H&F Youth Council’s tips for young people - getting through coronavirus and self-isolation


  • 4th edition June 2020

    What is the official advice?

    As the lockdown is being eased gradually, the official advice is changing quite frequently, so you should continue to check the official website and the news for the latest info.

    As of July 4 the advice is:

    • The requirement from social distancing has been reduced to one metre plus – you can come within one metre of others, provided you take additional measures (wearing masks, washing hands frequently etc). You should still stay 2m apart where possible.
    • Non-essential shops can now reopen as long as social distancing is observed
    • Theatres, cinemas, libraries, museums, theme parks and zoos are among other businesses that can reopen from July 4.
    • But indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail bars and indoor play areas will remain closed for the moment, as they have been since lockdown started on 23 March.
    • You must wear a face covering on public transport or you won’t be allowed to board. This can be a face mask or a cloth covering (like a scarf) but it must cover both your mouth and nose
    • You can now meet with up to 6 people from different households outside, or with one other household inside. You shouldn’t meet inside with more than one household inside at one time.
    • A new system of ‘support bubbles’ has been created for those living alone – this is quite complicated so make sure you read the advice carefully. This is a useful BBC article.

    The NHS Track and Trace system is now operational. If you’ve come into contact with someone who’s tested positive for Covid 19, you will be alerted and told to self-isolate. Likewise, if you test positive, you should list everyone you came into close contact with so they can get tested and self-isolate if necessary.

    The latest government advice on what you can and cant do can always be found here.

    More restrictions will be eased on 4 July so make sure you check the government website to see what’s changed.

    What you should do if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with symptoms

    Coronavirus - what you should do

    Got coronavirus symptoms?

    Here's what you need to do.

    1, Start isolating

    • You for 7 days
    • Your household for 14 days

    2, Book a test

    • NHS/coronavirus 
    • or call 119

    If your test is negative for COVID-19

    • Household can stop isolating immediately
    • You stop isolating if you feel well

    If your test is positive for COVID-19

    • you and your household should stay in isolation
    • share your recent contacts via NHS and Test and Trace

    Been in close contact with someone who has tested positive?

    1, You may be alerted by NHS Test and Trace

    2, You should isolate for 14 days after close contact 

    If you develop symptoms

    3, Book a test 

    • Continue isolating
    • Your household isolates for 14 days

    If your test is negative for COVID-19

    • Household can stop isolating immediately
    • You complete 14 day isolation

    If your test is positive for COVID-19

    • You begin a new 7 day isolation
    • Your household completes 14 day isolation

    H&F Youth Council Statement on Black Lives Matter

    The protests have been really positive, it has been really good to see so many people fighting for a cause bigger than themselves, seeing people regardless of their gender, race and colour coming together and making a difference is really inspiring. In the coming months we need the same amount of participation that we have has had at the start we have started off really strong and we need to continue fighting for what is right with full throttle. So do anything you can to help and support by talking to your neighbour or friend about it, donate or sign petitions, go to the protests if you can and educate yourself and other n the topic of racism, support local black businesses, watch movies read books and listen to music from black artists and about these topics.

    When posting on social media don’t stay quiet, however if you are going to post on social media make sure all you are putting up is facts- make sure you take things with a  grain of salt and do your own research. Don’t just post things to cause outrage - talk about your opinions and refrain from just using the #BlackLivesMatter, chain mail or the black out Tuesday without talking about the issues, let us talk to each other and educate yourself and others.

    We as a community need to make ourselves herd about this topic, do not be afraid to voice your opinions and speak up. The issue of racism needs to be talked about freely without it being a taboo or awkward situation. If you see or hear any racism or prejudice know that it is not okay, and it can be reported as hate crime. Just remember that we are all the same, our skin should not define our character or passions or who we are.

    Book and film recommendations

    The sheer number of options out there can make finding a good book or film tricky, so we’ve asked Youth Councillors to recommend some that they’ve enjoyed during lockdown:

    Isabela: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is a moving lyrical novel about the lives of twelve women in the UK. It is a great book to help illustrate the black female experience in the UK.

