2nd Jul '20

Detached Work

From the start of lockdown, Berkshire Youth has responded to reports of young people gathering and not following guidance. We initially undertook detached work in Thatcham, Newbury and Hungerford as these areas were seeing numerous reports of such incidents. As restrictions began to be lifted and young people gradually starting re-emerging, we were inundated with similar reports from numerous other areas. Based on our capacity, we added Caversham (Reading), Purley and Pangbourne as frequent places to conduct detached work. We have recently added Tilehurst (Reading) to our list of destinations due to issues being raised by their Parish Council.

A detached planning meeting has been scheduled for early July to plan how we can best cover each of the above areas as effectively as possible.

Whilst detached work seemed a little pointless at the outset, due to there being very few people out and engagement with young people few and far between, we are now seeing far more young people out and about, often in groups. At the beginning and during the middle phase of our detached work during lockdown, our aim was to remind young people of the guidelines and to encourage them to follow the instructions. In addition to this, we had discussions around their understanding of the guidance and their feelings towards it. We ascertained the following:

Early stage:

  • Young people generally had a good understanding
  • Young people generally accepted the reason for lockdown

Middle phase:

  • Young people were becoming increasingly bored, which is why they were out more
  • Young people were still worried about COVID-19

During these phases, when we spoke with young people, they were generally alone or in pairs and adopting social distancing. When not doing so, we reminded them of the importance of this.

The later stages have seen young people flexing boundaries, but they are no different or worse than adults. We have visited numerous places where there were reports of young people gathering and drinking and not following guidance. When speaking with such groups, we make it clear that we are simply there to remind them of the rules and guidelines, but they are only doing the same as others. There are families gathered together who are clearly from different households and not following social distancing. We must first look at doing the right things as adults before condemning the young.

Our detached work in Caversham has been helped greatly by our already established relationship with young people and local community hub. We have engaged many young people since restrictions have been eased and local community workers have praised young people in the area for following rules, remaining indoors and not being out in groups bigger than permitted.

General feelings from young people during the later stages:

  • We’re at breaking point
  • We’re bored and want to go back to school
  • We’re relieved when we’re allowed to see friends

Written by Paul, Youth Work Manager