Youth Work Bulletin: Now available!

COVID 19 Special Edition 9 - 20th August 2020



A word from our Board Chair

Keith Towler

Keith’s Voice

The gradual easing of restrictions that has been taking place in Wales in recent weeks, and the opportunity to reconnect with families and friends, albeit at a social distance, is providing us with a welcome respite in these difficult days. It is also an opportunity to take stock of the impact the pandemic has had on our young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and plan how we can continue to support them through this crisis 

The news is very concerning. The Children’s Society annual survey of children’s well-being, published at the end of last month,  indicated nearly 1 in 5 children aged 10-17 in the UK reported being unhappy with their lives as a whole during the coronavirus lockdown. A group of leading child psychologists wrote to The Times in June to highlight the mental health risks of lockdown on children and young people. Although this was in the context of schools re-opening in England, it provided a stark reminder of the impact of the crisis on our young people.

However, in the midst of this crisis, we continue to make a difference. Youth work provides opportunities for young people to follow the five ways to wellbeing, even at a time of social distancing. The Independent published an article on 1 August, which stated that Wales is leading the way to support mental health in young people and referred to the Welsh Government’s young person's mental health toolkit. I thought the youth work sector in Wales should equally have been highlighted. The articles in this edition of the bulletin really demonstrate the critical role of Youth Work in supporting our young people’s mental health and wellbeing. In our youth work strategy we have articulated our vision of having our young people thriving, with access to opportunities and experiences, in Welsh and English, which provide enjoyment and enrich their personal development through youth work approaches. Boosting young people’s confidence and self-esteem through youth work approaches can help prevent mental health issues from developing or escalating.

Finally, as restrictions are lifted and youth work settings across Wales are either expanding their existing provision or looking for ways to re-open facilities, we are publishing  guidance to help with your considerations about what will enable you to open safely for young people and all staff within your organisation. The guidance has been developed working closely with the sector and we hope you find it helpful.

Social distancing is likely to be with us for some time to come and as you re-open we would encourage you to think about how you can encourage the young people you are working with to share positive messages of social distancing to help protect them, their families and their wider community.

As we move into this next phase of our response to Covid-19, and with the guidance in place, we have taken the decision to reduce the frequency of the bulletin. We anticipate the next edition of the bulletin will be issued in October.

In the meantime, as you move towards increasing your operations, stay safe.

All the best,


Young Person’s Voice

Elen Jones

Elen Jones

Certainly, the last few months have been challenging to say the least. I have had to learn to adapt and work from home, rather than working as a ‘hands on’ youth work apprentice.

As an individual who suffers from depression, I think that this is the most challenging time that I have ever been through, in terms of trying to manage my mental health. Over the period, I have had to learn how to adapt and work in circumstances that are not ideal, as well as learn how to care for myself and my mental health, and use coping methods.

Going from working full days and weeks, with no one day the same, to working from home was a terrible shock to me. The best part of my job is getting around schools in the area and meeting children and young people, as well as new adults, and socialising; I love the buzz of the job!

As a healthy young person, I am fortunate in so many respects. So this is the mindset I have followed throughout the lockdown period, taking each day as it comes and just going with how I feel that day.

Throughout the lockdown period I have continued to work, holding activities like quizzes and online activities and also completing my NVQ. When working, I make sure I take regular breaks and get plenty of fresh air (luckily for me, I live on a farm).

I have taken the opportunity to enjoy the natural world and the fresh air of Wales, walking within my square mile  and taking upbeat exercise like 'Zumba' (without putting too much strain on myself, of course) – This has been crucial for me to create structure and keep my mind healthy. In addition, socialising online and discussing my feelings with my friends and family.

The two main things that help me cope with my mental health that have been essential throughout the period are blogging, blogging about mental health, and talking about what I’m feeling. So because of this I do it consistently to cope. In addition, my blogs are available to others to read and watch (hoping they also help them)!

