Tag Archives: Youth Work

Big CLD Blether

John Galt, CLD Education Officer reflects on the Big CLD Blether

Note: This is a post from back in the summer which we have transferred from our old CLD blog.

I’ve been absolutely blown away by the amazing response of the community learning and development (CLD) sector to the Covid-19 crisis. While the lockdown obviously led to the abrupt suspension of most face to face CLD activities, from the start we’ve been hearing examples of how community workers, youth workers, adult educators and family learning workers in both the public and third sectors have continued to support learners and communities with dedication, creativity and kindness. Across Scotland, CLD practitioners have been supporting community initiatives to deliver food, medicine or provide vital social contact to vulnerable families and isolated people; engaging with young people through imaginative digital youth work; adapting learning activities to be accessible online, by phone or through resources to use at home; and helping to extend the reach of school and community hubs for children of key workers and vulnerable families. Many CLD providers are now playing a key role in helping to develop local and national recovery plans.

So I was delighted to help to facilitate The Big CLD Blether  – a virtual discussion with over 90 CLD practitioners and managers across Scotland which was jointly hosted by Education Scotland and The CLD Standards Council for Scotland on 28th May. The session was one of a series held throughout May to support practitioners from across the education system. (#ESBigBlether)

One of the challenges in our diverse sector is finding common digital platforms to use. We went for Google Meet for The Big CLD Blether which seemed to work well for most people.

The discussions were based around four themes and participants chose which ones to take part in. We were lucky to have 3 or 4 experienced practitioners in each themed discussion who shared their experiences and addressed questions from other participants. There were a lot of issues raised in each of the four discussions. Notes from the session will be available on iDevelop but here are some of the points raised:

Theme one: Operational challenges for CLD providers

Participants recognised the good work being done to support the changing needs of learners and communities. CLD organisations are also dealing with significant challenges though. Many 3rd sector organisations are facing extreme financial pressures and some staff had been furloughed. In some areas, local authority CLD staff had been redeployed. Many have been realigning what they do to engage learners and communities remotely while trying to address the clear digital inequalities that exist in our communities. The move to digital is a steep learning curve for many and so effective professional learning for staff is key. There is a strong recognition of the need to support the health and wellbeing of learners and staff.

Theme two: Engagement and learning – what’s working well?

Examples of what is working well were threaded through each of the discussion groups.  We heard about the wide range of digital platforms being used by CLD providers to engage young people, adult learners and community groups. We heard lots of examples of practitioners being flexible and endeavouring to start where learners are at online and we were reminded of the Digitally Agile CLD principles and the great resources out there, such as those on digital youth work from YouthLink. There were frustrations at the limitations that some organisations placed on using some platforms, although there was a recognition of the increased importance of digital safety. We heard that Youth Awards like Hi-5 and Saltire are being widely used to recognise young people’s volunteering during the crisis and that as lockdown eases, there is an increasing focus on supporting young people through street work.

 Theme 3: Supporting the health and wellbeing of CLD participants and staff

CLD practitioners can help participants to address the impacts of staying at home and feelings of grief, worry, stress or loneliness. We heard some of the feedback from the Lockdown Lowdown study which led to discussions on how can we best support the mental wellbeing of young people now and as lockdown continues to ease. Meanwhile feedback from the CLD Standards Council practitioner survey highlighted that many workers were dealing with stress themselves. Effective CPD and peer support are increasingly important priorities for practitioners.

Theme 4: Looking forward – the role of CLD in the recovery phase.

CLD practitioners have important roles to play – in education recovery plans and in wider community renewal. There are many opportunities for CLD to contribute including outdoor learning, blended learning with schools, supporting parents and families, youth awards etc. broad range of services, showcase ourselves. CLD workers will also have key roles to support community groups and organisations to rebuild and help to rebuild partnership working and collaboration to ensure that resources are deployed to best effect. Much of the focus for recovery planning will be at the local level and it is important that CLD partners are involved. There will also be an increasing need for CLD to support wider regional and national collaboration to support ‘building back better’ efforts. Participants were keen to maintain some of the new processes that have been put in place during lockdown.

Feedback about The Big CLD Blether was positive. Participants told us that they enjoyed re-connecting with CLD colleagues and discussing experiences and  pieces of work going well.

