Level Two Youth Project promotes the welfare of young people (age 7-25) living in Felixstowe and surrounding villages, through supportive relationships and positive experiences, designed to enhance their personal and social development. Established back in 2001 as a small youth club, over the years it has evolved into a fully comprehensive youth organisation, offering a variety of essential services to promote the welfare of children and young people in the area.
In the global pandemic the mental health of young people is facing a crisis of its own. One in six (16%) of children aged 5-16 years have been identified as having a probable mental condition. At the same time, access to therapeutic services have been curtailed as the NHS is overburdened with the demands of the pandemic. Community organisations and local charities are confronting the problem at a grassroots level.
Since last March, as life in lockdown became the new norm, the funding this organisation has received from the Foundation has helped the team to adapt their services in order to support approximately 500 young people as they navigate their way through a different way of life. They continue to work with vulnerable young people and families struggling with isolation and with limited access to networks and resources. Additional need has been picked up, which includes mentoring and counselling sessions by telephone and delivering school lunches to primary school children (using the Level Two bus). During every lockdown period, this has also enabled a “safe distance” chat and check in with those who are vulnerable and ensuring they get the necessary services engaged with them. The grant has also helped towards a contribution to the salaries of the Project Manager to deliver free school meals; for the Deputy Project Manager to coordinate the contacting of all service users across all different provisions & the virtual sessions; 1hr extra per week for 7 youth workers; for the minibus to cover costs such as fuel and for additional resources to deliver to families to support with physical & mental health & well-being.
Despite the current Covid restrictions still limiting face to face activities, they have been able to continue mentoring through online video calls and walking and talking with mentees outside in a Covid-secure way. The demand for their counselling service has increased more than ever. Level Two have recently expanded their counselling team to address the demand that is out there as they help to rebuild the lives of the young in Felixstowe.
We are so grateful to receive this funding. The importance of ensuring that children and young people are as well-equipped as possible to manage their own mental health challenges is critical. As we look to rebuild their lives as we come out of Lockdown 3, the service we provide is now more important than ever with the current pressures on the mental health of children and young people and the associated impacts on their wider families.