We’ve seen firsthand the impact of lockdown and COVID restrictions on young people trying to build a new life in the UK. The particular context of displacement means many have been disproportionately affected by the isolation and the lack of routine, exercise and meaningful face-to-face interactions with their peers and adults. Like most organisations working in this field, we have been especially concerned about increased reliance on online sources, and the long term impact on mental health of prolonged uncertainty and lack of hope.
The message from the team at Jamie’s Farm from the outset was that whatever happened, everyone would have a wonderful time. And yet, watching our group get off the coach on the first morning, bleary from the early start and hesitant about why they were there, we couldn’t be entirely sure it would be that easy. However, the team at Lewes are so adept at working with groups from all walks of life that camaraderie was built up in an instant and the sense of belonging to the team was embraced throughout. From the word go, there was no feeling of “them and us”, it was just “us”