As President of Young Bristol I am compelled to write to you at this time, as we head towards the end of this extraordinary year, to share the remarkable work that Young Bristol is carrying out for the vulnerable children in our local communities.
Whilst young people have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19, the crisis is having a profound effect on their wellbeing. The harmful effects of this pandemic are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations.
Issues such as tightening household finances, hunger, domestic abuse and falling behind at school are compounded by the closure of places offering support (school and youth clubs), loss of interaction with other young people and respite provided by extended family members.
For some children, the impact will continue to be significant in the years ahead.
As a charity, Young Bristol has also been significantly affected by Covid 19 and as we now come through a second lockdown, children and young people in Bristol need your support more than ever before.
Young Bristol rely on our local supporters and face to face community fundraising events to provide much needed and relied upon income so that we can keep doing our important work.
We would usually be sharing our stories of success and the impact we are having at local events which is where we normally meet new supporters and partner organisations and develop innovative ways of working together.
….but this year, of course, none of this has been possible.
Even though we have had to pause all our face-to-face delivery for a large part of the year, we have adapted by moving to other ways of delivering our services remotely to children and young people who need us more than ever:
1/ Virtual Youth Club – run online 4 evenings/week.
“I’m happier being allowed to speak to people and see my friends online instead of not at all.” –Young Person
The project has proven to be vital to young people, tackling feelings of isolation, loneliness, frustration and anxiety. It gives young people the chance to talk to trusted, professional youth workers, see friends and take part in creative, physical and educational activities. 38 virtual sessions were delivered during the first lockdown and virtual youth club sessions are continuing through this current lockdown period and beyond.
2/-‘Boredom Buster’ Videos.
These videos focus on positive activities that children and young people can try at home and include sports, creative, music and wellbeing activities. We have shared 69 creative, active + informative videos with two videos shared through social media every day. These videos had 19,223 views.
3/ Delivery of Sports, Creative and Internet Access Packs to young people and families in need.
“The children were really missing coming to Youth Club but were buzzing about the activities they could now do using the packs!” -Parent
During the first lockdown, our youth club staff identified those families who were struggling to provide vital resources and equipment to keep young people busy and active at home. A variety of activity packs were delivered safely to 50 families.
Between July and October, Young Bristol began a phased return to face to face activities with young people ensuring these were ‘Covid- safe.’ We were proud to achieve 2,315 contacts with children and young people during this challenging time through our daytime holiday clubs, outdoor activity sessions, outdoor employment programme and youth club sessions. Our Youth Club On Wheels was also able to expand into two new community areas.
I am writing to ask whether you would be able to help support Young Bristol in our work during this very difficult time?
Demand for our youth clubs and other services continues to grow. We want to improve facilities in our 8 community youth clubs to ensure we can offer a flexible service that meets the needs of local communities, whatever the next 6-12 months look like. We also want to ensure we have sufficient resources to support children and young people at a time when they need us the most, providing well equipped, safe places and positive, engaging youth activities.
Your support today will mean that more children and young people have the opportunity to access our services, enjoy creative, sports and educational activities with their friends and gain advice and support from caring and trusted youth workers.
Please give what you can to help us meet the costs of our work and continue to be there for children and young people now and in the future. By supporting Young Bristol, you can be assured that your money will be put to work immediately within Bristol. Gifts of any size will make a huge difference to the lives of children in Bristol. Thank you for taking the time and caring enough to donate. We are hugely grateful for your support.
Jonathan Webb MB ChB FRCS (Orth)
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Our vital work relies on your kind donations, big or small. With your help we can continue to improve the lives of young people across Bristol and beyond.