Meet the finalists: Digital and Stem

Covid-19 changed the world, changing the way Youth Workers could work and interact with young people. Our three finalists are leading examples of how adapting youth work services to online and digital doesn't lessen the impact youth work can have on young people's lives. They have helped to inspire more young people to develop skills, create online communities and always feel safe and supported, whether in their online or day to day life. 

Pride and Pixels (LGBT Youth Scotland) 

For decades, LGBT Youth Scotland has been instrumental in ensuring LGBTI young people have access to high-quality youth work provision across Scotland. Covid-19 changed the game, however, leaving young members of the LGBTI community feeling isolated and anxious. 

Enter Pride and Pixels, a pioneering new service to reduce isolation and promote mental health, wellbeing and resilience through the creation of an online community on instant messaging platform Discord. 

Initially piloted in early 2020 to reach young people in remote rural areas and young people who were socially isolated due to disability and mental ill health, Pride and Pixels became a fundamental pillar of LGBT Youth Scotland’s digital youth work offer throughout the pandemic - 87% of users stated that it had helped them to manage challenges in a difficult year. 

In addition to Discord, young people can access self-directed learning opportunities on activism, LGBT history, LGBTI role models and employability. 

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Youth Work D&G (Covid Team) 

When the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced, every youth worker in Scotland was faced with the same dilemma: how do I transform my frontline youth work service to an online and digital service? 

Few organisations could claim to have met this gargantuan task with the agility and speed with which the Dumfries & Galloway Youth Work Team displayed. Within 24 hours (!) a brand-new youth work programme #HomeFest was announced, which included the Phone for a Blether Line, open 12 hours, 7 days a week; an online one-to-one service; group activities delivered via Zoom; and a raft of online training and tutorials. 

At a time when young people needed them most, the D&G Youth Work Team was able to provide consistency of high-quality youth work online, while targeted content was produced in partnership with Police and NHS Scotland to ensure young people were safe, secure and informed. 

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Donna Anderson (North Ayrshire Council) 

For almost two decades, Donna has been a mainstay of youth work in North Ayrshire, with a focus on active citizenship, representation and youth democracy. 

When lockdown was announced in March 2020, Donna worked with local partners including North Ayrshire Active Schools and North Ayrshire Executive Youth Council to launch North Ayrshire DigiDrEAM: a seven-day-a-week online programme of activities, challenges and information for young people and families. 

Key youth democracy services such as the Joint Cabinet were brought completely online; the Cyber Community Volunteers programme now sees 15 modern apprentices trained annually; and her introduction of online voting for Youth PB, in partnership with Young Scot, ensured that young people in North Ayrshire could still participate in the voting for projects that affect them. 

Thanks to Donna’s expertise, drive and determination, North Ayrshire’s youth service enjoys status a digital leader, breaking down multiple barriers to participation for young people! 

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