29 May 2020
During this time of crisis; vulnerable students still need education, apprentices still need training, young people are still at risk of being exploited, individuals in prison still need rehabilitation support and individuals with barriers to work are still looking for employment. We’re still here for them.
- Day 1: Apprenticeships
- Day 2: Digital launch of our Annual Review
- Day 3: Remote Education
- Day 4: The Social Switch Project and launching our Online Harms Consultation
- Day 5: Victim Services
- Day 6: Child Exploitation Services
- Day 7: National Citizen Service (NCS)
- Day 8: Youth Employment
- Day 9: Offender Management
- Day 10: Care leavers in a Covid-19 world
- Day 11: Gang intervention services
- Day 12: Learning at Work
- Day 13: Community Links
- Day 14: Mental Health in Prisons
- Day 15: Incubate, Accelerate, Amplify
- Day 16: Education
- Day 17: The Hive
- Day 18: Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Unit
- Day 19: Driving Policy Change
- Day 20: Round up
Day 20: Round up
During this time of crisis, individuals and communities still need support. We’re still here for them.
Over the last month, the Catch22 Lockdown Diaries have taken a snapshot of activity from across our services. Our staff have described the challenges of working under lockdown conditions – whether that be in a prison setting, in schools or when delivering services for young people. But more importantly, they’ve shown just how determined they are to make sure the people who need our services can still access them – and their creativity in delivering despite the circumstances.
Watch this short clip below where we show how services across Catch22 have adapted to Covid-19 circumstances.
Read this blog from our CEO, Chris Wright, which looks at the ways in which each of our Hubs has adapted over the course of lockdown, and what we hope to see continue in a post-COVID-19 world.
If you’d like to hear more about how we are continuing to adapt to support those who use our services over the coming weeks and months, please follow us on our social media channels and subscribe to our monthly newsletter. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Day 19: Driving Policy Change
Vulnerable people still need advocates: we’re here for them
The current lockdown measures have put particular strain on people who are already vulnerable; victims of crime, children from troubled families and those leaving care, to name a few. At Catch22, our endgame is to reform public services. We aim to use the experience of our frontline staff and service users to inform policy making and drive policy change.
We’ve responded to a number of policy consultations and pushing for policy change in a number of areas, including:
- Children’s social care: responding to a Department for Education consultation on the unregulated children’s care homes
- Vulnerable children during Covid19: a consultation launched by the Education Select Committee that we’re responding to based on the experience of our teachers and in consultation with parents
- Victims Code: we held a roundtable with the victims lead at the Ministry of Justice and are feeding into the consultation on how the new victims code can be most effective
- Online harms: the Home Office ran a short consultation on the online harms white paper – we’ve responded and are running our own consultation on the topic to glean the views of those working directly with young people
We’re also working on policy relating to youth unemployment, flexibility of the apprenticeship levy and digital exclusion; all of which have been brought into stark focus during the lockdown period.
Take a look at our news pages and social media channels over the coming weeks for details of our policy submissions. And read more about our reform agenda here.
Day 18: Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Unit
The Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Unit provides early intervention and preventative measures for young people at risk of being drawn into or harmed by gangs; and they offer support for entrenched gang members to move on and out through viable alternatives.
Usually they are regularly working one-on-one with the people they support but for now, they are limited to video and phone calls. Here, James Gwilt, a support worker in the team, shares his thoughts:
“Whether it’s been a 5 minute call asking how they are, reassuring them over concerns they’re seeing in the news, or letting them have a rant about their home environment, at Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Unit, we are maintaining these really important relationships we have built with young people at risk.
“During a conversation with one of the young people, he explained that an already frail relationship with his mom was at breaking point, and that they were struggling to co–exist within the home. He had said he was contemplating “going O.T” (a reference to ‘out there’ or ‘outta town’ – to county lines drug trafficking).
“I had called him at just the right time, as our calls are more regular now; I reminded him of all the hard work and progress he had made at college and in other aspects of life, and kept him focussed on the potential life he could be making for himself. He eventually calmed down and spoke to his mom about the issues he had been having, as I advised him. Since that call, he has remained in good spirits. I’ve worked with his youth offending team worker and other agencies, to ensure they are aware of the risk levels. Despite the current limitations to in-person work, the continuing collaboration has stopped a potentially disastrous outcome.
