As the pandemic has changed how we all work, we have decided to ask a few of our member organisations how they adapted in order to continue to provide vital services to people of Norfolk. The videos not only provide information on available services in Norfolk but also help to share good practice.
MAP runs a young person’s drop-in for advice on various issues including housing benefit, sexual health, employment, education and training – they are happy to signpost to other services if an issue is outside their remit. Counselling is provided from 11 to 18 but MAP acknowledge that young people still need advice while transitioning into adult life, whereas many services stop suddenly when the service user reaches 18, so they provide advice up to the age of 25.
During lockdown, when it was no longer safe to provide a face-to-face service, the advice team worked together to quickly set up a home-working system using a Freephone number, to ensure the service was accessible to all young people in Norfolk. They also set up an email service for those uncomfortable with phoning and, impressively, they were providing phone and email advice after four days. Once that challenge had been navigated, the advice team had to familiarise themselves with the new challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and they worked closely as a team to research and share information, including government guidance regarding lockdown.
Rupert and Charlie are senior engagement workers for YMCA Norfolk, looking after different geographic areas. Normally they provide sports, support services, advice and also work with the police. YMCA do a lot of partnership working including heading up the Youth West Partnership, providing open-access youth clubs, and working with Active Norfolk and the Garage, Norwich.
Normally Rupert and Charlie travel around Norfolk, meeting young people in youth clubs etc. face-to-face. They had plans in place months in advance and were getting good attendance at youth provisions, but of course all this changed when lockdown was announced.
Lyn and Rachel run Bridge into Community, a group providing support for young adults who had previously accessed youth projects, but now didn’t fit the age-group of such projects. Lyn noticed that some of these young adults, people she had worked with in youth projects, were struggling to move on and socialise outside the projects, so she set up Bridge into Community with Rachel to meet this need. The group is free to join for 18-30-ish-year-olds in Norfolk, with no referral process, and coffee, snacks and entrance tickets (if required) are all provided.
Prior to COVID-19 and lockdown they met in a café or other Norwich city centre location to have coffee and sometimes go for a walk, see an exhibition or take part in some activity in the city. The group is all about getting together and socialising – both to make friends and to learn and practise social skills.
You can find their details on Facebook.