The COVID-19 global pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on individuals and communities. Naomi Lea, 21 , our founder and project co-ordinator realised this would have a profound impact on young people “In this crisis so many young people are finding that loneliness is a real issue – they haven’t been able to socialise with friends face to face or do the things they enjoy.”
She set up Project Hope along with 15 other young people to organise online gatherings for those aged 13-25 three times a week. Project Hope aims to tackle youth loneliness by creating a safe space for individuals to come together, meet new people and have some fun. The project therefore addresses the needs of young people to connect with others during this uncertain time and scary time.
With schools closed, extracurricular activities cancelled, and community services perhaps impacted by the current pandemic, many young people are likely to find themselves feeling very isolated and alone. They may not have close relationships within their household and as a result be unable to talk to anyone or share any worries, they are experiencing. We know loneliness and isolation can be extremely detrimental to young people’s ‘ mental health and wellbeing. In addition, for young people, isolation may impact the development of non-cognitive skills such as self-efficacy, confidence and communication. As many young people are used to being in environments where they are surrounded by others every day, to suddenly be by themselves represents a significant and perhaps difficult contrast. These are all themes the project is aiming to tackle through our social media presence, signposting and weekly sessions.
The project operates online, via Zoom to facilitate sessions. The impact is to reduce youth loneliness and improve the wellbeing of young people. The Project has made a huge difference for young people as it has provided a space to connect with peers from across the UK and provided a sense of normality through the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Through her initiative and vision to make a difference in these unprecedented times , Naomi pulled together a team of young people wanting to make a difference for young people and has set up a wonderful project and space for young people to connect. The Project ensures young people can still communicate and connect in a way that has some sense of normal despite these challenging times. Naomi and others involved with Project Hope have shown that anyone can make difference and lead the way to highlight the importance of connecting and being there for each other.
Project Hope provides three sessions a week which are each an hour and a half in length. These sessions are on Mondays at 7pm, Wednesdays at 4pm and Saturdays at 7pm. Each week we aim to have a wellbeing session, a skill share session and a fun session such as a quiz.
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