Covid-19 and children and young people: Fellows’ case studies
Temi Mwale (above) has been providing increased advocacy and legal support for young people affected by the criminal justice system
Churchill Fellows are taking action against Covid-19 in a multitude of crucial areas, including working on measures to support children and young people. Here are their latest activities and insights.
Laurelle Brown: youth violence
Youth Consultant Laurelle Brown has been helping the London Violence Reduction Unit to launch education and employment programmes preventing increased youth violence after lockdown. This includes a community project for young black men. Additionally, via her own consultancy, she has been supporting young people in and leaving care and has developed new training materials for care services and foster carers during lockdown. Read Laurelle's Fellowship Report: Foster care for adolescents with complex needs.
Geneva Ellis: children in care
Charity director Geneva Ellis has been providing educational support for looked after children and care leavers during the pandemic via her charity, St Christopher's Fellowship. With learning interrupted due to school closures, Geneva and her colleagues have provided students across 12 children’s homes with laptops and wifi access so they can continue their schoolwork and keep connected with friends. Additionally they've provided further training and resources for staff to help support these students with their learning so that they are not left behind, particularly those who were due to sit exams this summer. Geneva received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to support this work.
Dr Arlene Holmes Henderson: education
Educator Dr Arlene Holmes Henderson is providing specialist advice to exam boards, national governments and regulators on how to award qualifications for school students who will not sit exams this summer. Additionally she is working in collaboration with the Council for Subject Associations to curate a list of free online resources that teachers, parents and students can access to support learning at home. Arlene is drawing upon her Fellowship findings, where she explored different international educational models and policy approaches.
Matt Little: community
Social enterprise director Matt Little has been creating a new scheme for disadvantaged young people in Cornwall to engage them in social action within their community. Inspired by the Churchill Fellowship model, he will offer 10 young people "mini Fellowships" providing them with the opportunity to develop ideas and projects in response to the current crisis and the needs of their community. Whilst benefitting Cornwall, one of the poorest regions in the UK, this scheme will also allow the young people to develop their own enterprising potential at a time of uncertainty and lack of opportunity with rising unemployment. Matt received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to support this work. Read Matt's Fellowship Report: How can we help children and young people become more socially enterprising?.
Temi Mwale: criminal justice
Youth organisation director Temi Mwale has been providing increased advocacy and legal support for young people affected by the criminal justice system during the pandemic via her organisation 4Front Project. Many of the young people Temi works with have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis due to lockdown restrictions, school closures, increased police powers, family bereavement and anxiety amongst the prison population. Temi has been providing them with increased access to legal services, information to ensure they are aware of their rights, and increased advocacy in police stations, courts, prisons and local authority meetings. Temi received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to support this work. She was additionally featured in British Vogue's September issue as one of 20 activists ready to change the world.
Suzanne Smith: maternal care
Child protection expert Suzanne Smith has been supporting new parents during the pandemic via her Abusive Head Trauma prevention programme, ICON: Babies cry, you can cope. As the founder of ICON, she has adapted its reources to be made available to all NHS maternity units during lockdown, a time when stress levels at home have reportedly heightened and new parents may be struggling with crying babies. NHS England has approved the resource and have officially issued the advice to use the ICON message as part of the Covid-19 emergency response. Read Suzanne's Fellowship Report: Abusive head Trauma: the case for prevention.
Darren Way: youth violence
Charity founder Darren Way has adapted his charity's services to work online with clients in the areas of young adult knife crime, gang criminality and disaffection. Ahead of lockdown, the charity that he founded, Streets of Growth, proactively redevised their intervention model. They did this in partnership with an international organisation that Darren researched on his Churchill Fellowship. Their current online services include urgently supporting people who were already trying to escape domestic violence before the lockdown started, and online coaching to prevent clients relapsing into harmful criminal behaviours. They are also helping clients to access financial support, food support, online resourcing, activities, job opportunities and more. Darren founded Streets of Growth as a result of his Churchill Fellowship.