Youth Work Bulletin - COVID19 Special Edition - 7th May 2020

COVID 19 Special Edition 4, 7 May 2020


A word from our Board Chair

Keith Towler Image

As we approach the end of the seventh week in lockdown much has happened in such a short period of time. All of us have adjusted at incredible pace to a new way of working to support our young people. In this fast-moving situation, we don’t yet have all the answers, and I think we have to accept that’s okay. Over time priorities will shift as more information becomes available and we will keep on adapting what we do.

During this time though it is good to see the contribution of the youth service being recognised in the recent Written Ministerial Statement by the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services. I was also pleased to read the Guardian article focussing on the importance of the youth service in the lives of young people. Wales came in for some praise, including a reference to the funding made available through the Youth Support Grant, and the article also highlighted work taking place in Torfaen, as well as including some reflections from Youth Cymru. I’m also grateful to the Education Workforce Council (EWC) for publishing my blog: Youth Work in Wales rises to the challenges of lockdown.  One way or the other the message that Youth Work remains a lifeline for some young people is getting out there.

This edition of the Youth Work Bulletin is focussed on information – answering young people’s questions and providing them with accurate youth information at this time is essential. The Meic helpline service provides useful tips for young people on a range of issues including mental health, relationships, housing and rights-based issues, through videos, resources, articles and direct support from Helpline Adviser Advocates. We can also be proud of the work of the Digital Youth Transformation Network in this area, including the new information sharing platform which holds valuable resources in one place to help avoid duplication. This is a collaborative resource, so please submit any useful links and information you have directly through the platform, using the link on the webpage.

In closing, we would like the bulletin to reach as many youth work volunteers, practitioners and managers as possible, so please encourage your networks to sign up. Remember, this is your Bulletin, so do get in touch with your ideas for future content via There is plenty of good practice out there, it’s up to you to help us celebrate it. 

Take care of yourselves.

Keith Towler, Chair – Interim Youth Work Board for Wales

Special Focus - : Youth Information

Each bulletin we focus in on a specific theme. In this issue the focus is on Youth Information.


From the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 13 (freedom of expression)

“Every child must be free to express their thoughts and opinions and to access all kinds of information, as long as it is within the law.”

Article 17 (access to information from the media)

“Every child has the right to reliable information from a variety of sources, and governments should encourage the media to provide information that children can understand. Governments must help

protect children from materials that could harm them.”

 As they grow up, young people will make choices that impact on their lives and it therefore follows that they should be supported to have access to information that will help inform these choices. Youth Work and Youth Services often have a pivotal role in supporting young people to generate, access, and interpret this information and this extends across a whole host of issues. Ensuring equity of access to information is therefore vital if young people are to engage from a level playing field, understand their rights and responsibilities, and participate fully in life and society. This right to information is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Research on Youth Information is well developed and there are a range of approaches being taken forward internationally. Within Wales we are continuing to evolve our own thinking and policy approaches in this area. However, did you know that Wales is a member of ERYICA (The European Youth Information and Counselling Agency) and they represent a great place to start when thinking about youth information youth information  and how it applies to your work.

Youth Information: a collaborative venture

The last 7 weeks in lock down have shown the great resourcefulness, enthusiasm and greater understanding of the youth sector to move online and to engage with, provide information and listen to young people in the online spaces they are part of.

At the same time it has highlighted how much needs to be put in place, how much we have to share but also how fragmented we are.

The Digital Youth Work group, chaired by Dusty Kennedy,  is supporting wide conversations with youth work services and practitioners from the voluntary and local authority youth services together with Welsh Government Officials.  A further step will need to involve young people in the thinking and development processes.

We need to embed and think about how to transform youth work services, to learn, to not lose momentum and work together. 

Critical moments can be great catalyst for positive change.

It's time to develop a co-ordinated approach and create the new enhanced, connected normal. 

Reflections from Marco Gil Cervantes

Covid-19 content on Meic

During this unprecedented time Meic is creating Covid-19 content on a weekly basis with a bank of articles on the website. From taking a look at things to do to keep busy to looking at issues particular to the pandemic. One article attempts to give back a sense of control by looking at what can be done to help with mental health. There is also an article putting things into perspective so that young people don't get overwhelmed by things. The Grab the Meic series is also continuing, giving advice to a young person who wants to go out and meet with friends during the lockdown. Keep an eye on the Meic website and Instagram as further Covid-19 articles are added and share Meic's contact details with any young people you are in contact with.

