Drogheda Southside Community Youth Project members Hannah Newman, Monica Murphy (youth worker), Caoimhe Brady, Chloe Kelly, Alisha Ajisafe, Jodie Dawson enjoy an online group chat.
It may seem strange to hear young people say they are missing going to school, but that is what Monica Murphy, a senior youth worker with Drogheda’s Southside Community Youth Project, is hearing from the young people on the project.
For many young people the project, which is based at Rowan Heights and part of the Youth Work Ireland Louth organisation, is a very important place, somewhere they can feel safe, receive help and advice and also enjoy the company of friends in a relaxed and safe setting.
Just like everyone else in the community though, the Youth Projects have had to adapt their way of working thanks to the all-pervasive Coronavirus but the underlying reasons for their existence are always there, virus or no virus.
So group activities of any kind have had to be knocked on the head as have one to one counselling and all other services.
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But, while their door may be shut, the projects are very much open for business and they continue to offer supports to young people using on line technology and social media.
Needless to say the young people have taken to this development like ducks to water and, as Monica readily admits, sometimes they are a step or two ahead of the youth workers when it comes to getting to grips with the technology.
Monica told Drogheda Life that Youth Work Ireland Louth are striving to provide constant and consistent support for their young people in these uncertain times. “… online Digital Youth work at its best” she said.
“Our priority is and always has been the safety of our young people, volunteers and staff and all who use our youth clubs and projects. Maintaining and encouraging social distancing is paramount at this time.
“Our Community Based projects Southside CYP, Boyne GYDP, Craobh Rua, Toberona ,CORE- Sign posting & engagement, Irish Youth Music Awards TEAM Louth, Youth Network for Peace & AMPLIFY projects continue to provide on-going support with programmes online using the Digital Youth work model.
She says that the young people take great comfort from the fact that they can join in group chats with friends and youth workers on line to share news, take part in daily challenges and also receive advice and encouragement.
“This is a very stressful time for all our young people and not having their projects physically open is really tough for them” Monica said.
“However thankfully with Digital Youth Work the young people have said they have ‘something to do’ and they can keep in contact with their leaders and friends and they ‘don’t feel alone’.
“All of which, in light of the present situation for some who are finding social distancing difficult, is key to helping them to maintain good mental health and to encourage them to think positive about the future.”
Anyone who would like to avail of services for young people should contact the Youth Work Ireland Louth main office on 042 933 8323.
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