Both Education Scotland and the CLD Standards Council are keen to keep the discussions going with further CLD ‘blethers’ so please watch this space!

 

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Lanarkshire Council

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

South Lanarkshire Council – CLD Youthwork – Vertigo Theatre for Young People

Continuing our series of case studies for the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from South Lanarkshire Council CLD Youth work.

Vertigo Theatre for Youth, a group based at East Kilbride Universal Connections and supported by South Lanarkshire’s Youth, Family and Community Service, have been undertaking a range of initiatives over the lockdown period. One of these initiatives takes place every Thursday evening, where young people from  the senior group come together online to talk about how they are feeling and take part in an interactive drama session. The young people discuss and plan projects that they can undertake to keep themselves creatively engaged whilst entertaining other families and young people within South Lanarkshire. On average 22 young people have taken part every day.

These projects have included story-telling videos for children and families, including stories told in British Sign Language (BSL) and Makaton, that are published weekly. The young people have also been producing videos of themselves performing music from their homes. During one week alone the videos by the young people reached over 1,200 members of the public and had 395 engagements.

The Vertigo Committee of young people have been meeting online regularly and are making contact with the younger members of the group who do not use social media. Members of Vertigo are also currently working on writing poetry and monologues that represent their experience of lockdown, often concentrating on the positive aspects of the experience. These initiatives all aim to encourage young people to help support each other’s mental health, and to create a support network for young people during the current crisis.

Facebook link   https://www.facebook.com/Vertigo360TY/ or search Vertigo 360 on Facebook to see the stories and music videos.

CLD Response to Covid-19: Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfries & Galloway Youth Work Service

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight work from Dumfries & Galloway’s Youth Work Service.

Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) council youth work service identified several challenges as lockdown was introduced. These included the need to: provide young people with the latest information; establish a way to maintain contact with more vulnerable young people (previously engaged through the ‘youth work in secondary schools mental health initiative’); develop a new method of delivering youth engagement through digital platforms; and, consider a method of engaging young people with little or no access to the internet.

Youth workers responded swiftly to these challenges and: created digital information clips, and introduced a youth information line available 6 days a week, 12 hours a day; contacted vulnerable young people on an individual basis to provide on-going support; worked with young people to secure grant funding and co-produce 1000 ‘isolation packs’ containing activities and access to the ‘Hi5 STEM award’ for young people with no digital access; and, developed #HomeFest, a 4 day programme (10am-9pm) during the Easter holidays with a new activity available every hour.

Further to this, examples of targeted support include: provision of activity books for young parents to support their learning and care for their children; and assist young people to access funding for essentials like food, heating, and ‘top-ups’.

Local authority officers advise the geography in Dumfries and Galloway is recognised to cause a sense of isolation and disconnect for some young people. Therefore, youth work services and education staff are now jointly hosting a weekly webinar (also supported by the D&G youth council and school captains) where young people can ask questions of hosts with a collective range of expertise.

Local authority officers shared insight to some of the impacts to date. Examples of positive impacts include; 35 young people supported to gain their Hi5 STEM award since lockdown began; young people and parents seeking support from the youth work service for the first time, maintaining contact with young people previously registered with youth services to support them with challenges they’ve encountered in lockdown; youth workers temporarily deployed to social services experiencing strengthened relationships with social work colleagues; and, the opportunity to shift some service delivery online – with the success of #HomeFest influencing current service delivery

However it is important to note online engagement methods are viewed as most effective in the current circumstances – but not a replacement for face to face practice.

Negative impacts are reported to include: evidence of increased numbers of young people struggling with mental health issues, to be considered as part of any post-covid response; and, the digital deficit experienced by young people with a lack of access to technology at home.

D&G council youth work service identify a number of areas for consideration looking forward: Investment in staff training to facilitate delivery of high quality youth work online; Investment in local broadband infrastructure to ensure equal access for all young people; Funding for local authority youth work to support young people in the recovery from COVID such as managing loss, and reintroduction to social situations; and finally, reinstating youth work staff teams temporarily diminished in size (due to deployment of staff to other business critical council services), once restrictions are lifted.

For more information check out @YOUTHWORKDG on twitter and this short video: https://twitter.com/YOUTHWORKDG/status/1298307452446924801?s=20