M.A.D Birmingham continuing to impact young people in Stockfield during lockdown
Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 10:49
The Stockfield youth group was formed by the Stockfield Community Association (SCA) and the Sport Birmingham M.A.D project through a Clarion Futures project, Youth Ambassadors program. The Youth Ambassadors program aims to engage young people from local communities in a social action project. M.A.D had successfully delivered on the program and formed strong relationships with the young people in the area.
At the start of lockdown, a group of ten young people, male, aged between 15 and 22, from Southeast Birmingham, met virtually with M.AD mentors.
What were the group doing before lockdown?
Before lockdown, most of the group where in education (school or college). Some were out of education due to exclusion. The group continued to deliver on their social action project which was to get children aged 8 to 12 to take part in sports/play in the park, delivered by the youth group. The youth group also re-decorated in the pod (a safe space) in the park to engage more young people from the community.
A group of young people also continued to volunteer on the M.A.D half term camp. Watch some of their great work here While volunteering, the young people took part in a resilience course by "DEVELOP YOUR WAY" and Sport Birmingham. The young people delivered sessions based around the outcomes of Self Awareness, Organisation Communication and Determination. The young people also got to volunteer with other young people from across Birmingham where they could share stories and talk about future projects.
The first lockdown was a challenging time for everyone, particularly young people. The young people in the group struggled as their freedom and independence was taken away from them during lockdown which caused stress and wellbeing issues. It was massively important for the M.A.D team to keep in contact with the young people as a group and individuals. Whether for a chat, mentoring, support with education or basic food supplies. This resulted in staff on the project going above and beyond for the young people by being in contact out of hours.
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak the M.A.D team set up a series of virtual youth clubs and round table interactions, whilst adhering to and practicing social distancing measures. The team provided a skeleton program that would enable young people to connect, convene and be supported in a safe digital space. During this time young people were feeling socially excluded or marginalised, they felt their experiences were often hidden or less well known, and their voices were being ignored.
Within the virtual youth clubs, young people had the chance to discuss what they were struggling with during Covid-19. This ranged from home life to lack of interaction with peers. In the youth club young people had support from friends and a Youth Sport Engagement officer to guide them through their journey.
The M.A.D team also used this platform to help young people understand the changing rules during lockdown. Confusing lockdown rules, misinterpretation and media resulted in young people feeling confused about what they could and couldn't do. Our Youth Sport Engagement officers would keep them updated on changes and talk to them about the things they could still do in lockdown to keep them motivated.
With school closures, young people were unsure what was happening with their education i.e would they go to college/school? or do they have to still do their GCSE or A levels and if so when? The Youth Sport Engagement officers would support the young people with their applications for college or jobs, motivation and schoolwork.
When speaking to the young people in the group they told one The Youth Sport Engagement officer how they felt: "stressed" "down", "lost" and "frustrated". This led to the youth group contacting each other less and starting to withdraw from friends even more.
Post lockdown 1:
Since the program funding for the Stockfield youth group ended - the new youth group program relaunched. With the young people receiving continued support from Callam and Daphne.
Due to the outstanding work that the young people have delivered to the community of Stockfield, other projects and companies have expressed their desire to work with them. The young people volunteered on the M.A.D project summer holidays program and supported the Play Care Network in delivering street sessions. The youth group were reimbursed in expenses to show appreciation for their work.
Since then, M.A.D have partnered up with Marshells Coffee Shop on Yardley Road as a safe space for young people to meet and work. The young people can use a laptop and a receive free drink where they can relax and study in peace. The young people "enjoy the place and feel welcome due to the staff being so welcoming and friendly there."
The safe space has already seen young people use the space to apply for jobs and apprenticeships on laptops gifted to them from the M.A.D project.
M.A.D not only provided some of the young people with a Google Chromebook and wifi- devices but also played an active role in helping the young people get an apprenticeship / college and back into education.
Weekly sessions were also set up at the local leisure centre to reconnect the group in a safe social setting. For some young people, M.A.D has brought their friendships back to together.
Since lockdown 2 the young people are in a stronger position. All of the core group are in work, training or education. They have all gained more qualifications though M.A.D using their EduCare licenses. Qualifications such as:
- Child Protection in Sport and Active Leisure
- Personal Safety
- Mental Wellbeing in Sport and Physical Activity
- Preventing Bullying in Sport
They are all back in regular contact with each other and have formed even stronger friendships. Understandably, the young people are still unsure and feel a bit uncertain about their future due to lockdown 2 and Covid-19. However the young people have stated they feel like they are in a better position now in lockdown 2 then they were in lockdown 1 because of the support from M.A.D.