A telephone befriending service has been launched for vulnerable young people who are struggling to live with the social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic.
It will ensure young people have access to practical and emotional support throughout the lockdown period, and have somebody to confide in of a similar age.
North Yorkshire County Council’s Restorative Academy recruits practice relief workers aged between 16 and 25, many of whom have experienced care. This befriending service is taking enquiries from leaving care services, looked after children services, fostering services and the early help service.
Amy Harlow and Lydia Bailey are among those helping with the telephone service.
“I feel so sorry for people who don’t have support during this difficult time,” said Amy. “That is why we wanted to set up a service which provides vital support and ensures that young people can actually take something positive out of the experience.”
Lydia added: “The service has been really helpful and the people on the other end of the phone have made others feel reassured about the whole situation.
“I’ve had text messages, phone calls and videos from people just checking up, talking about everyday things. You might not be able to see them but they are only at the end of the phone keeping us all smiling.”
The County Council is looking to extend this service for up to 30 young people aged between 12 and 20 at any given time.
“I would like to thank our restorative practice relief workers who are dedicating their time to help those feeling isolated in this very difficult lockdown period,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service.
“Some of our young people are struggling with social distancing so speaking to people of the same age and background proves very comforting when you’re not able to go out and socialise. We want our young people to keep to the rules on social distancing and stay at home because it helps to stop the virus spreading, but we know how difficult this can be for young people and so this service is there to help.”