Being ambitious for youth in Blackburn with Darwen #YWW2020

Published Wednesday 11 November 2020 at 14:22

Following on from Youth Work Week 2020, young people across the borough are being celebrated this year more than ever before, for their resilience during the global pandemic.

Many are volunteering and helping in their local communities; in fact in Blackburn with Darwen we’re proud that we have twice the national average number of volunteers – a sign of how much we care about helping others.

We know that young people are being disproportionately hit by lockdown and the work of the Council’s youth services has never been more important.

Youth workers in our services have continued to work throughout the pandemic, ensuring our most vulnerable young people are engaged, whether that’s on a 1:1 basis, home visits or telephone calls.  Staff have been reactive and proactive and used innovative ways to ensure that young people have fun during the sessions. Small group sessions have continued, as well as holiday programmes, including those for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.  Youth workers have also provided support at evenings and weekends and supported young people through street based work while youth centres were closed.

Throughout the pandemic, children and young people have been able to access outdoor education activities including archery, mountain biking and bushcraft skills, along with centre based activities including youth work curriculum projects, drama, cooking and arts and crafts.  This has given young people an opportunity to see their friends and have fun in a safe environment, helping to reduce their isolation and loneliness during the pandemic.

Youth work services offer young people somewhere to go, something to do and somebody to speak to in a safe and fun environment whilst at the same time learning important life skills that can support them to lead a positive and fulfilled life.

Cllr Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children and Young People and Education, said:

The work that our young people’s services staff provide is invaluable, even more so right now. When you’re starting out in life you don’t have experience to fall back on, which makes gaining employment more challenging and growing up in a pandemic puts a huge strain on the mental health of our children and young people.

Our youth workers are there to help fill the gaps and in many cases are the friendly, trusted face that is there to support young people and help get them through these really tough times.

Jayne Ivory, Director of Children’s, Schools and Education, said:

We’re also seeing a rise in those needing support for mental health related issues. Many are already losing valuable weeks of their education – the single best way to equalise our society.

Cllr Gunn added:

And that’s why it’s so important we work collectively with all our partnerships and continue the valuable work of our dedicated youth services to ensure our young people do not become the lost generation.

We are determined that despite all the challenges that our young people face we will not let this happen and we will continue to do as much as we can to help.

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