Now I am approaching the end of my apprenticeship, and certainly the last year has been incredible and strange at the same time. I have had opportunities to develop skills and learn how to look after my wellbeing. The active support from the Urdd has been absolutely fantastic throughout the year and the apprenticeship has helped me to thrive and develop a range of skills.

Special Focus – Mental Health and Well-being

Each bulletin we focus in on a specific theme. In this issue, the focus is Mental health and well-being


Inspire – Youth Work in Hospital project

Inspire is a youth work project supporting young people aged 11-18 who live in Wrexham and Flintshire and engage in self harming behaviours. Inspire works holistically with each young person to empower and promote their independence.

Inspire interventions are voluntary and consist of up to around 8 sessions which are individualised for each young person around goals they would like to achieve, with sessions taking place wherever they feel comfortable. Support can include helping the young person to develop functional coping strategies, introducing social activities and diversionary activities, support with: housing, employment, education or voluntary work, work on building confidence and self-esteem, sleep hygiene, relationships, managing emotions, graded exposure for example to use public transport or to order a drink in a café and many other areas. Inspire also provides support for young people to engage with mainstream services such as CAMHS as well as providing referrals to other specialist services when needed in order to support their wellbeing.

In addition to this, Inspire run diversionary activities and a closed youth club on a weekly basis for young people who would benefit from this, often assisting in developing social skills following their one to one intervention. The team also complete daily ward visits in Wrexham Maelor Hospital and deliver informal education sessions to schools, and other youth groups on topics around emotional health and wellbeing.

During lockdown, Inspire have continued to support young people on a one to one basis via zoom, telephone calls and texts according to the young person’s choice. Across this period, Inspire have supported over 50 young people, engaging them in nearly 300 sessions over zoom and phone calls. Further support has also been provided via text messages. The support provided has varied greatly dependant on what each young person has wanted to do but some examples include support around dealing with their emotions, psycho education around anxiety, sleep hygiene work, completing safety plans and liaising with a variety of other services to ensure that each young person is safe and has any appropriate support in place. Wellbeing packs have been provided to young people which include a range of activities and distractions to help them if they are feeling low or having thoughts of self-harm.

In addition to this, Inspire have run a weekly virtual youth club over zoom providing vulnerable young people with support and a variety of activities to support them during lockdown. This has included various game show type activities including play your cards right, the generation game, family fortunes, quizzes and lots more.

For further information contact

Resources to support the mental health and well-being of young people

The Keeping safe online area of HWB supports children and young people, parents/carers, practitioners and governors with online safety, cyber security and data protection, providing an extensive range of publically available resources, guidance and links to further sources of support. It contains resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people including:


Within Wales - My Youth Work/What Youth Work Means to Me

Each edition, we’ll shine a light on a different youth work organisation

Project Hope

Project Hope – Connecting Young People

Tell us about your work and the challenges you face

The COVID-19 global pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on individuals and communities. Naomi Lea, 21 , our founder and project co-ordinator realised this would have a profound impact on young people “In this crisis so many young people are finding that loneliness is a real issue - they haven’t been able to socialise with friends face to face or do the things they enjoy.”

She set up Project Hope along with 15 other young to organise online gatherings for people aged 13-25 three times a week. Project Hope aims to tackle youth loneliness by creating a safe space for individuals to come together, meet new people and have some fun. The project therefore addresses the needs of young people to connect with others during this uncertain time and scary time.

Project Hope 2

With schools closed, extracurricular activities cancelled, and community services perhaps impacted by the current pandemic, many young people are likely to find themselves feeling very isolated and alone. They may not have close relationships within their household and as a result be unable to talk to anyone or share any worries, they are experiencing. We know loneliness and isolation can be extremely detrimental to young peoples' mental health and wellbeing. 

