Supporting young people in a pandemic: A keyworker's view - YMCA DownsLink Group

Supporting young people in a pandemic: A keyworker’s view

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During the first lockdown in May 2020, one of our amazing resident Project Workers Karina was featured on BBC South East talking about the personal sacrifices she was making to keep working with our young people during the pandemic – including moving away from home and into temporary accommodation to keep her family safe. You can read the blog that inspired the feature here. Karina works in one of our 24/7 staffed supported accommodation projects, housing young people that would otherwise be homeless.

We caught up with her recently to find out what has changed for her since, and to learn more about being a keyworker during the pandemic. Karina writes:

“So here we are in lockdown number three!!!!

“It’s been a strange time and I still can’t get used to the new normal. Work life has been very changeable and at times a challenge but the resilience of both staff and residents has been inspiring.

“During the first lockdown I had 14 weeks of no hugs with my favourite little human (my granddaughter) who is without doubt the best therapeutic being I am lucky enough to have around. This time we are in a bubble and this is most definitely making the cold weather and restrictions easier to cope with.

“It has been nearly a year since I have seen my son but I’m happy in the knowledge that he is safe and well. I have watched my daughter adapting to become a great teacher to my granddaughter and I also enjoy joining in with the home schooling. I feel blessed to have such a loving family and I have made a permanent home move to be closer to my family and work which has been so helpful.

“This journey has been and continues to be a learning experience – it has its ups and downs but at least it is never boring.

“I work with a fabulous team who never fail to keep me smiling. I do think on a regular basis that one day, any day now, the TV crew will jump out and tell us all we have been in a new version of the Truman Show…

“Keep smiling people.”


YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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