YES has seen quite a huge change in the way it works, even before the beginnings of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Alert Level 4 Lockdown. Through these operational changes, we have gone from strength to strength, collaborating with local and central government, ministries, disability sector organisations, and the wider disability community to deliver exceptional information and service while providing connectedness and support wherever we can.
We decided to move into the youth space of disability support, with focus on leadership, personal and professional upskilling, and transitional service delivery; and all of this happened before the pandemic. From the moment lockdown was announced, we had already implemented strategies and contingencies that allowed us to continue to support our disabled youth, even while working from home. These changes to the way we work have allowed us to be on the bleeding edge of innovation in finding new pathways and solutions to old problems, especially for the youth of our sector. There has been much to learn during this transitional process, with new ways of working and connecting with our young people popping up and evolving every with minute that passes. In saying this, our co-design, co-delivery and co-facilitation model on working with youth with disabilities has given us a solid platform from which to adapt quickly to the developing situation and all that it entails.
Our young people of the I-Lead team are innovative, you only have to check out our social media, they are connected and they have built a network like a spider’s web, strong and far reaching. It is not easy times for young people with disabilities who have been in lockdown longer than their non-disabled friends, who know when they can go back to school or work, but they are tenacious and supporting of each other, and we at YES are here holding the space for them to find a way through and find a way to stay connected.
Even with all these changes and the ever-changing situation of COVID-19 and the world, we are still looking to find ways of staying safe, connected and healthy (both mentally & physically), broadcasting this message to all our online platforms and networks. With all of this we make one thing clear: YES is still here, we are still open, and we are ready to support whenever, wherever, however you need it.