Workers from the Town Council’s youth service team continue to maintain a presence in Hailsham as lockdown easing continues.
In response to the current COVID-19 crisis and in liaison with Sussex Police and other authorities, Hailsham Youth Service remobilised its detached provision last month in specific areas identified as needing further support during this difficult time. The success of the detached work, in helping to keep antisocial behaviour low, has resulted in an increase of detached work engagement from three evenings to five evenings a week.
‘Detached’ or outreach youth work – which takes place outdoors rather than in designated young people’s centres – was stopped when lockdown was announced in March, but youth workers have now returned to outdoor spaces in order to support young people experiencing a range of issues, including mental health, unemployment, isolation and loneliness.
Hailsham Youth Service has continued to remain in contact with young people remotely since the onset of the pandemic and consequential closure of the Square Youth Cafe and other local youth facilities, through its social media pages. The team’s Facebook and Instagram pages have enabled young people to stay updated, join in on discussions, take part in activities and keep in touch with the youth worker team – a service provision which has been welcomed by young people in Hailsham and parents alike. However, it has proven to be extremely beneficial to be able to engage face-to-face once more.
Youth Project Coordinator, Andy Joyes said: “Now more than ever, young people in Hailsham need help, advice and support to manage with feelings of isolation associated with current social restrictions and concerns about their future.”
“While the Square Youth Cafe, Monday Youth Club, Friday Night Project and our advisory services remain closed because of restrictions, Hailsham Youth Service has adapted to ensure that it continues to help young people and the community and ensure they’re safe, following government guidance on social distancing and getting the appropriate support during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Currently, Hailsham Youth Service’s staff engage in detached work in the evenings from Monday to Friday, with two teams operating at any one time. Staff wear clearly visible youth service branded clothes so they can be found easily and the Service ensures that all detached work is carried out in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Deputy Youth Project Coordinator, Helen Deane commented: “It’s been a pleasure to catch up with young people and hear about what they’ve been up to and what they are currently doing. This is a difficult time – more so for some – and I’m pleased with the way young people in Hailsham are dealing with the current situation and sticking to the lockdown rules.”
“During the pandemic and while our centres are closed, we’re making improvements to some of our facilities including those at our flagship centre – the Square Youth Cafe – in preparation for its eventual reopening.”
“We continue to check on the welfare and wellbeing of local young people, offering advice, support and guidance when needed. Given the closure of our centres and other building-based provision, the work of detached youth workers has taken on an even greater importance in recent weeks. We are in a good position during the COVID-19 crisis to be able to help young people who find themselves needing support at this time.”
“We hope young people continue to benefit from our street-based service and social media activities in order to maintain communication and plan for when the pandemic is finally over.”
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
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