Bright Futures: serving young women during COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic is a once-in-a-generation event for us all. No one could have fully prepared for this. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we can continue to support vulnerable people.
Bright Futures is a local charity that brings together young women aged 11-19 living in South Tyneside. The charity provides weekly peer-led support groups. Women meet each week to socialise and take part in a range of activities aimed at raising awareness of their common concerns and issues.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, they are now unable to deliver any face-to-face work with young women. However, they are determined to ensure continued support for all those that they work with. They are keeping in touch with daily or weekly telephone calls where appropriate. In addition, they are also sharing resources via email and on their social media platforms, and creating online group activities as well. The project has also started supporting their members with the distribution of “essential bags”. These contain shampoo, conditioner, sanitary products, dental products and non-perishable food.
They are also drawing up comprehensive lists of particular providers, including food banks, in their areas. These lists include contact details for anybody who may need extra support at this difficult time. In some cases, the project is able to directly refer clients or provide vouchers.
Nicola Whalen and Helen Bowman, Managing Directors of Bright Futures spoke with us:
"Bright Futures are committed to ensuring continued support for all the young women and their families accessing our service at this extremely difficult time. We are working hard to keep in regular and ongoing contact with young women. This includes offering telephone and Skype contact, and utilising our social media platforms and creating online group activities. At Bright Futures, we hope to use this time to pilot new ways of working. We may have not previously thought of, or had the opportunity to trial, such methods. We also hope that we can subsequently share our experiences. It’s important to learn with others in the sector once we have got through this time."
A member said: “It honestly means so much..I still have someone to talk to when things are tough. I am so grateful for the items in the bag I received. I appreciate it so much, all the stuff is lovely and so necessary right now."