Technology helping young people during lockdown

Erin, (young girl) sat in front of her laptop

Posted on: 26 June 2020

Erin, 15, was studying for her GCSEs when lockdown started. She had a part-time job and was volunteering at her local youth centre.

As schools restricted opening and youth centres closed, Erin was furloughed and she felt lonely and worried about her future.

She’s been helping Space*, which runs Devon County Council’s youth services, to develop their online support for young people during lockdown.

“Not having the usual face-to-face support is scary,” she said. “And with increases in domestic violence, drug and alcohol consumption, and loss of income, many young people are at risk.”

As well as provide online support, Space* is helping young people who don’t have technology at home to stay in touch online with school, and to access support.

They’ve raised £13,000 so far, including £10,000 from Devon County Council.

Young people previously without the technology can now do their online schoolwork, chat to friends and their youth workers.

The project is welcomed by young people and professionals.

One support worker requested laptops for a family. The teenagers in the house had good school attendance, but with no computer at home they couldn’t do their home learning during lockdown. They have a difficult homelife at times, living and managing alcohol use within the family, so the ability to escape to schoolwork is an advantage.

After receiving a laptop, one said: “I’m now able to log into my school sites and start doing my homework. I’d fallen behind as I didn’t have a laptop. This is really going to help me. Thank you.”

Chris, 14, needed a headphone adaptor to use his phone online. He said: “It’s really helpful with keeping in touch with my friends and with Room (the virtual youth centre).”

Erin also struggled to access Space*’s digital service because her WIFI wasn’t strong and laptop was old and faulty.

Youth worker Matt socially distanced-delivered a chromebook and signal booster to Erin’s home.

“It’s helped me connect with family, friends and the youth workers,” said Erin.

“I’d felt isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. I’ve been using it to finish schoolwork, apply for part-time jobs and plan my future. It’s helped me get the support I need from Space*.”

If you could benefit from this project, or would like to donate to it, contact Space* at info@spacepsm.org or 01392 662112.

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