“I believe the relationships we have formed with the young people can be the life changing intervention they need. Some of us in the Wolverhampton team have lived experience in this area and we want these young people to have a realistic view of some of the criminal lifestyles being portrayed through social media and music culture. So much of the young person’s ideologies have gone unchallenged until we work with them.
“For these at-risk individuals, having someone they can still to talk to – someone they’ve built trust in – means that even if they don’t have a voice at home, they have one with us.”
Read more about the Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Unit’s work here
Day 17: The Hive
The Hive is a free health and wellbeing service that supports all young people aged 16 to 24 in Camden. The centre hasn’t been physically open during the lockdown period, but staff have been thinking creatively about how they support our young people remotely during Coronavirus crisis – meaning the Hive is very much still up and running.
Krystal Donaldson, Catch22’s Hub Manager at the Hive outlines how the service has adapted:
- 121 service: Young people are still receiving 121 support with their worker. This has been remotely by offering a young person the choice to have sessions via a telephone call, through WhatsApp video call, Skype or a texting session.
- Social hub: We’ve launched an online Hive platform on Zoom for young people to feel connected and have a positive distraction. We run two different sessions a week which have elements of hot topic discussions, raising young people’s awareness, having fun team games and doing quizzes.
- Check-in telephone calls: Due to our ongoing waiting list, staff members are now doing check in telephone calls to young people on our waiting list to reach out to them and reassure them that the hive is thinking of them and will be offering our support soon
- At risk young people: If a young person is in a crisis, the clinical team leads have been doing offsite sessions safely with the right precautions in place.
- Youth board:The youth board is still going and we continue to champion young people having their voices heard; maintaining our ethos of a co–produced service. The youth board now meets once a month on Zoom.
- Social enterprise: Young people (Hive Camden tour guides) are working with the social enterprise manager remotely and are having regular Zoom meetings. They are thinking of a brand new way of working by designing together a virtual tour which still can engage people and maintain their profile of the walking London22 Camden tours
- Employment sessions: The social enterprise manager is still offering 121 employment sessions with young people remotely
- Hive Instagram: We have been more active on our Hive Instagram account and upload open topic discussions (such as ‘give us tips to help cope during lockdown) each week for young people to make comments below. In addition, we’re using the Instagram Direct message feature. If young people would like to speak to a member of staff they can reach out this way. During lockdown, Instagram has been a new way of engaging young people with support as opposed to before when Instagram was used primarily as a platform to promote our service.
Day 16: Education – adapting in lockdown and beyond
Vulnerable students still need education. We’re here for them.
Catch22 schools have still been operating nationwide throughout the lockdown. Many of our pupils have special educational needs and without the wrap-around support we’re able to give them at school, their lives would be a lot more difficult.
Our schools are still open right now supporting vulnerable students. Roxanne is a former student of Catch22’s Include Norfolk and is now studying law. Roxanne talks about her experience:
“When I was 14, I was moved to Norwich Include, which was the best decision I‘ve ever made, even to this day. The staff formed a close relationship with us all in order for us to feel safe so that our behaviour would be stable. In all honesty, it felt like one big family. They believed in me and gave me the chance to do one GCSE.
“I remember at the age of 15, seeing the injustice around me it made me realise that people just need one person to give them a chance. I am now studying to be a solicitor. I am so pleased Catch22 was there for me.”
Read this blog from our Education CEO Jane Reed on how Catch22’s schools have adapting during the lockdown period – and how some of the changes that have been made we want to continue post-lockdown.
Day 15: Incubate, Accelerate, Amplify Programme
Catch22’s programme supports social entrepreneurs who are challenging how services are delivered. Meet the ventures we are supporting from our last cohort and how they are adapting to the current circumstances:
Offploy – Jacob Hill
Offploy is a social enterprise, founded by Jacob Hill, to help those with convictions secure meaningful, mentored and sustainable employment and lead a positive life. While he prepares for the delivery of contracts later this year, once lockdown has lifted, Jacob continues to work closely with Catch22 to build and share relationships across the organisation and externally.
Jacob was awarded a Churchill Fellowship just prior to lockdown, where he was supposed to be exploring justice systems in Brazil and Singapore right now. However, with the travel restrictions currently in place, Jacob is now using this time to speak to the teams in both countries, to learn more about their approaches to rehabilitation, so he can make the most of his visit when he can travel again.
