The real impact of the pandemic on young people

by May 21, 2021Awards alumni, Charity partners, Critical transition points, News

This guest post is by Anna Kent, Communications Manager at Snow-Camp.

Snow-Camp are the UK’s only charity using a combination of snowsports, life-skills training and mental wellbeing support to help young people from inner-city communities. Working at the indoor snow centres in London, the North West, the Midlands and Scotland, we also provide qualifications, work experience and volunteering opportunities to those who would never normally get the chance to access the snowsports industry. In 2019, HRH Princess Anne awarded us with a Princess Royal Training Award for our life-changing work and in 2020 we were Highly Commended at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Pausing programmes

Like most people last year, when Covid hit us in March 2020 we had to pause our programmes and evaluate how we were going to continue supporting our young people. We moved our qualification coursework online and our in-house counsellor developed virtual mental health workshops and offered one-to-one counselling sessions. We also organised fitness classes and our Patrons and Ambassadors ran weekly ‘Be Inspired’ sessions.

However, by September 2020 it was becoming clear that we needed to do more to support our young people’s mental health. We knew that our young people were feeling isolated, lonely and were suffering the effects of no face to face contact. We started working with JHD Counselling Services to provide more one-to-one counselling sessions and worked on a plan to massively scale up our mental health programme to reach many more young people across the country.

Upskilling our teams

With support from the City & Guilds Foundation, we were able to upskill our team. Programme managers enrolled in a Level 2 Counselling Skills course and our youth volunteers and apprentices enrolled in a Level 1 Counselling Skills course and a LEAP Confronting Conflict course. Then, in November 2020, we launched a brand-new mental health service called Stop.Breathe.Think. Now young people across the country can access free virtual one-to-one counselling sessions, a 24/7 text support service and a series of mindfulness tutorials via stopbreathethink.co.uk.

We conducted a nationwide survey which revealed that 4 out of 5 young people are put off seeking mental health support due to wait times, not knowing where to access help or being worried about costs. Stop.Breathe.Think is free and young people can access support in just 24 hours.

Continuing to make a difference

Going forward, the mental health training will play a pivotal role when we return to face-to-face programme delivery. The impact of Covid-19 has serious implications for the mental health of young people. From bereavement to job losses, to loneliness and relationship breakdown, the psychological strains caused by Covid-19 has intensified the need of our work. Over the next 18 months we do not expect the psychological strain on young people’s mental health to ease. The pandemic is not a short-term event, that’s why it’s so important that our programmes team are equipped to provide this support.

‘If I hadn’t got involved with Snow-Camp I would be in a lot of trouble for doing the wrong things with the wrong people. I now have a positive future and a full time job in the snowsports industry.’

Youth Volunteer Laquan, speaking about the impact of Snow-Camp

Our long term plan is to provide employment and volunteering opportunities to our young people through Stop.Breathe.Think. Young people who have gained a Level 2 in Counselling Skills will be able to work with our counsellors. And through our snowsports programmes, we know that the peer-to-peer training model works. It provides opportunities for young people to learn together, teach one another and support each other as they face similar challenges. Thanks to the funding from City & Guilds Foundation, we’ll be able to offer this training pathway through Stop.Breathe.Think too.

To find out more about Snow-Camp click here.

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

Foundation & Friends podcast: Championing Investment into Early Talent

A successful early talent strategy and strong learning culture can help organisations to attract, engage and retain early career employees, leading to a more productive workforce and a thriving future for your organisation. To explore this topic, host Manuel...

Advancing A Greener Future: City & Guilds’ Carbon Reduction Journey

As a global leader in skills development, we at City & Guilds recognise the vital role we play in addressing social, environmental, and economic issues. We are committed to embedding responsible business practices into all aspects of our work, which includes our...

Recognising excellence through the Livery Company Prizes

Earlier this month we hosted the annual City & Guilds Livery Company Prizes awards at Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor, The Rt. Hon. Professor Michael Mainelli (Alderman). Each year City of London Livery Companies award prizes to honour outstanding learners...

Celebrating our heritage whilst focusing on the future

The 145th Yearly Meeting of the City and Guilds of London Institute happened at Plaisterers’ Hall in the heart of the City. This beautiful Livery Hall reflects the grandeur of a bygone era in a modern setting. The current hall was opened in 1972 and backs onto the...

Creating collective impact in the rehabilitation sector

This is a guest post by Ian Bickers, Founder of Unlocking Justice and member of our Future Skills Commission for Prisons. When the City & Guilds Foundation organised a day bringing together the people they are partnering with in the rehabilitation space, I was...

Learn about the latest findings on Neurodiversity at work in our latest report

At City & Guilds we are all connected by our common purpose: to help people develop their skills. And our City & Guilds Foundation was established back in 2019 to really amplify our purpose and particularly with a focus on supporting individuals who face...

Foundation & Friends podcast: Inspiring Inclusion with Sparta Global

Here at City & Guilds, our purpose is helping people, organisations and economies develop their skills for growth. Through our Foundation, we act as a catalyst for this work, by helping remove barriers to getting a job, celebrating best practice on the job and...

Championing apprenticeships: Insights from City & Guilds’ Young Learner Advisory Team

With nearly 150 years’ experience of successfully supporting training and skills development across the UK and globally, City & Guilds believes in listening to learners. Our new Young Learner Advisory Team (YLAT) guide us by sharing their valuable insights and...

What we learned about making applications more accessible – for refugee women and for all

Access to training and learning opportunities is one of the barriers for refugee women with experience of seeking safety to start or progress their professional lives in the UK. This includes financial barriers, as well as other barriers related to accessing...

Improving young refugees’ educational outcomes through our partnership with the Positive Youth Foundation

At the City & Guilds Foundation we’re passionate about advocating for, and supporting, people who face barriers to accessing skills development. Two years ago, we looked at supporting refugees as a beneficiary group – and have supported a number of different grass...

Podcast episodes

Foundation & Friends Podcast (2024-)

​Green Skills Podcast in collaboration with Green Edge (2024-)

Hosted by Dr. Michael Cross and Fraser Harper, this podcast series explores the critical transition towards a sustainable planet and the pivotal role of green skills in shaping the economy.

Listen now

City & Guilds Foundation Podcast (2021-22)

Share This