Young people in Croydon are being encouraged to access a huge range of activities, opportunities, information and support to help them stay safe and well during Covid-19.
The council and its partners organisations – united in support of young people through the Choose Your Future campaign – have launched a local package of online and telephone services to connect with them throughout lockdown.
The council’s youth engagement team are offering a programme of online sessions, with activities ranging from cookery classes to quizzes, exercise challenges and even gardening skills. The sessions can be accessed through the @Young_Croydon Instagram account and contact details for their duty team can be found at www.youngcroydon.org.uk.
The council’s youth forums have also gone virtual, with a programme of online meetings and sessions for young people to have their voices heard on local issues, as well as training and development opportunities. Anyone interested in joining a forum or attending training should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
And through E.M.P.I.R.E (youth provision for children looked-after and care leavers), the youth team have been running daily sessions with children looked-after and care leavers, from fitness sessions, to live performance, cookery, confidence-building, welfare checks and much more. They have also developed a four-week personal-development programme for care leavers, with motivational speakers, personal development techniques and creative writing. For further information or a copy of the full virtual offer for children looked-after and care leavers, email email@example.com
Meanwhile staff at Legacy, Croydon’s £6m state-of-the-art OnSide Youth Zone which opened last year, are engaging with young people through one-to-one calls and their social media channels, delivering a range of activities, from virtual workouts and fitness challenges, to online gaming tournaments and weekly competitions. They are also supporting the local community having distributed over a thousand food packages so far. For more information visit their website www.legacyyouthzone.org
And for young people in need of advice, support or just someone to listen, there are a wealth of local services still available.
CDI’s Talkbus may be off the streets but the team are still available, running their sessions for young people on the phone and online. Usually parked up in North End, Croydon and neighbourhoods throughout the borough, CDI’s Talkbus is an outreach service commissioned by the council and offering young people confidential information, guidance and counselling. From sexual health to safeguarding, mental health and wellbeing, the team can support young people on a huge range of topics and signpost them to other services as required. During lockdown, the team will be available online and over the phone every day – for information visit www.croydondropin.org.uk/outreach. Off the Record are also offering free online counselling and telephone counselling which can be found here
Palace for Life Foundation are running Palace Pad Chat, offering anyone aged 12 to 25 the chance to join them for a game of FIFA, Fortnite or Apex Legends on Xbox One or PS4, providing the opportunity for a chat about any concerns they might have during this period whilst gaming and having fun. To sign up please visit their webpage.
Ment4 is a Croydon team providing specialist individual mentoring to many of Croydon’s teenagers with emotional and behavioural difficulties, vulnerable to crime, mental health troubles and exclusion. During lockdown, they are helping prevent depression, anxiety, going out on the streets, and family breakdown between parents and young people. Ment4 are keeping the link with them by calling several times a week, to be a listening ear and for some, a lifeline. At this time, they are also offering support to parents who are concerned about children and young people who are vulnerable to crime, self-harm, and putting themselves in danger. Their contact details are email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07752817882, or visit www.ment4.org
And for young people aged 17 and over, Croydon Talking Therapies is a free, confidential NHS service. They can be contacted on 020 3228 4040, or by email email@example.com or search Croydon Talking Therapies online. There’s also emotional health and wellbeing support on the Getting It On website, aimed at young people aged 13-19.
“Our children and young people are always a priority for us in Croydon – through our Choose Your Future campaign, we have united as a borough in support of them, to promote their safety, health and wellbeing and create positive opportunities for them. With their lives and education so disrupted by Covid-19, this care and support is more important than ever. Even while we cannot offer many of our face-to face services, we are still reaching out to our young people, finding new ways to connect, care for them and help them stay safe and well throughout lockdown.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning