With travel restrictions, lockdowns and job losses, many young people have felt bleak and isolated this year. During COVID-19, 42% of young people report that their mental health has worsened. 51% have also suffered with loneliness (Office for National Statistics, 2020). In response to COVID-19, the Resilience Rising project was created. The project aims to help young people find purpose and feel empowered to make positive change.
The project was set up by Karen Igho, Health and Wellbeing Lead at PECT. Her vision was to create a safe space for young people in Peterborough to build resilience and improve their wellbeing. She hopes that young people will develop the tenacity needed to tackle the problems we face today, such as climate change, ecological destruction, political unease, injustice and most recently, the global pandemic.
In August, six ‘Resilience Leaders’, aged 16-25, were selected to join the project, including myself. Our interests include art, politics, environmentalism, sustainable living, mental wellbeing and spirituality. By learning positive psychology tools and attending personal development workshops on mindfulness and critical thinking, we’ve learnt how to use our interests and talents to benefit the community and provide educational outreach.
In October, the Resilience Rising team held our first event. We created a nature trail at WestRaven Community Garden to give local children an educational event during half term. Activities included arts and crafts, seed planting, pumpkin carving, pond dipping, drumming, a guided meditation, and of course, a nature trail. Other charities, including Food For Nought and Froglife, came to support us. Overall, the event was a success, raising £70 for WestRaven Community Garden!
As lockdown eases, we look forward to organising more in-person community projects. In the meantime, we’ll be holding online events to educate people about sustainable/healthy living and wellbeing.
2020 has been an isolating year, leaving many of us feeling dispirited. During the pandemic, projects like Resilience Rising provide an important outlet for young people to feel supported, connected and hopeful about the future.
If you’d like to get involved or support our project, contact the Resilience Rising team on social media, or email Karen at [email protected].