We learned a lot from previous lockdowns, more often than not the hard way. Third time around we’re past the initial tech hurdles, equipped with PPE and have more understanding of what services are available, but we’re still learning and improving constantly.

Lockdown taught us what the young people we support are really capable of. It’s taught us the importance of giving better instructions and regular clear communication. Covid-19 has shown us the true resilience of young Londoners and made it clear what we could be doing quicker and better.

We implemented a raft of new tech. We developed a Covid policy for shared accommodation which is updated monthly in line with new regulations. We’ve been able to continue taking new referrals via our online self-referral form and partner referral form. We work with a translation service over the phone to support young people who need language support.

“New Horizon stands out. They’re quick in their response times. They offer general advice for lots of different situations. I could still get help for whatever it was.”

Young person using our remote services

Remote delivery has its challenges, so much is lost by not being able to meet people face to face to build rapport and trust. A lot of the partner services we work with are closed or overwhelmed. Waiting lists are often long and we’ve been fortunate to bring on extra staff to manage our high case load.

We’re trying to recreate the holistic nature of the centre in each interaction we have with young people. Services can be hard to navigate remotely as so much needs to be done online or on the phone so our team have worked hard to strike a balance between intensive work for relationship building and more informal check-ins.

“It depends on who you are. Sometimes people want to put a face to the name. I don’t have to go anywhere so I find it easy to access.”

Young person using our remote services

Through our remote offering we’ve managed to reach young people who wouldn’t come into the centre in person. Having an online referral system is great and we want to continue to offer this once we can reopen our doors.

We have a lot more flexibility with appointments, we can do housing or counselling on young people’s lunch breaks for example, as young people don’t have to travel in to us anymore but can be supported wherever they are in London. This fits our value of meeting young people where they are.

“It gives much more freedom to communicate. It’s not forced. If you don’t want to talk to someone you don’t have to talk to someone. In person sometimes you felt like you had to speak. This way gives you more space.”

Young person using our remote counselling service

We don’t have all the answers but we’re trying to do right by each and every young person we come into contact with, as well as safeguarding our staff. We’d love to hear what you’ve learned.

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