The Impact of Covid 19 on LINKS Groups
At two recent LINKS Cluster Group Meetings delegates discussed the impact Covid 19 was having on their work with young people and on the staff teams.
Issues for young people included:
- Negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing
- Increased social isolation
- Increased vulnerability (e.g. among homeless young people; due to lack of privacy to engage in online counselling)
- Employability Issues (as work placements have been cancelled/postponed)
- The impact of the remote/virtual world (some of this is positive especially for those who find face to face interaction difficult; Zoom fatigue; lack of equipment/broadband access)
- Increases in risk taking behaviour (drug and alcohol abuse; anti-social behaviour; lack of adherence to social distancing rules)
Issues for organisations included:
The delegates at the Cluster Group Meetings also spoke of issues for organisations and the workers and volunteers in them. These issues included the following:
- Negative impacts on workers’ mental health and well-being (with little or no demarcation between ‘home’ and ‘work’)
- Online issues (new equipment needed; ensuring safeguarding while online)
- Fears about sustainability (due to a lack of the usual fundraising activities)
- Recruitment of young people for a new phase of a project (young people naturally do not want to engage with strangers online; less referrals from stakeholders)
- Using this ‘pause’ productively (more time for staff/volunteer development; upskilling staff/volunteers in using IT; becoming more knowledgeable about certain topics; upskilling young people to co-facilitate meetings)
Delegates at the Cluster Group Meeting were glad of the opportunity to share these challenges and opportunities, share their experiences and know that they were not alone in such experiences. NCB is continuing to support these LINKS groups remotely.
The full account of the Cluster Group Meeting can be see here.