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Blog: Making young people the priority and the part we can play

Monday 22nd February 2021

With some school pupils in Scotland starting to return to classrooms this week, perhaps we are at the beginning of the end of this extraordinarily challenging period that we have been living through. Whilst we have learnt that progress can be incredibly fragile, the vaccine roll out gives us all some grounds for optimism as we approach the Spring.

Rightly the return of pupils to schools is the key national priority. Children and young people have had a difficult 12 months, and missed out on so many different things that we have all taken for granted for so long. The kind of issues that we have been focused on tackling and addressing as youth organisations, like loneliness and social isolation, have been brought into sharper focus due to the pandemic, and it seems that we will probably be dealing with the after effects of Covid-19, particularly on mental health and wellbeing for years to come.

One of the core values of youth work, which we have been highlighting to new BB leaders taking part in our virtual Youth Leader Training courses over recent weeks, is that it is empowering.

The work of The Boys’ Brigade, like other youth organisations, is fundamentally about relationship building; it is about supporting learning, personal growth and discovery – whether through achieving badges and awards, taking part in outdoor learning, developing skills, building friendships, or nurturing independence, confidence and resilience. All of these essential components – coupled with the work in formal education – help enrich the lives and prospects of our children and young people.

Our duty of care to our young people and our volunteer leaders across the country who run BB groups will always come first – and a return to face-to-face youth work activities must be done carefully and safely. However, what youth organisations offer our children and young people has never been needed more than now – and must be in the mix of priorities for our country’s recovery from Covid-19. I believe we have an incredibly important part to play in re-empowering our children and young people in the months and years to come.

Jonathan Eales
Chief Executive
The Boys’ Brigade