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Who else feels like they've lived through a year in the last 2 months?

It's hard to believe that it's only just over 2 months since the full UK lockdown was announced - with so many changes to take on board, many of our young people are saying it feels like they've lived through a year or more....

We have been very proud of the way the young people of Petworth and surrounding villages have responded to the restrictions. And we have all been impressed by their resilience in the face of the extraordinary changes to their lives.

Dan Sneller, our Senior Youth and Community Development Manager, has continued to adapt the activities we've been offering to help support young people,at this tricky time. Over half of our "regulars" have been taking part in the new online "clubs" aimed at combating isolation (and boredom!) during this time of physical distancing.

As of today, small groups of up to 6 people from different households will be able to meet up outside but with social distancing in place to keep everyone safe. This is a welcome relief for many! There is no guidance in place yet to clarify when we might be able to open up face-to-face activities again - although year 10 and 12 young people are beginning to return to school.  In the meantime we're taking time in June to get our planning, training and risk assessments in place for when we get the government "good to go" green light.

Given the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, Dan is mapping out a busy programme for July and August where small youth club groups of young people might gather - in a supported way - for outdoor fun.  

Please do read on to find out more about what we have been doing, and about our plans for the next three months. We also wanted to take the opportunity to say a huge "Thank you" to everyone for the ongoing encouragement and support which you continue to give us.

from the Staff and Trustees of the Petworth Youth Association 

What's been on the menu for the last 2 months?
Zoom Cooking Sessions
Up to 15 young people have been connecting together through the zoom app to learn "hands on" how to cook a new dish. We prepare standard ingredients packs and deliver them to homes beforehand. One of the young people is nominated to lead the activity and Dan acts as an online facilitator to keep the group on track. So far they have prepared brownies, apple crumble, victoria sponge and lemon meringue pie - and have requested the slightly healthier homemade granola (Caroline's special recipe) for after half-term.

Parents have said "Fab baking session, she absolutely loved it" and "They did a fab job, I have to say the one my son did was so so yummy! Obviously I could only taste his but they all looked great!"
Socially distanced film nights using Netflix Party
Really? I can watch a film with my friends without leaving my home? Yes!

Using Netflix Party, we have been able to host virtual film nights where a group of young people all watch the same film, at the same time - with a safe, supervised online chat feature so they can comment on the film as it is streamed.

To make the evening even more special, Dan has organised a pre-film home tuck shop delivery to young people's homes so they can "tuck in" while they watch. This has also allowed him to have some socially distanced face-to-face contact with young people on an individual basis, especially where they have been identified as vulnerable, checking in that they really are doing ok.
"Girls only" Pamper night 
By special request, our youth worker Natasha hosted a "For Girls Only" zoom pamper night, helped by Laura. Each young person received a special pack (in these lovely bags made by local volunteer Kerry - thank you Kerry!) containing face masks, nail varnish and other goodies. This was a small and intimate "zoom" event - but created a lovely space for supportive conversations, and tips for young people on how to prioritise taking care of themselves during the lockdown.
Laptop loan to support home study
We've not been able to open up our building for homework support - so instead we've loaned 7 of our laptops to local families to help with the increased demand on home computers as school work has migrated online during lockdown.
Activities for the "zoomed out"
Thanks to a small grant from Hyde Housing, we have been able to buy 3 fully serviced mountain bikes and helmets which have been available for young people to borrow for their daily exercise. We're hoping to be able to use these in July and August to get small groups together for and outdoor bike rides and picnics.

The grant has also allowed us to put together craft and activity packs aimed at a slightly younger age group. These have been hugely popular and a real boost to families during half term when their normal outdoor activities have been curtailed. Here's some of the feedback:
"Can I just say a massive thank you, the packs are amazing, so many fab things to do! Honestly very very kind! X"
"Thank you so much for our packs, my boys are currently making catapults ❤️ So far they’ve been aiming it in the pool...I’m sure that will change soon."
Thank you for our pack. There is loads in there for my daughter and it’s great for her age. She and her brother are batting a balloon around the lounge at the moment and having great fun! Thank you once again.
"Thank you I have some very happy children x"
"Thank you so much for our bag. It was a great hit for a rainy Saturday. She is absolutely delighted with it"
Board Game (or do we mean "bored" game) library
We have a fantastic library of board games at the youth club - and we've been able to offer these on loan to families for half term and beyond - again emphasising resources to get away from the high level of online activity young people have had over the past few months as school work has also migrated onto the internet. We've also been able to loan out some of our sports equipment to help young people stay active in their own back gardens.
We're hoping that, by July, we may be able to meet in small groups outside - and this would allow us to begin to run some small scale, social activities out of doors - giving everyone a relief from all of the online stuff they've been having to manage.

We've already recruited some volunteers to help with a giant scale art project to design and paint some large murals onto the side of the outdoor games court at the Sylvia Beaufoy Centre. This is a great opportunity to get young people working on a joint project safely while brightening up the building - any local "Banksy's" in hiding - now is your chance to shine!
Making use of the great resources on our doorstep
We have been delighted to receive offers of grants from 2 local trusts to provide activity funding for our summer activities. So we're going all out for a full programme of outdoors youth club fun for the school holidays including fitness and sports activities in Petworth Park, rounders, football, cricket and small scale Park Runs.

We're also aiming to host cycling expeditions in the park and around the local countryside, and to organise orienteering sessions and treasure/scavenger hunts. 

Our outdoor games court at SBC is also a fantastic resource. It may be possible to use it to host some BBQs for small groups of young people (especially those who are less sporty!) during August - but we are continuing to monitor the guidance very closely in order to keep our workers, young people and communities safe over the next months.

We love this picture from several years ago - when our youth workers took a group of young people into the park for an evening's walk. Social distancing guidelines mean that walks will look a bit different this year - with 2 metres distance between us all. But we hope the spirit of fun, companionship and community will still be the same :)  Stay safe, everyone.
"My favourite thing to do in Petworth is going to the park"
Youth People of Petworth Attitudes Survey May 2019
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