Hope for the Young’s Response to COVID-19

Our Concerns for our beneficiaries

Given the growing impact of Coronavirus and our concern that our beneficiaries will be one of the groups most impacted, we want to let you know the precautions we are taking to help minimise unnecessary risks to the young people we work with, ourselves, and the wider community.

We are particularly worried about the physical, psychological, and social well-being of those without existing support networks in the UK such as unaccompanied children, and those with mental health needs. From what we have seen, almost all group activities for young refugees and asylum-seekers have stopped operating across London for the foreseeable future, and schools and colleges have now closed.

Whilst we know that our friends and colleagues are responding in incredible ways, we know that government guidance to reduce services and increase social distancing is counter to everything we strive to do at Hope for the Young, which is to reduce isolation and increase access to services for those trying to rebuild their lives in the UK.

Hope for the Young’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Due to the unprecedented crisis of the coronavirus outbreak, we have launched a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which will provide small grants of up to £250. This will be for young people up to the age of 30, who are in the asylum process, and need emergency support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Due to our experience allocating grants, we have developed a simple application and assessment process, that can quickly distribute emergency supplies such as food vouchers, phone credit, and tailored communication packages to the most vulnerable young people seeking asylum in the UK.

If you know of a young person who needs urgent financial assistance due to the coronavirus, you can refer them for support here.

If you are able to contribute to HftY’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund so that we can distribute more emergency supplies to the most vulnerable young people across the UK, please consider DONATING to our emergency appeal here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HftYEmergencyReliefFund

What actions are we taking to minimise risks?

The Grants and Advocacy Programme

At this moment in time, our new Grants and Advocacy Programme will continue to allocate grants from 1st April as planned and we will begin to offer virtual one-to-one support to successful applicants. If there are any changes to this due to the impact on colleges or universities, we will provide updates accordingly.

The Mentoring Project

The Mentoring Project at Hope for the Young is postponing face-to-face mentoring sessions but will start offering a “Virtual Mentoring” service through video conference calls and over the phone. We have started providing additional guidance to our mentors on supporting their mentees remotely with the aim of maintaining a level of stability to our service that will help our mentees continue making progress towards their targets and personal goals.

Unfortunately we will not be taking any new referrals at this time as this requires face-to-face meetings. However, we will monitor the situation closely over the next few months and may look at ways in which we can adjust our assessment and matching processes to enable us to reach those in need.

Workshops for mentors will be postponed until further notice however we are in regular contact through emails, Whatsapp groups and online platforms where we frequently upload new guidance and shared resources.

We need your help

Sadly, many of the young people we support do not have access to laptops or Wi-Fi to study remotely or maintain meaningful interactions with their mentors. Colleges, libraries and cafes, where they used to be able to access online learning and educational resources, have all closed.

During lockdown, we believe laptops and Wi-Fi are essential items for young people to continue their education, maintain regular interactions with others, and engage in activities that will benefit their mental health and well-being. We are therefore appealing for laptops, new and old!

Do you have an old laptop that you’d be willing to donate to a young person so they can remain in contact with their mentor, reduce their isolation, and access the educational opportunities they need? If so, please email matt@hopefortheyoung.org.uk. If not, you can also DONATE to our emergency appeal here.

Thank you for your support

This is a fast-moving situation in which we are all trying to respond in the best ways we can. Adapting our service is one of the ways in which we can respond positively to this crisis and help those most in need to continue reaching their full potential, whilst waiting for the situation to settle. We want to say thank you to our amazing mentors, staff, and core volunteers for their flexibility and support during this time and a big thank you to our supporters and donors who have given us the reassurance we’ve needed that they are here for us too.

If you are concerned about Coronavirus please follow the links below for more information:

Here is guidance from NHS England – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Here’s a link to the government response to COVID-19 – https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Matt Blacker

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