Youth group providing relief to children during isolation

The Swan Youth Project in Downham Market has continued to offer support to children in the area during the second lockdown. 

The Swan Youth Project in Downham Market has continued to offer support to children in the area during the second lockdown. - Credit: The Swan Youth Project

A Norfolk youth group is continuing to offer vital mental health support to children in the community despite lockdown challenges.

The Swan Youth project in Downham Market offers advice, guidance and social activities for young people aged eight to 18 in the town and the surrounding areas.

The organisation has said it has had to target the support it provides during the second lockdown, with guidelines in place to help young people with their health and wellbeing and attendance on an invitation only basis.

This is delivered in a number of ways, including arts and crafts activities, social sessions for girls or boys groups and one-on-one support for mild or emerging mental health concerns, which manager Anna Foster said is vital to many of its young people.

She added: "Our centre is fully Covid-19 risk assessed and we are lucky that we have good space to keep the two metre distance in place during all sessions.


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"We are offering one-on-one drop in sessions for any young person not currently in a group, but who feels that they need support."

In the first three weeks of November, the group had  73 attendances in small groups, 12 attendances for one-on-one mental health work, 20 hygiene bank visits and 27 parent support contacts.

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Parents have since praised the local charity for their continued support and children have thanked them for providing a space for them to socialise to combat feelings of isolation.

One said: "Although this year has been tough and stressful, the Swan Centre has remained one of the places that I feel like I can be myself without judgement.

""It provides an easy going and relaxed place to go if you want a chat or just to hang out with friends.

"It is a good way to get out of the house and talk to people other than parents."

The centre says, with Norfolk due to enter Tier 2 at the end of lockdown on December 2, it will await guidance from the National Youth Agency but said it will "remain open and accessible" for all its young people and parents.

For young people wanting to be included in the group or people looking for support or to be signposted to appropriate services, contact the centre on anna@swanyouthproject.org for help.

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