Devie – Puja Balachander
Devie is a caring AI coach who supports every parent to be the parent they want to be. She has daily mini chats where she shares learning activities, gives guidance on parenting challenges, and provides emotional support through the highs and lows of parenting.
The closure of childcare centres and the shift to remote work have made parent support more urgent than ever. Already set up remotely, Puja and her team have accelerated product development and are building their user community to meet parents’ needs during the lockdown.
Youth Ink – Mifta Choudhury
Youth Ink is a forum operating in the heart of communities and led by people with experience of the criminal justice system. Using the power of peer networks to rehabilitate, Youth Ink creates safer communities for the future.
Due to the lockdown and the closure of Southwark Youth Offending Service, Youth Ink had to temporarily suspend delivery but Mifta used the time to strengthen their strategy, including redevelopment of the website. As Southwark YOS is now preparing to reopen, so is Youth Ink – all in line with government advice.
Recrewt – Tracy Hammond
Recrewt is recruitment agency with a social purpose, integrating people with learning disabilities into the active labour force.
Tracy has been working remotely with Measuring the Good to develop and implement impact measurement tools. Focused upon core strategy, lockdown has been utilised to create a roadmap for Recrewt in Croydon.
Watch this short clip from our Venture Coordinators on how they are helping our ventures adapt to digital delivery.
Day 14: Mental Health in Prisons
At Catch22 we are acutely aware of the impact isolation is having on young people.
Mental health in prisons is already a serious concern, with Ministry of Justice data showing that self-harm incidents reached a record high of 63,328 in the 12 months to December 2019, a 14% increase on the previous 12 months.
The majority of the young people we work with have already lacked meaningful relationships, and to isolate them further due to lockdown will only be exacerbating mental health issues.
The young peoples’ routines have drastically changed, with reduced support agencies engaging with them, less, if any, education programmes, and no visits from friends or family.
While physical contact has been reduced, this shouldn’t mean that communication is reduced. And more than that, we need to see this as an opportunity to explore rehabilitative opportunities for young people in the justice system.
By reviewing rigid and risk averse security procedures, we could use technology to engage young people in purposeful activity – they could access more education, particularly during periods of disruption, such as now; they could access mental health support, intervention programmes, and could maximise contact with approved family members.
We know segregation does nothing to support the rehabilitation of young offenders. There is nothing more impactful than the right support people to turn someone’s life around, so in no way should people be replaced by robots. However, prisons need to modernise; they need to make use of the technology that is available to ensure those in institutions are making constructive use of their time. There’s never been a more relevant time to consider this.
Jasmine Gregory works at HMP Thameside and has been developing materials for the young people’s mental health. Watch her short clip to hear more.
Day 13: Community Links
East London residents still need support. We’re here for them.
Newham is one of the Boroughs hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Community Links, part of the Catch22 group, is there to support. Bina Patel, Fundraising Manager at Community Links, explains how they’ve been adapting and helping the most vulnerable, during lockdown…
“At Community Links we’ve been working to support those in crisis by providing free advice services around housing, debt, welfare benefits, consumer and employment law, as well as providing an emergency food service. These are critical services as families and individuals have been faced with impossible choices caused by the pandemic and the lockdown.
Our mission however remains to build solutions, not palliatives – we’ve been working with the community remotely to continue building confidence and inspiring agency through our Create Your Future employability and personal development programme. Our schools based More than Mentors peer support programmes has pivoted to remote delivery. During the pandemic, we also successfully launched our annual Small Grants scheme to fund local grassroots projects.
We believe that although the pandemic has shaken the foundations of normality, this too shall pass. However, the root causes of societal inequality – lack of skills, training, role-models, education and gainful employment – will remain. In fact, the impacts of the pandemic are likely to make them even more entrenched and seemingly intractable. So our work is very much balanced between supporting the community in the here and now, while being prepared to best serve the community in the future.”
Day 12: Learning at Work
Updating our Mandatory Training offer
When lockdown measures were put in place, the Catch22 learning and development team worked quickly to cancel all upcoming in-person training events for the coming months to ensure that staff could be kept safe. Whilst some learning is already completed in our online learning environment (for example, GDPR training), this created new challenges as they moved to establishing how they could run their mandatory face-to-face training sessions online too.
