EPIC Assist Charity Scotland (EPIC) first began partnering with Y-Sort It and West Dunbartonshire Council in 2019 – long before we knew that a pandemic would mean overcoming challenges and developing new resources in an uncertain world!
In 2019, we successfully delivered the Scottish Girls Project, which targeted girls aged 11-16, who were either from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds or were recently resettled refugees. The Scottish Girls Project was delivered at an introductory level, focusing on personal development topics, such as communication, self-esteem, healthy eating, exercise, body image, stress relief, and gender roles. The funding was generously provided by the Alexander Cross Cameron Bequest. EPIC and Y-Sort continued to strategically plan for another youth project in early 2020. However, the COVID-19 lockdowns impacted our ability to deliver in-person services.
In 2021, youth organisations throughout the UK began reporting that lockdown restrictions had severely impacted our young people’s mental health, confidence in their skills, and prospects for the future. Post-lockdown studies have shown that eight in ten young people (aged 16+) were deeply concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their education and 66% of youth organisations have reported an increase in demand for their services.
EPIC and Y-Sort It partnered again in 2021, to design an online project that would support young people in West Dunbartonshire struggling with lockdown restrictions. This project progressed into 2022, and Y-sort it received three sessions of a bespoke program of the EPIC International Youth Project. The three sessions of IYP included Relationships and Consent, Art and Design in the Community, and Mental Health and Wellbeing.
The project included guest consultants organised by EPIC: Dr Rebecca Foljambe from You Before 2 (funded by Population Matters) and Sheldon Chadwick Yoga/Meditation Practitioner. Participants were given an activity pack as a take-home (bag, bottle/cup, fidget spinner/pop grip, pen, printed IYP booklet chapter and mental health/mindfulness materials). Additionally, You Before 2 provided an information lanyard, bracelets, custom t-shirts, NHS information materials, and love heart sweets. Y-Sort It also received a contraceptive display kit and a consent pack FPA as the project’s legacy.