Lockdown has affected each of us in different ways but for young people the changes in their day to day lives have been monumental. The closure of schools and colleges combined with the loss of opportunities to meet friends and family has left many young people extremely isolated and in need of support. According to recent research 69% of young people across the country have reported that they feel that their lives are on hold and that their anxiety levels have increased as a result of not being able to socialise or speak to friends as much as they normally would.
For many young people who attend Create our sessions and workshops provide an opportunity to meet friends, make new friends and learn how to express themselves without needing to use words. Over a quarter of young people in the same survey said that they don’t feel they have anyone they can turn to currently to support them with their anxiety as everyone is struggling at the moment. The loss of the support of our youth development team and volunteers has the potential to cause large setbacks for the young people who we support, particularly those who do not have resources in place at home to manage the new normal.
With support from Corra Foundation, Foundation Scotland, Yorkshire Building Society and Linstone Housing Association, we have been able to develop a ‘Boredom Box’ designed around the 5 ways to wellbeing. These boxes have allowed us to be there for young people across Renfrewshire at this uncertain time.
Working with partners we have to date delivered over 1300 of these boxes which each contain art and craft materials and games, an information booklet with a 30 Day Self Care Challenge, recipes, Mindfulness colouring pages plus directions to join Create’s current online groups & activities that take place 4 days a week.
Alan Clark, Project Manager at Create Paisley, said: ‘We are thankful to our funders for supporting the costs of our response work during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown period. This vital work allowed us to support young people who faced increased isolation and reduced access to vital services. Alongside other emergency funding and donations, this allowed us to support over 1300 young people through Boredom Boxes, offer internet access to young people facing digital isolation and support a group of young people through online programmes and activities. We worked with over 35 partners including schools, social work, housing associations and other frontline charities to identify young people who were most in need.’
Even at this early stage it is incredible to see the impact that the Boredom Boxes are having on the young people who receive them from the immediate pleasure of receiving this unexpected gift to the deeper understanding that they are not alone or forgotten. The boredom box also provides ample opportunity for our youth development team and partners to have a short moment of socially distant connection with the young people while they deliver the box and offer ongoing support through projects such as our text helpline or through our online programme. One partner commented:
‘The Boredom Boxes have gone down a storm with our supported children. They are loving all the different activities, and have been really excited to show us what they have been doing with some of the materials in the box. At a time when many of the children have been unable to meet their friends and extended families, it has been fantastic for them to receive this to give them some fun things to make and do. This has meant the world to them.’
If you would like to help support projects like this or would like to know more about our work please get in touch with Steve McManus, Fundraising and Marketing Manager.