Social distancing has presented challenges for everyone in some way, not least the prisons estate, but it has been vital in reducing the spread of coronavirus and saving people’s lives.
Here at Feltham Young Offender Institution, Youth Justice Workers have had to think and act creatively in how to keep the children and young people in our care mentally, physically and emotionally engaged, all while practising social distancing to keep them safe.
The staff – many of who are studying for a foundation degree in youth justice - have risen to the challenge in keeping spirits high during this tough time, drawing heavily on their interpersonal skills.
We have been using our initiative organising brain teaser games and quizzes to keep the children and young people stimulated. Our gym department runs challenging but energising activities on the exercise yards, and our education partners have produced learning packs so studying can continue.
Ensuring such activities can take place plays an important role in young people’s mental health, wellbeing, and productivity, and increases effective engagement between us. My job as a Youth Justice Worker means supporting those in our care to help them change their lives for the better.
The staff, children and young people at Feltham Young Offender Institution have really shown how their positive mindset is the foundation to our resilience.
Announced this week by Justice Minister Lucy Frazer, all Youth Justice Workers will become a Youth Justice Specialist after completing degree-level training.