When asked about the experience, Zoe Leonard, Training Manager at Catch22 said:
“The current circumstances have definitely pushed us to think outside the box and, moving forward post-COVID-19, we may have more time to broaden our offer if we are doing things in a more effective way. There will obviously always be a place for group / face-to-face learning, but we are now more likely to consider alternative ways of delivering.”
She tells us below about the specific changes that they have been making, and how they think this will impact future delivery.
Our regular induction events enable staff to physically meet colleagues from across the organisation and learn about the range of other services that Catch22 runs. At the start of lockdown, we made the decision to postpone these face–to–face events to later in the year, but are now looking at how we can run some of the main elements of these days using digital tools if social distancing continues for a long time. This will involve a lot of planning to logistically sequence different staff into an online event in a seamless way.
Equality and Diversity training
Utilising skills learned through some training that the team completed, the Learning and Development team have converted their equality and diversity training package into an interactive session. Making use of quizzes to make the training enjoyable (and competitive), along with the chat function and ability to share screens, they can ensure that learners are engaged throughout – not just staring at their screens.
Having seen the impact that these changes have had in enabling them to deliver material in a creative and effective manner, and based on early feedback from learners who have completed the training, we are now looking at continuing to deliver the topic in this way going forward.
Our Safeguarding Team have been active in converting their safeguarding training into an online session via Microsoft Teams. At the same time, support is also being provided to any Designated Safeguarding Leads who wish to deliver safeguarding training themselves using our online platforms.
In addition to moving our mandatory learning online, the Learning and Development team are also working on a number of projects to support managers as well as the wider workforce.
For managers, we are currently working on bitesize online workshops on topics such as getting the most out of your team, emotional intelligence, having difficult conversations, setting objectives and giving feedback. Managers would normally be encouraged to attend a full day of face–to–face training around supervision, so we are breaking that content down and making it accessible during the current situation.
We are also working on a webinar for managers on how to manage teams remotely. This webinar will be part of the wider ongoing webinar programme we are running during lockdown – for which the Learning and Development team recently ran a session for all staff about managing mental health during this time.
Day 11: Gang intervention services
Our Catch22 rehabilitation teams in HMP Thameside are classed as essential workers during the current crisis. They work with prisoners to ensure their needs are met in the lead up to release, to mitigate risks and to ensure rehabilitation.
The team at HMP Thameside have been working on a rotating roster to ensure social distancing can be maintained, meaning one half of the team works from home one week and then they are in the prison the next.
At the prison, the Gangs in Prison service identifies the specific nature and impact of gang involvement in the establishment, and develops targeted intervention informed by local context and experience. Their service focusses on offering alternatives to gangs, a strategy which research suggests is more effective than the suppression-only approach used in many prisons.
You can read more on our Gangs in Prison service and our R.O.A.D (Rehabilitation Offering Another Direction) programme here.
Sharing learnings with other services
Simon Grant is from the HMP Thameside teams and, during his work from home week, he presented a webinar to Catch22 services across the UK on gang involvement identification and prevention.
The webinar resulted in some interesting questions from staff across all services, not just prisons, on how we can both recognise the signs of gang involvement, intervene when necessary, and most importantly, prevent the antisocial or violent behaviour.
Particularly relevant for youth workers, here are some of Simon’s responses:
What are the warning signs of potentially antisocial gang involvement?
Warning signs can come in many different formats. At school, you may see obvious signs such as threatening or violent behaviour towards other students, truanting from school, or refusal to attend school altogether. Disengagement from learning or from the student’s usual friend group can be subtle signs something is wrong.
Behaviour may change significantly, such as not returning home until late at night, having a significant change in language or clothing, or using gang-affiliated signs. Substance misuse or being the victim or perpetrator of violent, property or drug related crimes. The sudden use of ‘street names’ or associating with peers known be involved in criminal activity are all warning signs.
What can I do to support young people who I think may be at risk of gang involvement?
- Spend time with young people and build a trusting relationship. Too often we rush into finding solutions but sometimes it’s better to slow down and focus on listening and building an understanding of what the person’s background is and who they spend their time with. Who do they look up to? What music do they like? And why?
- Engage proactively with families, schools and multi-agency services. If you’re working in the community, connect with others who can help you build a greater understanding of the bigger picture.
- Have time and patience to let young people open up and change their lives at a pace that works with them. It can be difficult to not see a quick change, but tiny steps can result in huge change long-term.
- Implement programmes aimed at violence reduction and finding prosocial activities.
