New £100k project aims to help young people hit by pandemic

Job propsects: Can be harmed back a lack of routine when young

The project could help young people seeking jobs, education opportunities, or who feel socially isolated in rural areas - Credit: Getty Images

Plans are being drawn up for a £100,000 project to help support young people in rural east Suffolk who have been hit hard by the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research shows that youngsters are suffering mental health wellbeing issues, social isolation, and need support with education, finding jobs and taking up activities.

East Suffolk Council has put together a briefing paper which shows how an investment in youth work could get to grips with a number of issues and prevent longer term problems setting in.

The council would spend £100k on a two-year project working with its community partnerships to identify a range of projects to meet the specific needs of youngsters in a particular area.

The project will be targeted initially at young people in Bungay and Wainford, Deben, Halesworth and Blything, Kelsale and Yoxford, Melton, Orwell and Villages, Rendlesham and Orford, Southwold,  Wickham Market, Wrentham, Wangford and Westleton.

Letitia Smith, East Suffolk's cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism

Letitia Smith, East Suffolk's cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism - Credit: East Suffolk Council

In a report to cabinet on November 2, Letitia Smith, cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: "Seven of the eight East Suffolk Community Partnerships have identified some aspect of support for young people as one of their priorities.

"The specific needs identified include education, opportunities, aspiration, services, facilities, activities, physical activity and mental well-being.

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"It is clear from studies on the impact of Covid-19 that young people have experienced a range of negative impacts and that there are concerns about the longer-term manifestations of these impacts.

"The council's priority around ‘taking positive action on what matters most’ means that we use data to identify specific issues, in this case the needs of young people in the district post-Covid, and we want to try to tackle gaps in provision and support for young people by enabling action to be led by local communities."

What happens in each community model will be unique depending on the needs.

She said: "The needs and structure might be quite different in each area - in one cluster of villages it might be setting up a carpool to get young people to provision in the local town, in another it might be taster activity sessions, another it might be a youth night at the local pub and another it might be more traditional youth work sessions.

"In some communities the needs might be more physical eg a youth shelter, skate facility and/or youth café.  The overall aim is to build capacity within local communities to develop youth provision that meets the needs of local young people."