Cath Corkhill of Drop Zone with Andrew Travis of Barrow Police, when they received the CAP+ Award for Barrow CAP at our annual celebration at the House of Lords in January.
We know that in the current lockdown, many communities are concerned about underage and young adult drinking.
Because of social distancing rules, a lot of CAP activities have necessarily been put on hold, such as the launch of new CAPs and community meetings. But we’re hearing from CAPs around the country about innovative ways they are tackling the issue.
In Barrow, one of the CAP’s partners is Drop Zone Youth Projects, which provides a safe place for youngsters to meet and build their communication skills, self-esteem and emotional resilience. It provides education for young people who don’t attend mainstream schools and offers diversionary activities that have been shown to reduce anti-social behaviour locally.
After the centre closed at the end of March, the challenge for managers Cath Corkhill and Sue Johnson was to deliver as many of their services as possible remotely.
“Our main aim is to keep in touch with youngsters and their families during this time. We text parents every week, and are keeping our education courses going with Zoom lessons and online chats,“ says Cath.
The centre also supports around 60 young people through its youth work delivery. Cath says: “Delivering youth activities is tougher, but we’re maintaining contact with our young people and providing puzzles, quizzes, artwork projects like our Easter Egg design competition and sharing resources like Smashed Online, which is a great e-learning tool about the dangers of underage drinking.”
“Some of the families we work with can't afford computers or mobile devices, so we’ve also provided free laptops and tablets to help young people learn from home during the lockdown. And we’re very excited to be involved in setting up a cross-Cumbria online platform, working with organisations across the county to provide a resource hub for young people and everyone working with them.”
Drop Zone was recently awarded £250 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund to offer online youth and education activities for its young people who are currently on lockdown. But Cath says future funding is a concern. “I just hope that out of this will come a recognition of the vital role that third sector organisations provide – and the need to support projects like ours that ensure young people have access to the help they need when they need it most.”