10/01/2020 –  Fight for Peace Alliance member organisations came together virtually this month to record the third podcast in the Fighting Back series. This episode focused on young people’s experiences in lockdown and featured representatives from four Alliance organisations – Gloves not Gunz, Switch Up CIC, Sheffield City Boxing Club and Vulcan Learning Centre – and from Fight for Peace.

Fighting Back is part of a wider Tackling Inequalities project made possible by National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund. In the six part podcast series, representatives from Fight for Peace join Alliance member organisations from across the UK to discuss responses to the current challenging times and offer best practice ideas for adapting to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable groups of young people.

Discussions from this latest episode of the podcast highlighted the anxiety, uncertainty and lack of stimulation that many young people are facing at this time: “a lot of people are struggling and a lot of it comes down to boredom. Whenever we speak to our members now they say there is nowhere to go.”

With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, there exists a great deal of doubt about the future and this is affecting both aspiration and motivation: “I think there is a lot of uncertainty about young people’s future at the moment. A lot of them don’t have that light at the end of the tunnel. Uncertainty is a big feeling and that raises anxiety.”

Other issues of concern discussed in the episode include the grooming and exploitation of young people, domestic violence, food deprivation and access to technology for online interaction.

In dealing with these issues, the Alliance member organisations participating on the podcast pointed to a number of ways to best support young people at this time. Setting goals and challenges was presented as a great motivator, particularly when the sense of achievement is incremental, with smaller goals leading to a larger final objective.

And, as much as online meeting software can struggle to replicate the benefits of face to face interaction, it was felt that online workshops can be very valuable, particularly in addressing issues around mental health and giving young people a space for discussion and emotional support. “Lots of people feel alone. Mental health is a huge topic and it affects everyone in a certain way. I can only share how I deal with it, however sharing it is the most important.”

Crucially, the importance of funding streams that can support longer-term interventions was highlighted. These are essential to providing sustained support for young people, particularly those who are most affected by the circumstances they are currently faced with.

The entire Fighting Back podcast series, including the latest episode, is available to listen to on several hosting platforms and can be accessed here.

As always, a big thank you to all of the Fight for Peace Alliance member organisations and representatives who participated in this episode. Also continued thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and Sport England for their support of this initiative and the wider Tackling Inequalities project.

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