Engaging people and giving them purpose
Story by Sian Jones – Involvement and Engagement Manager
“Well, I think Llamau have dealt with this amazingly. As a 19-year-old who can’t keep still, they have really come through making sure we have activities to do such as cooking, arts and crafts, gaming nights and Netflix.”
Reading feedback like this that has come directly from a young person we support is really heart-warming. It makes me feel like I’ve been able to play a part in the journey of a young person or woman being supported through a very hard time.
I’ve struggled at times to look after my own wellbeing during this pandemic, which is something I’ve kept firmly in mind when trying to support young people and women across Llamau with engaging things to do.
Llamau has always recognised the importance of Involvement and Engagement in supporting young people and women to live positively and purposefully in their communities in the future, and in the last couple of years we’ve altered our approach to make sure that the Involvement and Engagement programme complements our core support.
Involvement and Engagement is all about connecting with young people and women and involving them in shaping and developing our services. We actively encourage them to get involved with us on a local and national level, with a view to them getting behind the decision making process of most of what we do to support them.
We focus on making a positive impact on the lives of the people we support, ensuring that what we do enables them to develop the skills and confidence they need to move on from homelessness and abuse. Specifically, we focus on activities which develop people’s ability to manage relationships, to feel part of the community and to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Ultimately, we’re trying to make sure that, over time, the people we support don’t need to rely on our support. We want to make sure that they have established their own support networks and engagement in their community. Of course, we would always still support anyone who needed us, but ultimately we want to make sure that everyone can be independent.
Covid has obviously made this a lot more challenging to deliver, but it also made it even more important that we run Involvement and Engagement activities which made the restrictions slightly easier to live with.
I’m sure most of us have found the restrictions placed on us this year extremely difficult, but for the people we support – who are already often isolated and lonely and without support networks – this period of time has been even harder. They are far less likely to have access to the internet or to technology that has kept most of us entertained and, and that’s why we’ve worked with Support Teams across Llamau to be creative in the ways that we try to engage with people. And that doesn’t just mean paying for Netflix subscriptions!
From Virtual Pride events to arts and crafts activities, physical challenges to writing and musical projects, we’ve tried to make sure that everyone we support has continued to have a sense of purpose while also feeling part of a community.
I know that Covid has had a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of some of the people we support, but I’m confident that the approach we’re taking is helping to ensure that the impact isn’t as bad as it could have been and that the people we support still have the best opportunity to move on positively with their lives.
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Of the young people and women surveyed, 91%said they felt positive about the support they were receiving through the Coronavirus pandemic.