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Warwickshire County Council staff are out and about meeting young people across the county to offer them support with any issues or concerns they may have and to help them to stay safe during the p...

Warwickshire County Council staff are out and about meeting young people across the county to offer them support with any issues or concerns they may have and to help them to stay safe during the pandemic.

The council’s Targeted Youth Support (TYS) service has a team of dedicated, qualified youth workers that use their knowledge, skills and experience to build strong relationships with young people to help them make positive futures. They are part of the community and they work hard to understand what is going on for young people.

The service has seen an increase in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic and youth workers have gone above and beyond to support young people during this difficult time on a range of issues. For many young people, this time has been extremely challenging. Periods of isolation from friends and more time at home has had a negative impact on mental health and placed strain on difficult family relationships. Other issues are also present, such as, dealing with the negative effects of social media, a lack of formal education and increased risk of exploitation, making this a time where they are more in need of something to do and someone to listen than ever.

Youth workers have always had a presence in local communities and this has remained the case through lockdown and easing of restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, youth workers have acted as community ambassadors for doing the right thing for Warwickshire as they help to communicate key messages around Covid-19 to young people around social distancing, controlling the virus, protecting others and being asymptomatic.

Hollie Hutchings, Targeted Youth Support Team Manager at Warwickshire County Council said:

“I love being a youth worker and I enjoy supporting young people to work through any issues that may stop them from reaching their potential. ‘We discuss their experiences and emotions and can support them to address things like worries and motivation through to specific support to prevent self-harm or anti-social behaviour.

“During the past few months, a lot of the young people that I have worked with have really struggled with their mental health because they haven’t been seeing their friends or they have difficult family relationships at home. It has been even more important that we support young people throughout Covid-19 so that we can help them and also share information with them so that they can stay safe and protect others in the community around them.

“On the whole young people have been really pleased to see us and seemed to appreciate a youth worker coming out to see how they were. Often we have been the only professionals that young people are having contact with, especially as they haven’t been at school.”

Thomas*, a 16-year-old living in Warwickshire said:

“The support my youth worker has given me has massively helped me move forward when I didn’t think I could.”

Kayleigh*, a 15-year-old in Warwickshire said:

“My youth worker helped me a lot with my problems and he listened to me when I needed someone to talk to. He always helps me get through my problems.”

Cllr Jeff Morgan, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Warwickshire County council said:

“All of our youth workers have really risen to the challenge during this difficult time and they are all fantastic examples of individuals working hard to do the right thing for young people and the wider community in Warwickshire during the pandemic.

“Our youth workers enable young people to have a voice and a place in their communities and society as a whole by giving them the confidence and life skills that they need to live, learn, work and achieve.”

People might see youth workers engaging with young people out in streets and parks offering 121 support. Young people will know if they are approached by a Warwickshire County Council Youth Worker but anyone who is unsure can contact Targeted Youth Support by calling Children’s Social Care on 01926 428142 or emailing [email protected].”

For more information on the Targeted Youth Support service, visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/youthservice.

Published: 27th August 2020