- Ensure all your team have a good understanding of the warning signs of negative peer relationships, such as disengagement from education, violent incidences at school, truanting or going missing, and withdrawing from family or usual friends.
What’s your view on how we can help young people who are being exploited into criminal behaviour to recognise themselves as victims who are entitled to support? How do you think we can do that sensitively and respectfully without making them feel disempowered?
Many people say young adults are hard to reach but I don’t agree – I think some services can be too hard to reach. There are so many services out there that could be going into communities. When the service is the one trying to build the relationship, do we need to bring a young person into an office or somewhere they are uncomfortable?
It goes back to having empathy and an understanding of their background. Take the time to talk, to work towards their strengths and not on the things they’re disengaged with.
It’s our responsibility to reach out and to build trust. When you say you’re going to do something to find this person an alternative pathway, such as employment or an apprenticeship, you must follow through. Often, these individuals have been repeatedly let down before and haven’t seen an alternative route.
It we take the time and effort to help these individuals, we will empower them. If you just tell them to do something but no one is motivating them to do it, it’s a lot harder to get an outcome.
If you just tell them to go to college, we just won’t get a response. It’s about joining them on their journey.
Day 10: Care leavers in a Covid-19 world
Bright Light is a programme being delivered by Catch22 and the Children’s Society and funded by The Clothworker’s Foundation. It is focussed on supporting care leavers into apprenticeships and to understand barriers associated with this to develop solutions, share learnings and to influence national policy.
The programme has been running for 6 months, but the last two months of lockdown have meant a whole host of new challenges both for those on the programme and those delivering it. With no face to face contact with service users and a reducing pool of jobs available to support them into, yesterday we hosted a session bringing together career coaches, employers, national and local government – and crucially care leavers themselves. A new reality: working with care leavers in a Covid-19 world saw people share experiences and practical solutions to overcoming the challenged of the current climate – with the findings now being fed into Government. Representatives from Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education, Health Education England and the Greater London Authority all attended the session.
Catch22’s National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (NLCBF) is a network of over 100 local authorities promoting the development of quality leaving care services with member authorities and partner organisations through a process of benchmarking and shared learning on a national scale. Its aim is to enrich outcomes for our nations care leavers.
Watch this short clip from Nat O’Brien, Senior Project Coordinator, talk about how lockdown is affecting the work he does with care leavers for the NLCBF.
Day 9: Offender Management
Catch22 works in 18 prisons – supporting over 38,000 prisoners each year.
One of the services we offer is offender management – and in fact we’re the only offender management unit in the UK delivered by a third sector organisation. Our teams work with prisoners to identify the root causes of offending. We have experts in substance misuse, gambling, mental health and gangs.
Stephanie Cavaco is Catch22’s Resettlement Cluster Manager – working across our services in HMP Thameside, HMP/YOI Isis and HMP/YOI Feltham. In this short video, she describes how challenging circumstances of lockdown have really brought staff together and driven innovative.
With prisons currently in full lockdown, it’s meant our staff in prisons haven’t been able to get have the usual contact with service users. We’ve adapted by making use of in-cell technology (where it exists) and developing learning and education packs that can be delivered to cells.
Our Senior Case Manager at HMP Thameside, Tasha Sweeney, describes in this short clip how lockdown has meant communicating with prisoners in different ways.
Ruth Aheto, who also works at HMP Thameside as a Custody Case Manager, says that in some ways, lockdown has been a blessing in disguise – offering time to reflect. Watch her video here.
View and download our Justice Booklet to find out more about the broad range of work that our staff do in this area.
Day 8: Youth Employment
Digital Edge programme in partnership with Microsoft UK
There are major concerns about the effect of the pandemic on the employment prospects of young people. At Catch22, our employability services have been adapting to support those who need jobs – and one such as example is our Digital Edge programme.
Delivered in partnership with Microsoft, Digital Edge is a four-week pre-apprenticeship training programme to support young people from underserved communities access a digital apprenticeship with a local employer within Microsoft’s network of customers and partners.
Watch this short clip, where our Digital Edge Programme Lead, Rezaul Islam, describes how digital delivery of the programme is progressing.
Youth Employment Group
Catch22 is a member of the newly formed Youth Employment Group – which comprises more than 70 youth charities, employment groups and experts – has been set up to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in the wake of COVID-19. Its aim is to provide a cross-sector emergency response to rising concerns about the economic and educational impact of coronavirus on young people.