In addition, for young people, isolation may impact the development of non-cognitive skills such as self-efficacy, confidence and communication. As many young people are used to being in environments where they are surrounded by others every day, to suddenly be by themselves represents a significant and perhaps difficult contrast. These are all themes the project is aiming to tackle through our social media presence, signposting and weekly

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

The project operates online, via Zoom to facilitate sessions.  The Project has made a huge difference for young people as it has provided a space to connect with peers from across the UK and provided a sense of normality through the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Project Hope 4

Through her initiative and vision to make a difference in these unprecedented times , Naomi pulled together a team of young people wanting to make a difference for young people and has set up a wonderful project and space for young people to connect. The Project ensures young people can still communicate and connect in a way that has some sense of normal despite these challenging times. Naomi and others involved with Project Hope have shown that anyone can make difference and lead the way to highlight the importance of connecting and being there for each other.

Project Hope 3

Project Hope provides three sessions a week which are each an hour and a half in length. These sessions are on Mondays at 7pm, Wednesdays at 4pm and Saturdays at 7pm. Each week we aim to have a wellbeing session, a skill share session and a fun session such as a quiz.


Where to find out more

For more information on the project, please connect via the following:


Around the World

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

Promo x Hafal

ProMo-Cymru and Hafal are the Welsh partners in a 5-year UK-wide Youth Access project to ensure young people with mental health issues are leading the transformation of community-based mental health provision.  In the first year, the aim is to co-produce a “call-to-action”, outlining how best to support young people’s mental health needs. For more information, please email


International Youth Day took place on the 12th The 2020 theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” was a call to arms to promote meaningful engagement and participation of young people at a local, national and global level. More information is available here.

Have you heard?

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


PAPYRUS has launched HOPELINK, a unique digital platform that enables callers to HOPELINE UK to work with an advisor to develop a suicide safety plan available to them online 24/7. This is a confidential service and no personal details are taken. HOPELINE UK (0800 068 41 41) is a free, confidential service for young people across Wales who have suicidal thoughts or for those of any age who are concerned about a young person

Flintshire Council’s Progression Team have been delivering Craft and Wellbeing packs to help young people deal with the anxiety caused by ongoing uncertainty about the future. 


They have also worked hard to keep all Flintshire providers connected through ‘keeping in touch’ meetings. Working with a range of providers including Art and Soul tribe, Soul School, 11 25 CIC and the Crew Alliance as well as many other national providers such as Princes Trust has helped the team support all young people, pre and post 16 through this difficult time. For more information, please contact

Big Ideas Wales

Big Ideas Wales has launched the Summer Family Enterprise Challenge 2020. They want to hear from young people 16 and under, living in Wales, if they’ve had the beginnings of a brilliant idea during lockdown that could one day turn into a business, solve a problem or help the community! They could also win £100 towards their chosen charity. Details on how to participate can be found at:

WG Green logo

Keep Wales Safe is a social media campaign targeting young people between the ages of 16-24, to remind them we all still need to social distance this summer to keep each

other safe. The campaign will be running across Tik Tok, Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube. 

JNC Youth Work Qualifications. The new suite of youth work qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3, first developed in 2015, have been updated and are available from 1 April 2020. As before, those at Certificate level provide JNC Youth Support Worker and JNC Assistant Youth Support Worker recognition to those who complete them.

This briefing paper covers all JNC youth work qualifications with particular focus on the qualifications for Youth Support Workers.

Meic GIF

Be Part of the Youth Work Newsletter

Get in touch via email ( if you want to contribute to the next newsletter. We'll provide a style guide for submitting articles to us, with information on the word count of articles for the various sections. The production of the newsletter will revert to a quarterly basis from October 2020.

Please remember to use #YouthWorkWales #GwaithIeuenctidCymru when tweeting to raise the profile of Youth Work in Wales.

Are you Subscribed to Youth Work Bulletin? Sign up fast here



Quarterly e-newsletter providing the latest news, updates and developments in Youth Work in Wales.

Find out more on the web:

Get in touch:

Follow online: