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Through carrying out our customer welfare calls, we know that there are many people who have struggled to deal with social isolation during the pandemic.

In July 2019, YHN received funding through the Co-op Foundation to develop a project to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst young people in the community between the ages of 16-25.

The foundation is the leading charity tackling youth loneliness in the UK and have awarded more than £6.5 million to projects that connect and empower young people to beat loneliness.

Inclusion Mentor, Carla Askwith, has been tasked with leading on the project. Here she talks about some of the work she has been doing to help support young people and how the service has adapted since the Coronavirus outbreak.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with my customers and getting to know them. You soon discover that all it takes is having someone to talk to and instilling confidence in them to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. One of my clients who suffers from learning difficulties began volunteering once a week at the woodyard before lockdown, which is something he never would’ve considered doing without our support.

Another girl I’ve been supporting was struggling with isolation and having the confidence to engage with others. Over time she has built up her confidence to become more sociable, which has resulted in her being offered an apprenticeship at YHN, which she hopes to start soon.

Initially I supported young people to widen their support network by introducing them to local services where they would engage in activities such as sports clubs, cookery courses and arts and crafts.

I also supported them to enrol on to college courses and find employment. However, with the current COVID-19 situation, we have had to adapt and be flexible to find new ways of engaging young people and are currently working with our customers to find out what online activities they would engage in to combat loneliness during these difficult times.

We are also launching a new residency project to work alongside an artist to creatively engage young people across the city and share their experiences of how loneliness has affected them during lockdown. Their work will be showcased at a celebration event at the end of March.”


If you are or someone you know is aged between 16-25 and would benefit from support with dealing with loneliness, then please contact Carla on carla.askwith@yhn.org.uk or send her a text on 07971 044 155.