Youth worker believes Covid will not define Norfolk's next generation

a women wearing glasses smiling

EP Youth worker, Nula Cooper - Credit: Nula Cooper

A youth worker has said that with good services at the right time Norfolk’s young people will not be defined by the pandemic.

Nula Cooper works for EP Youth in Fakenham, a service that supports young people and their families in the town and surrounding villages.

With coronavirus restrictions in place, group gatherings are not taking place, with their support projects and activities moving online. They also go along to where young people go, socially distanced and wearing face masks.

“Not being able to meet face to face is the hardest thing for everyone at the moment," she said

“It is so valuable to have that, to leave the house and do something social is an important part of their transition to adulthood.

Two women outside a office

EP Youth staff members Niki and Karen outside their office on Oak Street. - Credit: Nula Cooper

“Emotional development comes from being with people and they cannot do that at the moment.

“They will manage because young people are incredible.  These are the challenges of the time; every generation has them so we don’t see them as the lost or the Covid generation.”

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The service, which runs projects across the market town to help young people, with a focus on helping with employability for those not in education.

They also run programs that offer respite for young carers and young parents’ support groups, as well as other groups.

Over the last two years, the group has run a food and essential items donation, collection and distribution service. However, she said more people have been stepping forward as a result of the pandemic.

A shelf full of food

EP Youth's food ready to be collected by those who need it most. - Credit: Nula Cooper

"There has definitely been increased need, especially from families," she said.

“Before it was young people who asked if they could take food home for the family; now we have more parents and carers contacting us directly, we need to get it out to the people who need it the most.”

However, she just wants the people who need support accessing it.

“There are food bank boxes and donation boxes, at the minute we are Lidl’s donation box recipient, but there are other charities that have collection points. Whether it comes to us or to a local food bank or anywhere else, it doesn’t matter.

“It will go somewhere useful. We don’t care if it comes to us or other charities, as long as the people who need it get it.”

Women in grey hoodie sorting food

An EP Youth volunteer helping to arrange food for donations. - Credit: Nula Cooper