My Bron Afon

Supporting young women in lockdown

Suzy talks about Go Girls and how they have been supporting young women during lockdown

“Go Girls, is a Social Action group for young women 14-25, in partnership with Pobl Housing. Working cross-county with young people from Torfaen, Newport, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire, our aim is to raise young people’s self-esteem, confidence and resilience to enable them to be the best they can be. Last year we was successful at securing funding from Plan International UK, which has allowed us to employ a full time Go Girls worker, who is based in the Pobl offices.

“I’m scared”

“It’s been through our partnership with Plan International UK, that we have been able to have access to free resources, workshops and take our Go Girls Project to another level, with them now being a part of a Wales Wide project – ‘Champions of Wales’. This is the first time that Plan International UK have funded work within Wales and through their ‘State of Rights 2020’ report the top 10 worst places to be a girl in Wales was highlighted, unfortunately, Torfaen, has been named the 6th worth place to be a Girl in the whole of Wales.

“With the current situation of Covid-19 we wanted to make sure that our Go Girls still had access to session, support from staff and support from each other. This is a difficult time for all of us, but the impact it is having on Young People is staggering. Since shut down of schools Childline & NSPCC have seen a dramatic rise in the number of online counselling sessions they are offering children and young people, hitting over 900 sessions.

“Covid has meant that I have had a big dip in my routine and this has caused me to feel stressed and anxious.”

“With this in mind, we believed it was crucial to keep contact with our young people accessing both our Go Girls and our Brothers projects, to continue engaging, encouraging and educating them, but to also spread positivity, coping strategies, and provide the young people with a familiar support network.

“Throughout lockdown, and having online go girls session we have seen waves in the young people’s mental health and as the weeks role on, more and more of the young people accessing this project are struggling.

“And the one thing that has come through from all the Young people we have been working with is,

“There has been a massive dip in my mental health.”

“Many of the young people who are part of the Go Girls are spending their days, in their bedrooms, feeling isolated and not utilising their opportunity to go outside and be active. The GoGirls are helping to promote the five ways to wellbeing which are:

  1. Connect
  2. Be Active
  3. Take Notice
  4. Learn
  5. Give

“It is proven that by taking part in these five ways, you will improve your wellbeing.

“I’m not socializing as much as I was”

“To actively get the Go Girls involved during lockdown, we have been setting online challenges for the group to take part in, this has included, A Photography challenge, Go Girls Master Chief, Go Girls Great British Bake Off, Portrait Challenge and Quizzes hosted by the girls themselves.

“I feel like I’m not able to prove myself with my GCSE’S, I was working really hard too.”

“Lockdown is having a big impact on the families we are working with within the families first team too. Children and young people have had to cope with not only their change in routines such as home schooling, the way we socialise, daily activates but also the support they have been receiving. Our families first team, throughout lockdown have continued to provide a service to families, offering support, but in a new and more creative way.

“Prior to lockdown, I was working with families providing 1-2-1 support to children and young people around emotions, behaviour, confidence and giving children and young people a time and space to talk about what really matter to them. It has been crucial that these Children and young people still feel supported, especially during these difficult times.

“One family I have been working with, have been receiving weekly zoom meetings, where their children have the opportunities to speak to their support worker about their worries, concerns, home-schooling and things they have enjoyed. Offering weekly challenges to keep these children engaged, together we have completed a poster challenge – likes and dislikes of lockdown, A Lockdown Bake Off, talent show and many more. This has allowed the children to be honest about their worries and fears of lockdown and how its making them feel, as well as having fun, being given challenges that the whole family can get involved in and allows them to make memories.

“During Covid-19 my support worker has helped me so much during this time, although we haven’t been able to see her, she is always there on phone or zoom. Although my children do not always engage straight away on zoom, Suzy has stepped up to the challenge and used her amazing skills to keep them focused and have fun. Thank you very much.”

Suzy Sorby our, Young People & Families Support Worker

Suzy Sorby, our young people and families worker