Will Cole, (former) Head of Programme Development, shares what we are doing in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 and why he's optimistic about the future.

"I want to start by sending out our best wishes to everyone, especially those on the front line because without their love, sacrifice and dedication, the effects of this pandemic would be even more devastating.

I have been a youth worker for over 15 years so I’ve come across my fair share of challenges ranging from funding, service closures, incarceration of young people, riots and more. But even during those tough times I always believed that we could overcome our obstacles and bounce back in some way or another.

Now, facing the outbreak of COVID-19 is a new and unprecedented challenge, and it does scare me, but I still maintain that same feeling of hope. There is intrinsic resilience embedded in us as individuals and as a society and we will come out of this stronger and wiser – which is certainly our aim at Power2. Since I joined Power2 in 2015 we have always been asking each other:  

How can we better support young people to achieve their full potential?

This question is always at the forefront of our minds, but even more so during the current circumstances. We know that some young people are going to need considerable support to get back on track after this crisis, both now and in the future. We’ve been working tirelessly over the past two months to adapt our services and to use this opportunity to develop and learn as an organisation. So despite the chaos caused by COVID-19 and the fact we can’t offer face-to-face support to young people, there have been some positives for Power2:

  • Our London Youth Panel is in full swing - Panel members are regularly meeting with different departments to advise and to help us highlight the voices and experiences of young people and advocate on their behalf.
  • We are delivering virtual Young Leaders sessions via video-calls to continue to support the needs and development of the young people we work with.
  • We are producing and sharing more content on our social media channels. We are using Instagram to provide regular touch points with our audience, sharing useful resources and interactive challenges. We are in touch with more young people than ever before via social media.
  • We will launch a 1-1 support line for young people with specific needs, providing check-ups, support and advice.
  • We are reviewing how we assess the efficacy of our programmes and services, and how we measure progress for the young people we support.
  • We are asking young people and their teachers what extra support they need to be ready for their return to school and beyond.

While there have been many positives, it’s important to acknowledge that things are very difficult for us all at the moment. But I say ‘moment’ because it will come to an end and when it does, we will emerge as a better and stronger organisation, supporting more young people to get back on track and re-engage with their education."

Will Cole

(Former) Head of Impact & Programme Development, Power2