Staff and residents at one of North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door hubs are honing their musical talents by writing and singing corona-themed songs during lockdown.
North Yorkshire County Council’s children and young people’s hub in Stepney Road, Scarborough, has been creative in combatting any pandemic blues with the help of residential worker Jezz Pratt.
Jezz, an ex-police officer and member of the Rat Pack Band in Cloughton, has been writing and playing musical numbers and encouraging everyone to join in.
The lyrics of one of his numbers include:
Stepney Road, stay safe, stay home.
And wash your hands all day and night.
And if you sneeze catch it in your sleeve.
Two metres apart from anyone else.
Jezz, who has been with No Wrong Door for three years, is a self-taught guitarist.
Manager Cerena Butterworth said: “Jezz is amazing and it’s really helped lift spirits.”
Cerena added that staff and residents alike have been working hard to come up with innovative ways to get rid of the lockdown blues.
Cerena said: “On Easter Sunday we had an egg hunt, Jezz dressed up as the Easter bunny and walked around the streets, which the kids found amazing.
“We’ve got a young man called Joe Brown who lives with us doing a Skype-a-thon – every day he Skypes different people at North Yorkshire County Council and asked for a tour of their house – including Chief Executive Richard Flinton!
“We’ve had metal detectors all around our garden so it looks like we’ve got moles, we’ve been baking and we’ve been Zorbing.”
She added they have been keeping morale up with creative crafts like pottery and painting, activities in the garden and staff even bringing their dogs in.
Cerena said the most important thing is to keep residents feeling calm, safe and happy.
She said: “We are having great fun at Stepney Road Children’s Home because of the kindness and resilience of our staff, who are treating this time as business as usual.
“We not only look after our residents but we are keeping contact with children who have left our service during lockdown. We are telephoning young people every day to check they are coping and we visit where we can.
“We have supported young people to hospital, to keep in contact with families over Skype, to maintain their education, and to support the emotional health and wellbeing of all our young people.
“Our team approach has seen our staff working with really complex cases out in the community, staff have worked over and above their normal hours, staff are keeping up their morale by creative crafts like pottery and painting, playing in the garden, bringing their dogs to work so the young people can take them out.”
Cllr Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “As a retired music teacher, I need no convincing of the power of music both in its ability to lighten our mood but also to reinforce an important message.
“In this case, that message is vital to keeping our young people safe and well and I am delighted to see them doing this in such a creative way.”
North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door programme is a different way of providing support to young people who are in care or at the edge of the system.
Instead of traditional council-run young people’s homes, No Wrong Door has hubs which combine residential care with fostering.
The programme is now being rolled out nationally for its innovation and effectiveness as it has improved radically the life chances of some of the county’s most vulnerable and troubled young people, reducing the numbers ending up either homeless or in the criminal system.
Each hub also has a dedicated and embedded team with a life coach who is a clinical psychologist, a speech and communications therapist and a police intelligence role.
Each young person is given one key worker who sticks with them through thick and thin to access the right services at the right time and in the right place to meet their need. It’s a tough love approach for those who have had a lifetime of experiencing rejection and failure.