What we did:
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, North Ayrshire Councils Youth Work Team were fast in creating a full interactive digital programme under the branding of #DigiDReam. The programme gave the team and partners a platform to engage and work with young people and families throughout lockdown.
- 105 separate activities and challenges for young people to take part in.
- The two programmes’ social media engagements showed engagement with over 71,000 people in 13 weeks.
- The weekly online family quiz ran for the full duration with young people, friends and family groups. We also adapted the quiz to bring on two British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters for young people who were deaf to be able to participate.
- Working with our countryside rangers we distributed over 300 plants to young people to grow their own vegetable gardens.
- Created lockdown isolation packs for young people which were delivered to their homes.
- Created large weekly events including July step challenge with young people and families - with over 1.7 million steps walked, equating to 800 miles.
- Worked with Education to create digital back to school content for pupils ahead of their return with our young people.
- Created a consultation with young people to gather their views on access to digital resources during lockdown.
- Collated young people’s views on their mental health and wellbeing during lockdown to plan activities to help.
Who we involved:
The difference it made:
During a period of uncertainty, loneliness and isolation, this project aimed to provide activities and events that gave young people and their families a common goal, a feeling of community and helped them overcome feelings of low mood and isolation. By being as inclusive as possible it allowed young people from the furthest and most rural areas of North Ayrshire to join in, it was inclusive of BSL, ESOL and young people of all ages and ability.
The family learning approach gave families joint projects to work on, increased confidence, feelings of belonging and most importantly was fun. It created stronger partnerships and a more cohesive approach to the needs and wants of these young people and their families.
Young people were part of the process from the planning and delivery - ensuring it gave these communities what they wanted.
What we will do differently in the future:
The consultation provided invaluable data to young people’s concerns and worries and allowed us to adapt our programme and share the information with key decision makers to ensure that they provided support and guidance through a particularly difficult time. It has also shaped our service delivery for the Covid-19 recovery period.
During the Covid-19 recovery period we are keen to see the continuation of some of our digital youth work, and it will feature in our future delivery - this includes upskilling staff and having young people at the heart of the planning process.
Adapting our youth work approach digitally has brought many benefits to our team – being able to take youth groups online, connecting through digital platforms, the provision of activities and providing a trusted source for information, guidance and support for young people in a language that speaks to them.
We have also seen the strengthening of partnerships and a much wider network of people working more closely with young people on projects and shared goals.
During this time, we have discovered new ways to work, strengthened connections and maximised our presence in the digital world.
From the consultation responses gathered through ‘Get Connected’ we have highlighted the real concerns for young people which will shape future working and engagements with our young people.