Read more about The Youth Employment Group here
Day 7: National Citizen Service
his year, Catch22 is biggest delivery partner of the National Citizen Service (NCS) – and last year we had nearly 5000 people on the programme.
We deliver a four-phase programme giving young people the opportunity to meet new friends, learn new skills and make a difference in their community. Participants improve communication skills, work in a team and develop as leaders, in line with the NCS aim of developing a more cohesive, engaged and responsible society.
NCS is usually highly interactive, with outdoor activities and team working tasks. Lockdown has ruled that kind of delivery out, but we’re engaging participants in different ways:
In the run up to Action Day, the NCS team shared our Random Acts of Kindness BINGO card with the young people signed up to their programmes via email, encouraging them to do something nice for someone else whilst staying safe at home.
Young people were encouraged to share their kind acts throughout the day using #CatchKindness, and the NCS teams took part on their social media channels too.
On the day, the team launched their Action Hours challenges – one hour per region, where they set their young people a challenge to do something kind, something active, or just something silly along with the NCS teams.
- Hero Hour involved thanking key workers and people/charities/organisations supporting communities during lockdown.
- Lockdown Olympics had a set of challenges where young people were competing for the high score – e.g. most times they managed to keep a toilet roll in the air.
- For Pets at Home, everyone was encouraged to share pictures of the pets keeping them company in lockdown.
- Be Brave, Be Busy encouraged everyone to learn something new that they’ve always been nervous to try.
- For the Dance Challenge, the team choreographed a dance routine and set everyone a challenge of learning it and posting their attempts online.
- Finally, Couch Potato asked young people to get creative and make a person out of a potato – or something else they could find lying around in their kitchen.
Day 6: Child Exploitation Services
A lockdown situation can make vulnerable children even more vulnerable. Catch22 works with children who are being exploited – whether that’s sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation – and those who go missing from home.
Our teams in Merseyside, Derby and Derbyshire and Stoke and Staffordshire would normally do a lot of face to face work with young people, helping them talk about their experiences, seek legal help where necessary and help them rebuild their lives.
We heard last week that our Pan Merseyside child exploitation service contract has been extended until March 2022 – which is testimony to the hard work of the team. Read this blog from Vikki Mckenna, Senior Coordinator at Catch22’s Pan Merseyside Child Exploitation Service describing how the team is continuing to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable children and young people.
Listen to Marc Stevens, Service Manager for Catch22’s new Derby and Derbyshire CARES programme describe how it’s harder to connect with young victims during this period – but using technology is helping enormously.
Sarah Parker from Catch22’s Stoke and Staffordshire CSE service says that some children are locked down in abuse households which is a real concern – so we’re having to find innovative ways to check in and ensure they’re supported.
Day 5: Victim Services
Supporting victims of fraud
The Catch22 justice team works across a range of settings – and today we’re focusing on our work with victims.
Ellie delivered a live webinar to all our Catch22 colleagues to talk about how Catch22’s Hertfordshire Beacon service has helped victims of fraud. Beacon set up a Fraud Hub last year and as of this week, we’ve clawed back more than £300,000 for victims, by supporting them in knowing their rights.
Jas Purewal, Specialist Restorative Justice caseworker who works in our Leicestershire Victim Care service, tells us the service is very much still open for victims, despite the current climate.
You can read more about our work with victims in this short booklet
Day 4: The Social Switch Project
Catch22 launched The Social Switch Project last year, with Redthread and supported by Google.org. The project opens up digital career opportunities for the most at-risk young people in London, empowers frontline professionals to talk to young people about social media, and funds the best grassroots ideas from young people that would encourage prosocial action.
Like every service, we’ve had some challenges recently – we can’t have 50 professionals in one room holding robust discussions, nor can we be offering our full-time course to the young people we work with, so we’ve had to seriously rethink our delivery since the lockdown.
But, we’ve done it! We’re using our grants pool to support those projects which do or could deliver support digitally with our help. We’ve held our first training sessions via online video platforms and, with so much of the programme built on facilitating robust discussions and building close relationships with the young people we work with, we’re still keeping these most important aspects going.
You can find out more or register for a session at The Social Switch Project website
In this #LockdownDiaries short clip Christina Hicks, Programme Manager for Social Switch Project talks us through the changes they have had to make to the programme during Covid-19.
