Across the nation, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on both young people’s mental health and the income of many charities supporting our most vulnerable citizens, as thousands of fundraising events are cancelled. They include the London Marathon this Sunday, which last year raised over £14m for good causes.
Leading city youth charity Element inspire some of the city’s most vulnerable and marginalized young people to make a difference in society from their youth hub headquarters, Yorkshire House, at the top of Fargate. Despite having to furlough his entire staff team apart from himself and his programmes manager, charity CEO Chris Hill remains committed to supporting young people’s mental health through the strain of lockdown, while harnessing their energy and creativity to help others- one of Element’s core values.
“We are taking every step we can to continue to support our young people who are among the most vulnerable”, says founder Chris. “We hear at first-hand how hard they are finding the isolation from their peers, even becoming suicidal, so we immediately held online sessions with our young people’s board to find out what their needs were.
“As a result, Element implemented an informal coaching programme. We have established online video support drop-ins and are also sharing best practise with other local provision like Chilypep and Door 43, so young people get the right support. From the first announcement, we quickly created a Coronavirus Hub for young people and parents with local and national support links elementsociety.co.uk/coronavirus-hub and started sharing people’s stories on our #RonaDiaries blog elementsociety.co.uk/Blogs/ronadiaries, which we hear they are finding a life-line in feeling connected.
“We welcome the government’s announcement of free laptops for this group, and immediately designed a host of resources our students could access online through the generosity of our educational partners, Google Classroom and Google Meets. Young people are already accessing our multiple-choice learning resources with unlimited retries and our social action and campaigning toolkits which they can do from home within government guidelines. We are talking to the local authority, politicians and partnering with like-minded charities to harness the power of young people to address their priorities.
“To boost positivity, our programmes manager Will Earp is posting a daily challenge, and hundreds of our young people are taking part. So far there has been a baking challenge, photography challenge, milkshake making challenge, and our ‘not a pub quiz’ had over 100 enthusiastic competitors for the T-shirt and pizza prizes sponsored by our partners at Reebok and Pizza Hut.”
To ensure this invaluable support continues, this Sunday, Element supporters and young people will join the 2.6 Challenge- the world’s biggest one-day annual fundraising event.
“We’re asking you to take part in an activity of your choice based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to support Element”, said Chris, whose girlfriend Frances is an Elite runner and was due to run the London Marathon this Sunday for the charity.
“Every penny raised is going towards supporting young people to help themselves and others during the coronavirus crisis. We are so proud of own head of operations, John Parkinson – who is himself classed as vulnerable at 70 – smashing out a 26-mile cycle ride in his garage. My girlfriend Frances, an NHS speech and language therapist will run up and down our stairs at home 262 times. Not to be out-done, I am planning to achieve 260 press ups and sits ups that day!”
The only requirement to take part, is that you must follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing. Most people are taking part from Sunday 26 April, but you can do your activity whenever is most convenient for you. More ideas and details at www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk
Head to http://www.justgiving.com/team/element to donate to Element or to set up your own fundraising page.
Ask friends and family to sponsor you and challenge them to do their own 2.6 Challenge, then share a photo or video of your challenge on social media with #TwoPointSixChallenge #elementsociety