Today Includem has published our Staying Connected report which looks at the digital inclusion of young people and families we support.
We were already living in an increasingly digital world, but the Covid-19 emergency has accelerated the introduction and use of digital technologies at an unprecedented rate. With lockdown and social distancing measures in place, many services and organisations, such as Includem, are trying to continue to deliver services and support young people and families remotely via predominantly digital tools.
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.
Includem has donated £500 each to 10 voluntary and charitable groups around the country to help see them through the Covid-19 emergency, so they can continue to deliver essential services to young people and families in need.
The impact of coronavirus on young people and families in Scotland will be immeasurable. At this time more than any, we value the holistic support we can provide to young people and families through partner organisations within the communities where we work. As we move beyond the immediate crisis, our communities will need support to pick up the pieces - it is essential that local community resources will still be running.
That’s why we asked our 10 service delivery teams from across Scotland to nominate a local organisation to receive a £500 donation from Includem reserves.
“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:
The health and wellbeing of the young people and families we support, and of our staff, is of the utmost importance to us.
Includem is committed to ensuring, as far as possible, that we continue to deliver support to young people, families and our colleagues, and keep working positively throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Continuing to provide this support, where possible and safe, is our first priority.
Given the current situation, we are taking a number of reasonable and responsible steps to protect our colleagues and the young people we engage with.