In many ways I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since the lock down started, but in others it feels like an eternity. I’m sure that feeling resonates for many. The way we’ve been able to work with people has changed dramatically and our project like many of the other service across PAC-UK has had to adapt so we can continue to support and engage with our young people.
Here are some of the ways we’ve done that.
Adopteens Lockdown Pack
At the very beginning we wanted to make sure people felt that we hadn’t forgotten about them, we were conscious of people feeling isolated and disconnected so we wanted to try and help people feel held in mind; we also we wanted to send a little joy. So we put together our lockdown packs.
We successfully sent out 115 packs to young people who were signed up to our project. We have thought about sending packs out to new members after lockdown and possibly doing annual mail outs to all members as a way of reminding members what our service has to offer. For many families receiving the pack it has encouraged them to re-engage with our service.
The packs were greatly received by young people and parents alike. This is some of the feedback received –
“I just wanted to say thanks a million for the mailing. It injected a bit of excitement and interest into our Saturday and beyond. The boys have started working on their Covid 19 time capsules and seem to be quite into it!”
“Thanks for the activity pack. ***** and I enjoyed looking through it and he really enjoyed getting the post. We talked through the time capsule sheets which prompted a good conversation.”
“Thanks for the tea bags for **** and I, we are just about to have a cuppa, and thanks for the activity packs.”
“L really enjoyed the activity pack. He took it up with him at bed time and......well in his words "it was really good" so thank you. The children haven’t burnt any energy during the day, so getting to sleep is hard. Your pack kept L occupied for a while.”
We’ve had an online chat forum for a long time, but our struggle has been to get people using it consistently and be online at the same time, so we’ve introduced 'Adopteens Chat' every Wednesday evening from 7pm - 8.30pm. It's for all members who have signed up to use the online chat forum and supported by two project workers. Its aim is to bring members on line at the same time each week to develop friendships. We have also secured funding to employ an Adoptee mentor who is an adopted adult and will run the chat with us… watch this space!
Our activity days thrive on face to face interaction, it’s been a huge loss to us, however we haven’t given in and we’ve instead delivered activities via Zoom. We've held 3 x online activity days (2 x scavenger hunts and a drawing game) which have got people moving, dressing up & being creative with some hilarious moments.
Following the success of these we have decided to continue to do activity meetings on a regular basis, We are always trying to think of new ideas and we've thought about an online baking competition and online Karaoke for those of you who love a sing along. Singing has loads of mental health benefits apparently so it’s a win win.
Youth Council plans
We will continue with Youth council meetings online via Zoom – following the success of previous meetings we feel this is a great way of keeping in touch with and hearing the voice of our members. We also run a WhatsApp group for Youth Council members which is supported by the Adopteen Project workers, this again is running well and the young people are finding it a good way to access support from each other and workers.
We’ve talked about all sorts in our Youth Council meetings from the impact of COVID, loneliness, online safety, mental health, black lives matters, and adoption in the mainstream media. And of course how much we miss face to face meetings!
Its not been an easy transition, but out of the struggle has come leanring and positives which we can continue to apply- we are certainly thinking about how we can use remote working to stay in touch with our members between face to face meetings and how we can link up with other adoption groups across Yorkshire and beyond!