"How the covid-19 crisis has affected us," the Aylesbury Youth Concern charity

In a series of columns during the covid-19 crisis we are asking Aylesbury people and organisations who have been uniquely affected by the situation to tell us their story.
Aylesbury Youth ConcernAylesbury Youth Concern
Aylesbury Youth Concern

Today we hear from Hannah Asquith, CEO of Aylesbury Youth Concern, a charity which helps young people in need in this area. Hannah describes how the charity has been forced to adapt to still provide services during the crisis, and tells us how we can help to support their continuing good work.

Youth Concern is committed to improving outcomes for disadvantaged, vulnerable and at risk young people living in Aylesbury Vale, Bucks. Our vision is that every vulnerable young person has the resources they need to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

For 40 years we have run a drop-in centre, welcoming 500+ young people annually. Just 6 days after becoming Youth Concern’s new chief executive, I took the decision to close the drop-in. Not quite the start I’d imagined … but of course these are unprecedented times and the health of our young people, our small staff team and our volunteers was uppermost in my mind.

24 hours after temporarily closing the drop-in centre, we launched a triage service, enabling us to continue providing 1:1 appointments virtually. To give just two examples of how we continue to help vulnerable young people: we’ve used Zoom to help a young refugee communicate with the Home Office, and we’re running 3 hour virtual music studio sessions every Friday afternoon. We continue to place young people in emergency accommodation, for as long as the accommodation is available. We are also collaborating with various local and county-wide initiatives to ensure joined-up thinking when it comes to food parcels and food banks.

And yet this is creating an opportunity for us to think about how we could strengthen the service we offer.

We are carrying out a research project to understand how other charities support homeless or at risk of homeless young people. We’ll also be asking our young people’s opinions and advice.

We are working on some exciting initiatives too including podcasts and live streaming.

We are really seeing this as an opportunity to enhance the service we offer young people. It’s our hope some of these new ideas will continue to run post resuming normal delivery!

No one knows how long this will go on and what impact it will have on future funding. But our community has been generous with time and money over the years, and we hope they will again. If anyone can afford to give – and any amount would be most gratefully received – please do so here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1012487&stop_mobi=yesThank you for helping us to help vulnerable young people when they need us most.