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Severnside Community Rail Partnership and CrossCountry have teamed up to provide support for three West County youth charities who have adapted their support services to reach out to those most in need during Covid-19.
Young Somerset, Young Bristol and Young Gloucestershire would usually be facilitating community youth groups, physical and creative activities alongside mental health and wellbeing support, but engaging young people during lockdown has been a challenge. The charities have had to quickly re-design their programmes in order to reach out to the most vulnerable.
This has included the delivery of care parcels, sports and creative activity packs, virtual youth clubs and boredom buster challenges. Some families received broadband packages to enable them to stay connected with friends and families, and to access digital activities and schoolwork. For those in need of extra support, online counselling, mental health and hidden victim support has been readily available.
Youth workers have also been out and about supporting local police forces to encourage those struggling with compliance during lockdown to return home and stay safe.
Heather Cullimore, Manager of the Severnside Community Rail Partnership said, “Under usual circumstances, Community Rail Partnerships would be welcoming young people to the railway and encouraging sustainable healthy, travel. While public transport is limited to essential journeys only, we are delighted that through our partnership with CrossCountry Trains, to have been able to provide support for local youth charities delivering crucial support services to the young people in our communities who need it the most. We look forward to continuing these partnerships by offering rail familiarisation and travel confidence building sessions for young people in the future.”
Sarah Kelley, CrossCountry’s Regional Director West said, “CrossCountry is glad to be supporting Severnside with their work with local charities during this trying time. Everyone is finding the lockdown difficult and this outreach work is essential to supporting young people’s wellbeing”.
Andy Kimber, Community Club Development Lead at Young Bristol said, "On behalf of the young people we work with I would like to say a huge thank you to Severnside CRP and CrossCountry Trains for their swift and generous support during the closure of our community youth clubs. The funding they provided allowed us to purchase creative and sports equipment, as well as mobile data to make up packs supporting young people and their families while we are unable to provide sessions at our clubs. The impact is visible already, some are now able to access the internet properly for school work. This has also offered them opportunities to keep active and stay creative using the equipment to engage in our online youth club sessions. "
Nik Harwood, Chief Executive of Young Somerset said, “We are delighted to receive this investment into Young Somerset’s work during the current crisis. For many of the young people we support, being at home is not always the safest or most positive place to be. Whilst young people have been amazing in complying with the lockdown restrictions, some are finding it hard – to be without their normal social contacts. We are working in partnership with Avon & Somerset Police to encourage young people who are struggling with compliance in their local communities to return home and stay safe. We are providing a range of supportive activities for young people during this unprecedented situation – including safe contact with detached youth workers in identified communities, phone and video support, and funded activities online with access to our emotional wellbeing and mental health services.”
Jess Rudge-Welford, Operations Manager at Young Gloucestershire said, “The funding supported us to be at the heart of our community to support young people during this pandemic. Our work has involved offering a Detached Youth Work service to identify those hidden victims of COVID. This pandemic has affected young people in so many ways and we wanted to make sure we were on the ground and in the best position to support. We wanted to say a big thank you to Severnside Community Rail Partnership and CrossCountry Trains for supporting us during this crisis.”
CrossCountry’s network is the most geographically extensive passenger rail franchise in Britain. Stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, it calls at over 100 stations. Based in Birmingham, CrossCountry connects seven of the Britain’s 10 largest cities and delivers 298 services every weekday, equating to some 40 million passenger journeys a year.
CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs over 53,000 people and delivers over 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year
The Severnside Community Rail Partnership is a Community Interest Company working to develop the role communities play in their local railway, and the role the rail industry has in supporting communities. Severnside is one of around seventy Community Rail Partnerships across Britain and a member of the national umbrella organisation The Community Rail Network. The Partnership encourages the use of local trains on routes radiating from Bristol by initiating projects to promote sustainable, healthy travel, and to support diversity and inclusion and social and economic development. The Partnership is accredited by the Department for Transport.