When lockdown started and many charities were forced to close, directors of Gloucestershire youth charity The Door made the decision to stay open.
We already knew that for the vulnerable young people we support anxiety levels were rising. As the threat of the pandemic increased, and the prospect of school, mental health services and other support being closed, they were already feeling isolated.
Developing online tools
Over the first few weeks, the team developed online tools: YouTube videos with fun activities, weekly reflections and tips for staying mentally well; offering young people the opportunity to have a chat with a youth worker on the phone and expanding the phone support service.
We’ve seen significant and positive impact from these. In particular being able to offer mentoring over the phone removed some of the barriers that young people had in getting support. Sometimes leaving the house, visiting a coffee shop or meeting someone new makes you incredibly anxious, so chatting over the phone to a caring and thoughtful mentor feels much more safe and secure.
Highs and lows of lockdown
Many parents were coming across teenage issues for the first time as their children experienced the highs and lows of lockdown – watching a video about how to help them cope gave them immediate tools, and then they could contact The Door for more help as and when they needed it.
We’ve seen new, unexpected, benefits of these new initiatives, and as we move into the next phase of life, we are planning on keeping many of them going.
As with all charities the economic impact of the pandemic saw our usual income fall and we are very grateful to The Coronavirus Community Support Fund and the Government for supporting The Door with funding towards our phone support.