At the end of March 2020, when we closed our doors for in person services, we did not anticipate that four months later they would still be closed. However, difficult times can bring new opportunities and our staff team at The Dreadnought Centre threw their all into supporting the young people we work with in brand new ways.
We firstly considered transitioning Dreadnought’s Aspires Project, to running online groups. After an initial positive survey response from Parents, we pushed forward with these plans. This was supported by a grant from The Cornwall Community Foundation which enabled us to equip our workers with the software and equipment they needed to carry out this new way of working. Our staff team also went through hours and hours of training to feel ready and confident to work solely online.
The response from the young people in our Aspires project has been overwhelmingly positive. We have run over 165 hours of online group sessions so far during the pandemic with 78% of young people in the project engaging with the online sessions. Here are some of their responses (names changed for privacy).
“Aaron has benefitted greatly from the weekly online meet-up. It provides important interaction with other young people. During COVID we have tried to put in routine for Aaron - the meet up's are an important part of this - he thrives with regularity.
As someone new to Aspires this has also given him the confidence to sign up for the summer activities.”
“David is a very self conscious boy, he really doesn't like to see or hear himself on screen, but with the support of Juliet and Kerry, he has taken part in nearly all the zoom meetings and seems to have gained greater confidence in himself with the 1-2-1 meetings prior to group. David has been willing to partake in most group activities, as long as he knows he has support close by at home, but if he went quiet or went out of view, a prompt phone call from Juliet has resolved the vast majority of David's worries or concerns and he's completed the group sessions on most occasions.
Having only met up twice prior to lockdown, zoom has provided some consistency with Aspires for David and also given him a platform to show off his Lego builds, and his cat.
When I asked David for his opinion he answered with "not sure" but he had a smile on his face as his standard response to that type of question is always "not sure"
Having received such a positive response from the group sessions we continued to expand our online services to include 1:1 support for young people who needed it, across the whole of the County. We have continued to increase this service and have delivered over 200 hours of 1:1 support since late April. This is all thanks to the huge caring hearts and effort from our staff team who are engaging with and supporting, the young people.
As we look ahead with the gradual easing of lockdown measures across the County we are conscious of keeping young people and staff, healthy and safe. Over the summer we are going to begin reintroducing in person services, starting with (scaled down) summer activities. We have put appropriate measures in place to run this as safely as we possibly can. Whilst we begin this transition, we will be continuing to provide online sessions for all young people where possible.
If you would like to make a referral to any of our services please click the button below to download and complete your referral. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.