The Reconnect Wellbeing Award

To a group or organisation that has supported the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people during the pandemic.

Won by Tonbridge Youth Hub

Charlotte Sangster, Esther Leigh-Hollands and Dione Jarvis receiving the Reconnect Wellbeing Award on behalf of Tonbridge Youth Hub.

Tonbridge Youth Hub and its staff went above and beyond to support young people and families both during and after the lockdowns and throughout the pandemic.

During the lockdowns, their staff worked hard to make sure youth groups and one to one work could still go ahead despite the restrictions. They delivered a variety of online youth groups in the evenings, and delivered supplies, art and wellbeing packs to people's homes, to allow young people and their families to access the youth sessions and resources remotely.

Since reopening the youth hub in September 2021, old and new youth groups are meeting again, and the team have delivered additional sessions in schools. Staff have also been trained in dialectical behaviour therapy, to help improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and have helped young people with special educational needs and disabilities build independent living skills, personal and social skills.

The youth hub secured multiple sources of funding through the Reconnect Programme and Headstart, and used some of the money to give young people and families vouchers for beauty salons, swimming, cafes, bowling and cinemas in their local area. One grant allowed them to provide wellbeing and sensory resources to young people at the hub and another enabled them to run a fashion project. In the summer they also took vulnerable young people to the park and to the seaside, and funded a week of activities for youth offending young people, all at no cost to the families.

Through the varied and targeted hard work of the staff at the youth hub, they have seen a huge difference in the young people and families they are supporting. Despite struggling with funding, being understaffed, and health issues, the staff at the youth hub are constantly using their initiative and coming up with new ways and ideas to support the wellbeing of young people and families in Tonbridge and Malling. They are passionate about improving outcomes for young people and families and feel proud of the community safe space they have created.