Watch this short clip from Penny Patterson, Senior Inspector of Safeguarding for Havering School Improvement Service, who took part in the first digitally delivered session.
Online Harms Consultation
Catch22 services across youth violence, children at risk of exploitation, and in schools, are acutely aware of the potential harms of increasing, often unsupervised, internet use. Across Merseyside, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Derby and Derbyshire, staff are still supporting young people at risk, and supporting their families.
To successfully evolve these services thought, and to ensure programmes like The Social Switch Project are able to prevent harm and adequately prepare professionals for the conversations they may need to have, we must all work together to share knowledge on what research exists and what initiatives are already working.
That is why today we have launched our Online Harms Consultation. It follows our Online Harms: Education or Regulation? event we held last month, attended by Ofcom, Google, Redthread, and Open University researchers. Whether you are building the platforms of the future, using the platforms of today, whether you need our services, or if you’re a leader in commissioning services, we want to establish how child exploitation and youth violence is impacted by online behaviour.
Please take 10 minutes to share your thoughts.
Day 3: Remote Education
Catch22 runs five independent alternative provision schools and seven as part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). We also run nine Colleges, offering learning and training opportunities for students who, for whatever reason, don’t want to stay in a traditional academic environment.
The lockdown period has thrown the education system into disarray, with the vast majority of pupils no longer attending schools and colleges in person. But for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers, schools remain open.
Catch22 is delivering learning both within our schools and colleges but also via digital means.
Watch this short clip from Alex Stoddart, Operations Manager at Catch22 Colleges, on how we’re adapting to ensure learners still get the support they need.Our College pupils have been full or praise for the adaptations made to their learning. Take a look at some of their feedback in this short animation.
Not only are we concerned at how the lack of facetime may further disadvantage the education progress of children – we’re concerned about their mental and physical wellbeing. Ensuring that learners have work they can access and know where to turn to for support is vital.
Watch our Executive Principal for MAT, Dave Moran, talk about how using platform such as Microsoft Teams has helped overcome the challenges of not being able to teach face to face in his #LockdownDiaries entry
Day 2: Digital launch of our Annual Review
Last year, the Catch22 family touched the lives of more than 110,000 people. Our 1,750 employees work across the country in justice settings, with young people in families, in schools and colleges, with people trying to find work and on the hugely successful National Citizen Service programme.
Today we launch our annual review which is based around some of the real life stories of people we’ve worked with in the last 12 months.
In lockdown, the work we do has never been more needed. The effects of the pandemic have hit vulnerable people the hardest. More people are looking for jobs, more still are needing to reskill or upskill to meet the changing needs of the job markets, domestic abuse is on the rise and with education being largely delivered digitally, those who are digitally excluded are set to be disadvantaged even further.
All our services are continuing during lockdown and you can read more about what that looks like in our future diary entries.
In the meantime, read the full Review of the Year 2019 or take a look below at our interactive digital summary, which highlights voices from the frontline who tell the story of our impact.
Day 1: Apprenticeships
Did you know that last year Catch22 worked with 80 employers to support nearly 400 apprentices – in fields such as Housing and Property Management, Customer Services and Business Administration?
The current lockdown measures mean we’ve had to rethink how we deliver. All our training and assessments are now being done digitally which is proving a real success. Employers are more aware of just how intense apprenticeships can be as they’re sitting in on presentations and assessments. They’re realising how valuable the skills of an apprentice can be to their business. Apprentices are also benefiting from more face time with tutors. We’re also tailoring modules to fit the current climate; including covering topics such as handling angry or difficult customers and managing expectations.
Read more from our Housing Tutor Stuart Shield on how moving to digital is benefiting both employers and apprentices in his short blog.
From the many conversations we have with employers, students, parents and employees, it’s clear that some myths around apprenticeships persist. These include the idea that apprenticeships are only for young people, that they’re on available for trades and that there’s little advantage for businesses in taking on an apprentice.
During lockdown it’s even more important we bust these myths; as apprentices could be key to getting businesses back on their feet.
View this clip from our Employer Engagement Advisor, Yan Couper-Harris explaining how businesses with a wage bill of over £3 million can make the most of the apprenticeship levy to upskill staff and hire new recruits.
Read our Director of Vocational Training Chris Stoker-Jones’s piece in FE news which busts some of the most common apprenticeship myths.