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Youth Workers Michelle Moore and Warren McNamara (Photo Stephen Sharpe)

There is no doubt the challenges presented by the Covid19 pandemic has impacted us all at some level. But I can’t imagine much argument at the suggestion young people have had it particularly difficult, with every aspect of their lives directly impacted by the knock-on effects of public health restrictions.

Throughout Dublin, thousands of young people attend local youth services as an opportunity to engage in peer support, personal development and other support services. Unfortunately, these vital community supports have felt the full brunt of the pandemic, like so many other essential services.

St John Bosco Youth Centre (Photograph by Stephen Sharpe)

This week the Sharpe Edge Community News visited the St John Bosco Youth Centre to get the views of the services youth work staff.

Michelle Moore, a youth worker within the centre, discussed the pandemic’s initial impact on the service and the challenges in maintaining interaction with young people.

At the beginning, it was really taken away from us; we were back to the drawing board, we were working from home with laptops and phones. So we really had to reinvent the wheel, reinvent how we interacted with young people.”

Michelle Moore

Youth worker Warren McNamara identified the loss of face to face contact and the transition to online interaction as the most challenging aspect of working throughout the pandemic.

Covid impacted our face to face work with young people and then obviously learning to adapt to working digitally with young people.

Warren McNamara

In a detailed conversation with The Sharpe Edge Community News, Michelle and Warren discussed how circumstances evolved and changed since the onset of the pandemic. Yes, the last fourteen months have had a pernicious impact on society. Still, the consensus of staff within the St John Bosco Youth service is that things are improving, With Warren McNamara now seeing “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Michelle Moore shares this positivity and explains the indicators that lead her to believe the curtain is slowly descending on the pandemic.

“I think we are starting to move out of the pandemic; I can see it with restrictions within our work. We are now allowed to work with fifteen young people outside, and that’s a very good starting point, a massive positive in our line of work. We are even projecting that by late summer we will be back within the centre, so it’s getting where we want it to be”.

Michelle Moore

This sentiment is also shared by Trinity College student Liam Cronin who is currently undertaking a college practice placement within the St John Bosco Youth Centre.

“Yes, I think things are optimistic, we are moving in the right direction, there are lots of great projects and programmes coming up, it’s going to be great to get involved”.

Liam Cronin

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