Youth work is all about building a connection with young people, and guiding and supporting them accordingly.

Communication is key, and as workers our staff are used to doing this face to face. 

So when lockdown came we had to adjust our services online. For most young people this was a strange transition, whilst some weren't comfortable, but many adapted brilliantly. 

One of those young people was Leon. The 14 year old lives in Knowle West with his family and two young brothers, and has ambitions to become an online professional. For him it was no problem. He said: "I didn’t feel hemmed in at all to be honest, I actually like playing games, I like being online. I want a career as a twitch streamer or a You Tuber," he added.

Although he does admit it was a bit odd attending a virtual youth club on Zoom initially, something that was new to him. He said:"Yes Zoom was a new thing, and a bit weird at first. We had about up to 8 people in it at times, and could see them all."

Leon is not cautious at giving his view, and didn't shy away from doing so on zoom, "I didn’t really care. I was happy to talk to someone other than my annoying siblings to be honest!" he said.

The staff, together with his mentor George, would put on quizzes, and Leon loved them. George said: "Yes he got right into it, he was very enthusiastic. We did a different quiz each week: super heroes, animals, visual quiz photos of local shops and landmarks in Knowle and Hartcliffe, like Filwood, Eagle house, the Park. At times we had to stretch ideas a bit to keep it fresh. "

Star Wars was Leon's favourite quiz, and one in which he won. He said: "I was happy to win the Star Wars one. And it was definitely my favourite. I am a big fan, and one day I would like to watch all the movies in a row, all 9 of them."

Aside from the quizzes, Leon kept himself amused playing PS4, and watching lots of TV. Infact he was introduced to a show from yesteryear by George. "He told me about this thing with Will Smith called Fresh Prince of Bell Air, I had never heard of it before. its actually pretty good. Have watched quite a few of them now," he explained.

When the mentoring pair could finally meet up outside, after almost 12 weeks of no face to face to contact, it was a bit of a shock for George. Leon had changed considerably. "I couldn't believe the size of him, he had shot up and had a growth spurt. Looked over 6ft now. He must have been eating some magic beans in the lockdown!" he said laughing.

In September life will hopefully all return to normal for Leon, as he starts at Knowle DGE school. And he's excited: "I can’t wait until September when I go back to school, and that’s something I thought I would never say. It's only a ten-minute walk, so I will ride my scooter there anyway probably."

Where some young people have struggled, clearly Leon quite enjoyed lockdown. There was, however, one thing that affected him a lot. He missed one person that he is very close to - his nan. He stated: "We haven't been able to see my nan, who I usually see all the time. She has cancer, so we didn't want to risk her catching the virus and that. So was very nice to see her again the other week."

We are sure many people reading this can relate to feeling the same as Leon, and have missed a loved one during this time.

Good luck at your new school Leon!