those that participate, walk/run/cycle/swim the distance between New Lodge Youth Centre and New Zealand in a way to promote positive physical and mental health. After week 1 we had an amazing 500 miles travelled through all that participated, there is still time to join in.

Currently our services remain online, however we are closely monitoring government guidelines and have a range of planned interventions and responses to implement within the community as restrictions ease and we move back to a sense of normality.

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