The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the wellbeing of young people, including lack of social interaction, increased screen time, and limited human contact.
Springboard Opps, who are core funded by the NI Community Relations Council, created a video to capture what young people were feeling while living through lockdown.
“We wanted to ensure that young people had an opportunity to reflect and process their emotions whilst surviving a global pandemic,” said Angila Chada, Executive Director of Springboard. “It was important they had space to reflect on their life and ask what they wanted to leave behind and what they wanted to take with them moving forward.”
As unprecedented as lockdown is, it was important to capture young people learning positively, which in turn could be used to help shape a resilient mindset for the future.
“Amidst the anxiety and uncertainty,” Angila continued, “young people recognised they could have hope, creativity, resilience and still learn positively from a negative situation.”
Unique Snapshot of Time
As society emerges from lockdown, there are continuing levels of anxiety and issues surrounding clarity of advice.
“Confusion around what can or cannot be done due to Covid-19 can impact on wellbeing,” Angila explained. “This is also further impacted by economic and social disadvantage and marginalisation which is faced by many of our young people. Moving forward, it is essential a holistic focus is placed on the wellbeing development of young people.”
This could mean mental health, as well as personal, civic and economic health.
“Any response must be holistic and therefore sustainable,” Angila continued. “Key to recovery is provision of training and employment opportunities to ensure marginalised young people are not squeezed out of the market. Action is needed now!”
Coivid-19 has forced us into thinking in a new way
Springboard Opps met the challenge of Covid-19 by reframing their programmes and learning strategies with new technology platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom.
The key was to utilise technology and communication platforms that participants not only preferred to use but were also comfortable with.
“We had to try out new ways to connect,” Angila explained. “From building personal skills and learning about good relations and citizenship with online workshops, to reaching out to others through writing to care homes, as well as taking a lighter approach through our Mexican waves challenge, planting sunflowers, and pizza calls.”
Embedding a sense of belonging was critical to what Springboard wanted to achieve.
“Despite the challenging environment,” Angila said, “the young people involved continued to build confidence and relationships, and look after themselves and others. We pay tribute to the journeys they have made.”
Space and Flexibility to Create
Angila believes support from the Community Relations Council has allowed Springboard the space and flexibility to create and develop new ways of working with young people from across communities.
Springboard has massively benefited from CRC support, which has been fantastic. As a funder they have understood the acute challenges the organisation and staff have faced, in responding to the pressures of Covid-19 and a new way of working.
They also supported us, to support others at a quality level, throughout the lockdown. Their words of support matched their actions, letting us get on with much-needed work, and being there for positive support.”
Angila Chada, Executive Director of Springboard
Springboard Opps are core funded by the NI Community Relations Council. Learn more about CRC Core Funding.
Read more about Springboard Opps here: https://springboard-opps.org