Working with ERYICA – The future of youth information


The DesYign project - Innovative Youth Information Service Design, is an ongoing Erasmus+ project, coordinated by ERYICA. ProMo-Cymru is a lead partner working with youth workers from Malta, Spain, Ireland and Luxembourg on a project that aims to rethink how youth information services are designed. 

There’s a growing divide between the way young people access information and the way youth services provide it. The effort to inform and empower young people can often fail to elicit the intended outcome when the services do not reach them. 

To help address this the the DesYign project will provide evidence, tools, training and guidance to support youth workers to deliver effective digital youth work. The foundations for the approach are routed in ‘Design Thinking’- a human centred methodology for designing digital services. In this changing world these resources aim to support youth practitioners to continuously evolve their practice. Read the initial piece of research here.

Follow the progress by following @Promocymru and @ERYICAYI 

Torfaen’s message to young people

Torfaen Youth Service’s young apprentices and Torfaen Youth Forum in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner have created a short film and a key set of messages to aid partners who want to communicate with young people. These resources set out key messages about staying safe, reducing the spread of the virus, and some tips for coping with lockdown.

Key Messages for young people for coping with lockdown

My Youth Work

Each edition, we’ll shine a light on a different youth work organisation. In this edition: Viva LGBTQ+

Viva Lgbt

Tell us about your work and the challenges you face

Viva LGBTQ+ was established in 1997 as part of the West Rhyl Young People’s Project in response to members telling us they found it difficult to find safe spaces to talk about their experiences as LGBTQ+ young people in North Wales. Since then we have supported young people under 25, from across North Wales and beyond, who are LGBTQ+ or who think they might be.

We rely on a mixture of grants and donations to fund our work. Our current work is funded by Children In Need, Families First, Medrwn Môn, and Welsh Government. Our small team of two full time staff, three sessional staff, and volunteers run youth groups every week in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Wrexham. We also offer one-to-one support to young people. As part of our efforts to make the world a safer and more inclusive place we also work with families and schools. We also offer training to other organisations to enable professionals to gain greater awareness of LGBTQ+ identities and work inclusively with confidence. We are currently partners in a pilot project, alongside Denbighshire County Council and Llamau, to provide the first LGBTQ+ specific supported accommodation in Wales for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

What is great about what you do and what difference does it make in your area? 

The LGBTQ+ youth population as a whole report difficulties at schools in Wales with 54% of LGB students and 73% of trans students saying they experienced bullying at school, and 60% hearing homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic language at school (Stonewall Cymru, 2017). The impact of these experiences leave LGBTQ+ young people feeling isolated, excluded, and sometimes at risk. Our work at Viva gives LGBTQ+ young people safe spaces where they can explore who they are, make friends, find out more about the world, and the things that are important to them. Our members have told us that Viva is “a home away from home”, that coming to groups is “the highlight of [the] week”, and they now “have people [to] talk to and relate to in real life” and that they feel “happier and accepted”.

How are you applying your skills during the pandemic?

We continue to offer support during this difficult period by working digitally. However, some of our members may not have access to technology/WiFi and others may not have the privacy at their homes to take part, especially those young people who may not be ‘out’ at home or whose LGBTQ+ identity is actively challenged at home. We have thus been careful to employ a variety of methods to help us reach and engage the greatest number of young people, irrespective of their circumstances. Here is what #VirtualViva has been doing so far:

  • Digital Youth Groups facilitated 3 nights a week - we’ve had quiz and game nights, Dungeons & Dragons, art sessions, issue based discussions and group chats
  • One-to-one support via phone, video calls and regular wellbeing texts
  • A continued social media presence to share positive images and messages and useful information, using hashtags such as #VivaLaQuarantine

The potential for additional challenges and heightened tensions in the home is something we have been especially mindful of during this time, particularly as LGBTQ+ young people are 4 times as likely to experience homelessness than their peers. Our ongoing support and visibility is designed to remind our young people that they are not alone.

Where to find out more?

Email -

Phone - 07933472698 / 07880956458


Website -


Instagram - @vivalgbtplus


facebook - @lgbtviva


twitter - @vivalgbt


Please encourage young people to take part with their own #VivaLaQuarantine pictures and stories.

