Young people in North Edinburgh need to stay connected now more than ever.

Here at the Ferrywell Youth Project, we have had to adapt and adjust, just like everyone else. Some young people are very ready to connect online but others have disappeared off our radars and it is hard to know how they are getting on. We miss them and we know that they will miss the stability and positive relationships that come from being part of FYP.

It is frustrating not to be able to connect with all of the young people that we normally see, but that is the reality we are dealing with at the moment. We have been using the good old phone to stay in touch with families and also making (socially distant) visits around the estate, to get permissions from parents for young people to take part in the online activities. That means we’ve had more contact with parents than usual, which has been a positive outcome, but we are missing the direct contact with young people.

We’ve also been blessed with some funding that we have used to provide our primary aged children with an activity bag and a Morrisons gift card for our young people who are S1-S6.

We have invited young people to connect with us via Facebook Messenger and have set up small groups that way, with volunteers involved to run the groups. Online, the challenge is to find good ways to help young people to relax and feel comfortable – but at least it means we are in touch. We even ran a Sunday event for a few weeks – effectively online church for these young people.

activity bag

We hear encouraging stories of young people who are finding new ways to relate to their families, under challenging circumstances. Equally, we know of other situations where young people are struggling to deal with difficult home situations.

We are able to continue some of the counselling and mentoring work that we do and we are working closely with local schools.

For everyone, our prayer is simply that home relationship will be good during the lockdown.

We want to do everything that we can to remind young people and their families that we still around – that we still care.

Jane Hurst, Naomi Crolla & John Gillan

Ferrywell Youth Project is an independent charity which grew out of SU Scotland’s work in Pilton and Muirhouse. The project has grown in recent years with new premises and close connections with local schools. Weekly clubs will start again as soon as possible, but work continues to support vulnerable young people through the challenges of social distancing.