Working with young people during lockdown

Published: 7 May 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Northumberland-based Mortal Fools has continued its work with young people and in professional development in spite of the lock-down, reimagining its creative projects with a digital programme of activity for young people and creating a new professional development programme for individuals and businesses.

In the last 12 months, the company worked with over 3,200 children, 12 multi-sector cultural partners and 16 businesses. When lockdown hit, stopping the work was not an option—they vowed to continue and reinvent their projects, programmes and ways of working.

“We believe that those people with relationships with young people—personal and professional—have a responsibility to maintain and build those relationships and support them during this period; to enhance their lives now and their lives in the future,” said Kiz Crosbie CEO and Artistic Director. “For us, that meant finding new ways to co-create and connect with children and young people digitally. We felt a similar responsibility to our whole Mortal Fools network.

“Our priority was to move Mortal Fools from the inevitable ‘survival mode’—characterised by panic—into ‘reinvention mode’ as quickly as possible. We weren’t going anywhere and are still here to support. After all, people are the heart of Mortal Fools, our people come first. Once we’d steadied the ship, as a creative organisation, we did what we do best, engaged our creative brains to come up with creative solutions.”

Since the lockdown the company has developed:

Mortal Fools’ Digital Ambassadors

Putting young people front and centre of social media and digital content generation, supporting their skills development and enabling them to reach out to other young people. From “addressing the nation” once a week, to publishing reviews of online shows and activities, sharing Spotify playlists and participating in Young People’s Panel Discussions, exploring how this situation is affecting them, Mortal Fools is aiming to give young people a voice and a purpose.

The Coronavirus Time Capsule Project

A week-by-week creative filmed response to the pandemic through the eyes of young people supported by Mortal Fools practitioners. The project was created by Company Three, based in London, and it unites young people’s groups from all over the world as a way of recording teenagers’ experiences during the global coronavirus pandemic and shutdown. Mortal Fools has been a key partner in the project development and has two groups participating.

CONNECT

Mortal Fools has initiated its new programme of training and professional development workshops for organisations and individuals, fast-tracking a digital platform of workshops. The first workshop—Confident Communication on Digital Platforms—has already been booked by organisations across the UK.

Supporting Mortal Fools Associate Team

Whilst many organisations were cutting freelancers loose and cancelling work, Mortal Fools honoured all freelance contracts irrespective of project cancellation. In addition, new strands of work with paid opportunities for their freelancers have been created who have been given emotional support, professional development training and funding application advice at a time when their freelancers needed it most.

For more details about how the company is facing the COVID-19 challenge, visit the Mortal Fools web site.