A north-east children’s charity is helping to reduce social isolation through the provision of virtual youth clubs.
Befriend a Child is the only specialist befriending charity for children in the north-east.
It works to support school-aged children and young people growing up in difficult life circumstances in and around Aberdeen by matching them with a volunteer befriender or mentor who commits to seeing them for at least one year.
Following the first lockdown, the charity adapted its one-to-one befriending and mentoring programmes to a virtual format.
The organisation also digitised its weekly youth clubs to help keep disadvantaged children they support occupied and connected during lockdown.
Youth club participants have enjoyed celebrating annual events together such as Bonfire Night, Christmas and most recently Burns Night, which saw children read poems and take part in crafts.
The youngsters have also been encouraged to stay active by trying new activities such as yoga and ensuring they enjoy time outdoors in the fresh air.
Daniel Nyssen, youth club leader, said: “The children have been able to take part in their youth club activities with family members and have also been able to use this as a bonding experience.
“They said they have had so much fun learning new things and that just being able to see each other has put a smile on their faces and brightened up their week.”
The virtual youth club, funded by Aberdeen City Council’s Fairer Aberdeen Fund, supplies children and their families with a schedule of activities to take part in during school term time. The families are given all the materials they need to take part.
Befriend a Child discovered that the children who take part in youth club demonstrated growth in confidence and self-esteem, and attending has helped their wellbeing during a challenging time.
Jean Gordon, head of operations at Befriend a Child, said: “We are thrilled to be able to continue supporting the children and families we work with in a new way despite limitations imposed by Covid-19. We hope through these activities the children can relax, have fun and enjoy a bit of respite from the ongoing pandemic.”
The team at Befriend a Child would like to extend a big thank you to Aberdeen City Council and the Fairer Aberdeen Fund which funds the charity’s virtual youth club.
To find out more about Befriend a Child, visit www.befriendachild.org.uk or call 01224 210060.