Loft Look Forward to Leaving Lockdown
After a difficult few months, the summer will be bright with the Loft whatever the weather. More than a year after having to close the doors to the Loft for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, staff look forward to being able to open them again for good.
When another lockdown was announced at the beginning of the year the Loft team were quick to move back to working online and supporting young people remotely. From January to April there were nine different weekly online groups for young people to choose from. As well as different events taking place every Friday including bake offs, gaming nights, quizzes, and art workshops to name a few, which gave young people something to look forward to at the end of the week. The online groups were made up of gaming groups, a young girls group, The Lads Lab, Young Carers, International Mentors and online workout sessions with Fit4Life. The Loft team also provided 312 one to one support sessions in the first quarter of the year.
Now that the restrictions are easing it’s possible to meet in small groups outdoors, so they have been running some groups in the town park which has been getting a great response. The team have also been busy planning the much anticipated annual summer programme which will be announced soon in line with government guidelines, and staff look forward to being able to reopen the doors to The Loft soon.
Loft Youth Worker Siobhan O’Connor shared her thoughts: “There is no doubt the last year has been challenging for us all, but especially for young people. It was great to be able to connect with so many young people online over the last few months, but we are really looking forward to providing a space for them to socialise again safely and to provide various groups and programmes across the summer months in person.” and continued “If any young people are looking to get involved in a group or are in need of some extra support, but are not sure what this might look like or how we can help, we’d encourage them to get in touch and have a chat with a member of staff. We’re really looking forward to welcoming new recruits, as well as familiar faces, into the Loft again soon.”
As restrictions ease further the Loft will also be running another cohort of The Garage Project. This is a practical project that runs weekly over five weeks, and provides an opportunity for young people aged 14+ to learn about cars, road safety and the responsibilities of being a driver on the road, as well as getting practical hands-on experience working on cars in a garage alongside two professional mechanics.
Gareth Gibson, a manager from DYS commented that: “I am often amazed at the adaptability of young people, not more so than during the uncertainty of the last year. As society has struggled with COVID the young people of The Loft have had their fair share of challenges. Thankfully, our team of staff and volunteers were equally adaptable and embraced a host of new online tools and platforms to ensure we had a constant service offering for young people. Going forward we anticipate a return to face to face youth work combined with Digital Youth Work, so I’m confident that the future is bright. Watch this space for information on the exciting summer programme.”
For more information about any LOFT programmes or services please contact the team on 0749129630, or DM The LOFT on Facebook or Instagram. You can also visit www.donegalyouthservice.ie for more information. The LOFT project is managed by Donegal Youth Service and Foróige and is funded by Tusla.