Insights Brief: Engaging young people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Insights Brief 


We’ve produced this Insights Brief to help organisations working with children and young people. It’s particularly useful if you’re working with children living in difficult circumstances, who might be at risk of becoming involved in crime and violence.


It provides clear, practical advice to help when face-to-face support and group activities can’t go ahead safely, offering guidance on how you can continue to build strong, positive relationships even at a time of social distancing.


The Brief is based on a rapid review of existing evidence and the experiences of more than 100 organisations that have been funded by the Youth Endowment Fund’s £6.4m COVID-19 Learning Project. Each of them has shared what they’ve learned as they’ve adapted their work to continue supporting young people through the COVID-19 pandemic.


Developed by our Learning Partners, Dartington Service Design Lab in partnership with the Centre for Youth ImpactResearch in Practice and University of Plymouth, this Brief covers the changes your organisation can make and the ways you can work with others to support at-risk children through this crisis.

Executive Summary


At a time when more young people are at risk of becoming isolated and disconnected, we hope this Brief will support you to make sure they stay engaged with the trusted adults in their lives.


How organisations can respond


Use the right tools: There are lots of ways to engage young people during the pandemic. Which ones will work best depends on the needs of the young people you’re supporting and the situations they’re facing. This Brief outlines how you can best use online and remote approaches, detached and street-based youth work, outdoor activities and support for young people’s basic needs.


Be flexible: The best way to use these approaches is to be flexible. Use different methods together, personalise your responses based on what young people tell you and start small by piloting new activities.


Working with others


Don’t do it alone: Partnering with families, schools, community organisations and statutory services can support successful engagement.


Use existing relationships: Each of these partnerships may work better with some young people than others. However, applying one common principle can help: use relationships you already have with partners and young people. It’s easier to build on trust you’ve already established.

Insights Brief: Engaging young people during the COVID-19 pandemic


Download Insight Brief 1

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© 2020 The Youth Endowment Fund Charitable Trust. Registered Charity Number: 1185413.