Young People's Experiences of Living through the COVID-19 Pandemic
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
LINX (Lancashire's Children in Care Council) provided a report to the Board that was circulated with the agenda of the experiences of 22 children in care aged between 12 and 18 years which was captured during two weeks in lockdown.
The report gave examples of what those young people would be doing usually if not in lockdown, how they were coping with isolation, what are the positives to come out lockdown and what the key themes were. Feedback can be found in the presentation.
Mia Leyland gave an update on the Children in Care Council and Care Leavers Forum during lockdown where they had continued to deliver the groups albeit virtually, and have also increased the frequency too from monthly to fortnightly.
Care Leavers are an isolated group anyway and Barnardo's wanted to ensure there was an extra layer of support for them. Membership has also increased during lockdown with new young people attending which has been good. Attendance at the Care Leavers group meetings have also increased as well which is positive and by making them virtual meetings, has removed some of the barriers of physically attending the meetings and travel issues which before would prevent young people from attending. Therefore going forward this is something that will be taken forward in the future offering hybrid meetings (some in the building and other members virtual). For the Children in Care meetings, the younger people find digital meetings more of a challenge, especially if they are new members and prefer the face to face meetings and the social contact they get from this meeting. The groups have changed slightly with more of a social aspect to them during lockdown, with quizzes, cook and eat sessions, art sessions (supplies sent out and vouchers also so they can get what is needed to participate). Barnardo's have supplied an emergency fund during COVID-19 which has enabled vouchers to be given to young people who have been struggling buying food, paying bills etc.
Young people are still taking part in consultations for example with the Department for Education so their voices are still being heard, CC Brown and Sharon Hubber joined a Care Leavers Forum meeting where young people were able to ask what was happening with social care and support. Barnardo's have distributed care packages which includes mental health information, mindfulness support and been a point of contact for young people during the pandemic.
Young people commented that they have found online meetings better than not having any meetings at all due to the social distancing aspect and that the meetings have been adapted to make them fun as well as provide them with information that they need. Young people found it less isolating and enjoyed seeing different faces and helped them to stay positive and connected.
It was noted that Children's Services are now looking at different ways of meeting up with young people ie meeting in parks, going for a walk, meeting for a coffee and making social bubbles and Barnardo's were encouraged to look at this also within their different groups. It was confirmed that discussions are also happening with the Health and Safety Team at Barnardo's around this on guidance.
One of the young people has been working on a recipe book for young people and care leavers which includes vegan and vegetarian meals, so caters for everyone and will be available digitally.
Action: Barnardo's to send a copy of the recipe book to Sam Gorton who will share with Roxanne McAllister who will promote it within Children's Services.
Date of decision: 22/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 22/07/2020 - Corporate Parenting Board