Around the World

Each edition, we’ll shine a light on some of the different youth work approaches or activities taking place beyond Wales.


The Commonwealth Association of Youth Workers

CAYWA is the Commonwealth Association of Youth Workers. They are trying to get a credible, referenced document on global definitions of youth work to establish foundations, commonalties and to assist them to support Commonwealth countries. 

CAYWA are hoping to present findings at the Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting in 2021. Please encourage your colleagues to complete the CAYWA survey.


Erasmus+ Funding for Youth Work Organisations

The next Erasmus+ deadline for Youth Work organisations is  1st October 2020. Connect Cymru can support youth work organisations in Wales to apply for funding. ERASMUS+ funding can support  projects of up to three years and can have a great impact on young people and the youth work sector.

Connect Cymru acknowledge that the process of applying to Erasmus+ can be complicated and daunting. However, they are able to offer tailored support to organisations within the Youth Sector in Wales. Should you require further information please contact

To access the Erasmus+ website please click here.

Young Person’s voice

Each edition we talk to a young person.

For this edition of the bulletin, we spoke to Em Wight about their experiences during this public health crises. Em, aged 25 years, lives in Rhos on Sea in Conwy. Before lockdown, Em volunteered at the local Mencap shop and also helped to run an animation club at TAPE Community Music and Film, a charity which supports people to explore and develop their creative ideas. Em was also a young judge on the Youth Work Excellence Awards panel last year. 

Em struggled initially with the complete shut-down of their social life but has very quickly established new forms of social interaction. This includes a whatsapp group with members from their art club - the tutor sets an arts based challenge each week and then provides video feedback to each of the participants. Em has also used the Discord app to communicate with fellow gamers, making some new friends in the process. This has helped to stave off boredom and retain a sense of connection with others. Em is well aware of the dangers of online interaction but considers it may be useful to remind other young people of their ‘digital footprint’ and the importance of staying safe online. They  worry  that during this period of lockdown, isolated young people may be more likely to overshare on social media or become victims of phishing scams.

Em hadn’t been aware of the Meic service and had been relying on the BBC for information and answers to some the questions they’d had. Em is very aware of the danger of misinformation and worries about the influence of misinformation on the behaviour of others during this time.

In common with all of their friends, Em is most worried about when this lockdown will end, but also concerned about the long term impact of ongoing social distancing regulations on their ability to socialise.

Have you heard?

Each issue we provide space for individuals and organisations to share information with their peers.

Viva LGBTQ+ is delivering a free one-hour e-training session to support professionals in working with LGBTQ+ young people during this period. The session will take place on Friday, May 15th at 11am on Zoom (email for the zoom link)


Welsh Government has commissioned the Education Workforce Council (EWC), in partnership with Education Training Standards (ETS) Cymru to deliver and develop the nationally recognised Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales until January 2023. EWC wish to capture the  voice of the sector as they develop and strengthen the Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales, please contribute your views by  completing this short online questionnaire by 29 May 2020.’

The EWC has also developed a free Professional Learning Passport (PLP), which can help youth workers promote themselves digitally, by sharing with potential employers, managers or other colleagues.


The theme for the next series of CWVYS regional ZOOM meetings will concentrate on ‘transitioning out of lockdown to the new normal’. Contact Catrin James to receive the joining details to join the meeting in your region: Central South and South East Wales – 14/5/20 – 10am to 11am; North Wales – 15/5/20 10am to 11am; South West and Mid Wales -15/5/20 1pm to 2pm


The Urdd’s Peace and Goodwill Message, a message from the young people of Wales to the world, has been sent annually for 98 years. This year’s message is ‘Stop the Clock and Start Again’ which conveys young people’s desire to see the world learning from the Covid-19 emergency. It will be sent on 18 May. Please engage your young people with this campaign and help the Urdd reach 15 million people in 50 countries. Click HERE for more details or email -


Advice for young people who have left care has been published on the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ website. This includes advice on how young people can stay safe during the pandemic and how they can access support if they need it.  

Useful Links

coronavirus generic cropped

Welsh Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) pages

The Welsh Government’s frequently asked questions about vulnerable children and safeguarding during the coronavirus pandemic are live FAQs which are being added to a regular basis. If you there are any questions you think needs to be included, bearing in mind the focus of the FAQs, please contact

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Fortnightly e-newsletter providing information and support to the youth work sector during the current public health crisis

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