#WeLove - How Includem has engaged and supported young people during the pandemic

It won’t be of any surprise to Staf members to read that the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated almost wholesale change in how we operate at Includem. This has been the case for almost everyone, third sector and beyond.

As an organisation delivering face-to-face support to children, young people and families across Scotland, lockdown presented huge logistical challenges for us. Yet, for every challenge presented, creativity and innovation abounded.

Blog: Scotland’s lost voice


Meg Thomas, our Head of Programme Design & Policy Management, wrote for The Herald on how Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people are at risk of not having their voices heard as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

THE Covid-19 emergency has impacted all of our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Yet, it is undeniable that its negative effects are impacting those who were already suffering and marginalised more than most.

Blog: It's good to talk...but it isn't always easy!


When we start working with a young person we make a promise that we will always listen to them and we will be with them every step of the way on their journey with us. That hasn’t changed, but how we do it has.

Social distancing has forced us into our homes and out of our comfort zone in hundreds of ways. How we have conversations and sustain relationships is a huge part of that. Phone calls and video calls can be awkward for anyone – conversation just isn’t as natural as it is when you’re actually with someone.

So, it’s completely understandable that trying to engage a young person on the phone for longer than three-and-a-half minutes can be a challenge that even the most accomplished chatterbox would struggle with. And it’s not about keeping young people on the phone for the sake of it; we really want to have meaningful, supportive conversations with them – that’s why we’re here.

However, if there’s one thing that this bizarre lockdown situation has taught me, it’s how to be creative. As I trawled through the internet looking for ideas on how to make a phone call fun and engaging, I came across some very simple – but very effective – games to play.

Blog: “What defines us is how well we rise after falling.”

“Your life will get better, maybe not today or tomorrow, or next week but it will get better eventually.”


I have always liked quotes, sayings and how wonderful wordsmiths can capture and articulate what people are feeling so adeptly. Me, I struggle with that. I am a passionate speaker; if you meet me you can see that I believe in what I am saying and sometimes I get carried away with that!

So, I am sat at home writing this reflection. I am here with my wife and not my children, not just because they have their own homes, but because my wife and I fall into the high risk category for Covid-19. Who would ever have thought two boring mid-50 year olds would ever be at risk by seeing their own children? This is something I am struggling with and has led me to reflect on the challenge of what is happening, especially in regards to my fundamental beliefs: