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Our youth workers are truly youth champions who provide young people with amazing opportunities every day to support, to challenge, to stretch and to enable young people to become the best they can be and to reach their full potential.

This was never more evident than throughout the pandemic.  Our youth workers continued to support young people through detached youth work, supporting individuals and families, providing online and virtual sessions, providing food packs, welfare visits and lap tops to young people enabling them to carry on with their education whilst at home. In many cases this meant adapting our roles, when we were out and where and how we worked.  Our workers showed flexibility and adaptability, turning their hand to detached work where they may have been a centre based worker or learning to deliver digital and online sessions when social media was something alien to them!

This really helped to shine a light on youth work locally and a newfound appreciation and value for youth work from elected members, managers and partners.

This in essence sums up youth work and youth workers – adaptable, flexible, young people centred, willing to go the extra mile to ensure young people have somewhere to go, are supported, have a trusted adult to turn to and reach their full potential!

Throughout the last year, whilst much of our usual provision was no longer operating due to Covid restrictions we still managed to engage and support young people and achieve the following:

Youth Workers delivered 1588 sessions and reached 18,663 young people. We had 100+ welfare calls and visits, 95 online/ virtual sessions delivered, 324 new Facebook page likes, 600 education packs delivered, 200+ food packs delivered and 73 laptops delivered.

Also, being one of only a few Services that were still able to engage directly face to face with young people, we took it upon ourselves to consult with young people during this period.  Especially, as partners were starting to have conversations about their recovery plans, coming out of lockdown and to future support and provision post the pandemic. We felt it was extremely important that those conversations and plans were informed by the voices of children and young people themselves.  That’s why this report was so important – to everyone working with children, young people and their families.  Hearing about their experiences first hand, what is important to them, their fears and hopes, were crucial to take into account in recovery planning.

Sandwell’s Youth Service also works in partnership with SHAPE, Sandwell’s Child’s Voice Initiative.

The SHAPE Programme is designed to listen to children and young people in Sandwell. You can find out more about SHAPE here.