As we grapple with unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) staff and young people are demonstrating their continued commitment to the programme. Many staff have been trying to find new ways in which to stay connected, engage and support the participants on the PYDP programme which is funded by the International Fund for Ireland.
With many reports highlighting that young people are going to be some of the most affected by the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts, staff are keen to ensure participants stay on track continuing to build their confidence, skills and overall employability as well as maintaining their mental health. No mean task prior to lockdown and an even bigger challenge now.
Here are just some of the ways that PYDP projects are adapting to the ‘new normal’ during the Covid 19 outbreak:
- Staying Connected
PYDP projects have been using technology to the max! Many groups have been checking in with participants via telephone, text, What’sApp and Facebook Messenger on a daily, one to one basis.
- Championing Mental Wellness
During lockdown staff have been finding new ways to help prevent mental health becoming an even bigger issue for many. Some have issued advice on the importance of establishing a good daily routine and have continued their Mental Health workshops and counselling online.
- Keep on Learning
Remote delivery has been a steep learning curve for many of us including PYDP projects who have had to adapt the schedule of workshops to suit online delivery platforms. This has allowed participants to continue with many of their accredited qualifications and group discussion on topics. Although challenging many of the young people have thrived on this new way of working and have found it a relief from the boredom often felt while being at home.
PYDP projects continue to support participants in completing job applications and preparation for interview with some recently securing employment in food retailers, hospitals and care homes. For others they have continued with employability workshops and have set up specialist speakers giving online talks on what it’s like within their sector, the opportunities, expectations and possible career paths.
- Boredom Busting Activities
With the current restrictions on group activities, projects have had to come up with new ways to keep the programme fun and engaging. Pizza Making Competitions, Quizzes, Exercise Programmes, Cooking Demonstrations, Group Gaming and Music Sessions, has helped PYDP fun to continue despite Covid19.
We all look forward to a time when PYDP can return to ‘normal’ but in the meantime our staff and projects are doing a great job keeping the programme moving on.