Rhondda Cynon Taf’s (RCT) Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) is committed to supporting young people aged 11 to 25 to improve their resilience to deal with current and future challenges, supporting their well-being and their positive engagement in and contribution to the communities in which they live.
The new ‘Virtual’ delivery model has been swiftly developed and rolled out which in addition to instant messaging services, virtual youth clubs on zoom and instagram Q&Q sessions etc, includes WICID.TV, for young people not engaged in education, employment or training, which features instructional videos on a range of topics, such as applying for a job, STAR techniques, virtual job interviews and more videos are being added on a weekly basis. The Employment, Education & Training (EET) section also includes links to apprenticeships on offer in RCT, Career Wales support, college virtual open days etc. In partnership the Council were also able to offer the first virtual work experience week in RCT, which encouraged many post 16 young people to go on-line to source careers advice, etc.
Residents and businesses across Carmarthenshire are showing remarkable community spirit by helping and supporting those in need in their communities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A number of voluntary groups have been set up to help wherever they can, offering both practical and emotional support. Connect Carmarthenshire has been created to bring communities and individuals together – a place to offer or request help to / from neighbours and the wider community. This platform is available to anyone who lives in Carmarthenshire. Users to the website can sign up to SirGâredig – Sharing Carmarthenshire’s Kindness, a regional campaign to encourage more people to be kind to each other. The Council’s website has lots of helpful information on the various support groups that have been set up and how to volunteer. Town and community councils are also co-ordinating volunteers in their areas and working closely with local groups.
Engage to Change (E2C) is Monmouthshire’s Youth Council, responded to the Covid-19 situation quickly by scheduling on-line weekly meetings. The aim of these sessions is to ensure that the voice of young people in Monmouthshire’s needs continue to be heard and supported.
Initially, E2C discussed the experiences, issues and emotions that they and their peers were having in the early stages of lockdown and invited Dr Sarah Brown (Clinical Psychologist, Gwent Community Psychology, Aneurin Bevan Health Board) on how young people could develop resilience. As result, young people helped generate content for the Youth Service’s daily stories on Facebook and Instagram, including on the service’s ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’. Young people were involved in trialling social media platforms that were used by the Youth Services’ digital work offer for on-line youth and lunchtime clubs and drop-in sessions.
E2C has maintained contact with the South East Wales Regional Forum and currently progressing the Ucan project as part of the Welsh Government’s Additional learning Needs Transformation Fund. Working regionally has enabled E2C share experiences with young people from other geographical areas, developing relationships and support networks, as well as confidence and self-esteem.
Recently E2C have started to host weekly Q&A sessions with decision-makers to discuss issues identified by young people, such as mental health, transport, education and Monmouthshire’s priorities identified in the British Council Make your Mark consultation.
As part Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’ s response to supporting the most vulnerable during the pandemic, virtual locality response teams mapped local assets and support, such as community groups, businesses etc. in a locality to enable the community to support itself. The Council also collected data to identify those who may have needed more support, such as those on the shielding lists. Councillors were a vital contributor to the collection of this data given their local knowledge of residents in their ward. The Council were able to match volunteers to individuals to provide the support they needed. It has also helped them better understand resident’s life experience, some of whom have fed back on how they welcomed the interaction in this way. The Council are working on remodelling the next phase of the service linked to existing delivery such supporting people and community connectors.
Pembrokeshire Youth Homelessness Team have adapted their practices to engage, educate, inform and support both young people and professional colleagues. These initiatives include: Tenancy Skills & Homelessness Awareness Courses delivered through a blended learning programme; Interactive sessions with access to youth workers, as well as a repository of resources and a range of challenges, quizzes, work tasks and videos, will be hosted via a Virtual Learning Environment Platform (VLE). Individuals work will be set and monitored through this platform, with opportunities to access our physical learning environment in the Independent Living Centre (ILC) on a controlled appointment only basis. These sessions will be planned to coincide with key learning milestones achieved in the VLE. Those lacking the ICT skills to complete via this platform will be offered extra face to face sessions. Those without an appropriate device will be loaned one.
The Pembrokeshire Community Hub is a one-stop shop for any support required during the current pandemic, from help with shopping to a friendly telephone call. It is a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS), Hywel Dda University Health Board and Delta Wellbeing. Residents who would like to volunteer are signposted to a web based interactive directory of community support organisations that are registered with PAVS, or they can volunteer directly through Volunteering Wales. 94 Community Support Groups have registered with PAVS, and over 600 volunteers have registered with Volunteering Wales.
Over 500 people registered as volunteers in Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s Safe and Well Service to help people receive food, collect medication and help with other daily tasks. The Council is working with Neath Port Talbot County Voluntary Service to develop an on-line induction and training programme to volunteers. Hundreds of the council’s staff have also joined this enormous volunteer effort to support vulnerable and at risk residents and elected members have proactively engaged with their local residents to ensure that response from agencies is timely and appropriate.
Torfaen Council launched the Torfaen Community Support Mobile App on the 27th April 2020 to help to quickly and easily register volunteers who want to offer their time, and to help Torfaen’s most vulnerable residents register for support and enable them to be matched with the most appropriate provision. Residents who sign up to the App will be able to make requests for: collection of medication; shopping for food and other essentials, befriending services etc. The App has been developed by Syncsort one of the council’s technology partners. The app will aid the council’s newly established Community Support Hub to operate more efficiently and will be particularly helpful as resident’s needs grow and volunteer skills and availability changes over time. The council, with the help of partners, including Bron Afon and Torfaen Leisure Trust , and alongside community groups and volunteers is coordinating and providing direct support. A web version of the app is also available via the Covid-19 page on the council’s website for those who do not have access to mobile devices. If residents have no access to the web they can call 01495 762200 for assistance. Torfaen Council also has ambitions to use the app long term to support services post Covid19 to coordinate Volunteers.
Monmouthshire County Council’s Community Support Team ‘assess the need’ and in partnership with volunteers offer a range of support services, such as: collection and delivery of shopping and medicines, provision of food parcels and ready meals to those in need; befriending services etc.
A digital platform https://ourmonmouthshire.org/ has been developed to complement existing activity which will include time banking functionality. There are 1000+ volunteers active in the county. Area Development Teams have built a picture of the volunteer requirements for each of the 60+ local community action groups being supported by the council and key partners to match need and demand of volunteers.
Cardiff Council’s Together for Cardiff scheme was set up at the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. More than 1,200 are now registered with the scheme that has acted as a brokering service, matching people who want to help with volunteering opportunities across the city. Volunteer Cardiff developed in partnership with third sector organisations, offers a on-line search facility of local organisations and businesses that will deliver to people’s doorstep and where residents can register to volunteer. Work is ongoing to establish a network of anchor organisations i.e. trusted and established organisations to support the many new organisations being created as a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Working with Council staff, volunteers play an important role in preparing and delivering emergency food and essentials parcels for people experiencing difficulties getting supplies during the outbreak because they are self-isolating or because of the financial impact of the crisis. The Council’s Food Team has just under 1,200 volunteers and relies on between 10-15 volunteers per day to pick, pack and deliver food.
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