    Rumaysah: The Spanish TV show Elite is about a group of children that are transferred to a private school via scholarship as their old school's construction fell down; the "poor" mingle with the wealthy resulting in the unfortunate death of one of the characters. The show explores who the murderer is. It's a great mystery and action show with plenty of romance and brings light to the LGBTQ+ community. It's also a great way to gain an interest in Spanish as a language and learn a few words!

    Scarlett: Here I Stand is a book combining many short stories that speak for freedom and justice and is very thought-provoking.

    If you have Netflix, Raniah recommends 12 Years of Slave, When They See Us and Seven Seconds.

    Things to do

    The Young Hammersmith & Fulham website is a great way to find new fun and interesting activities to try, even during lockdown. Lots of different organisations put their events on here and it’s being updated constantly, so it’s best to check regularly to see if anything new has been uploaded. 

    There’s another free workshop opportunity from Divergent Thinking, this time on overcoming racism through social action. It’s on Saturday 4 July, and will cover what social action is, how to run a successful campaign and how to measure if your action was a success – looks really interesting. You can find out more and sign up.

    Dance West are running a virtual dance Summer School for young people, from Monday 27 July to Friday 31 July. Sadly it’s not free – the cost is £40. Each day you’ll get to learn a new style of dance, and the course is led by a team of experienced choreographers. You can find out more and sign up here.

    The Fulham FC Foundation have put together a great guide for exercising at home, and there are a few football challenges which you can have a go at too. You can download it here (pdf).

    Maddy has put together a useful list of links for the LGBT+ community:

    LGBT Switchboard: On the website is loads of information about LGBT resources, such as their Emotional Wellbeing Support Pack and other things they have running. They also have a contact number you can phone from 10-10 everyday which works like a helpline. The number is 0300 330 0630. There is also an anonymous chat room open everyday from 10-10, again for emotional support.

    Just Like Us: They were previously recruiting online ambassadors but applications have closed now, they’ll probably reopen next year though. The website is a great place to go to for support and resources.

    Mind Out:  Have a range of online services open including support. They’re based in Brighton but anyone can access it right now because everything is virtual.

    Learning from home

    As the lockdown is eased and summer gets going we’re all going to be going out a lot more, especially as we’ve been stuck at home for three months now. But it’s important to remember that we would normally be in school now, and it’s a good idea to keep learning so that we’re ready for when schools open again in September. Here are our four tips to help you carry on learning over the summer:

    1. Support and help each other. Learning from home can be frustrating, especially as there’s no one else around to turn to for help. Working together with friends will be easier and more fun. Now we’re allowed to meet a few people outside, you could meet up with friends from school to help each other out with work you’re all finding tricky.
    2. Make a realistic routine. Everyone’s different, and you don’t need to be working all the time. Set aside enough time to complete lessons and homework, but don’t stress about it too much.
    3. Find time to relax. Take breaks, find time to do things you enjoy and give yourself time to just chill. You’ll feel good and work better if you’re rested and relaxed than if you’re tired and stressed.
    4. Talk about it. If you’re feeling worried or anxious, talk to someone you trust like a friend, family member or teacher. They’ll want to help you and might even be worried about the same things that you are.

    Supporting your wellbeing

    1.Take a moment for yourself with free Headspace

    2.Take some sofa time with Louise Bomber

    3.Focus on what you can control with this Beacon House resource

    Focus on what you can control

    Get involved

    The Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation’s Peer Researchers are running a survey on life in H&F. The aim is to get an idea of what it’s like growing up and living in the borough. It’ll take around 15 minutes to fill in, and you can skip any question you don’t want to answer. We’d really appreciate it! Fill in the Peer Researcher's survey here.

    You can get in touch with us, or share any thoughts and ideas you have by messaging @youth_council_hf on Instagram

  • 3rd edition 26 May 2020

    What is the official advice?

    The government’s advice has changed!

    The lockdown is still in place but some restrictions have been lifted:

    • You must still practice social distancing whenever you leave home
    • You can now go out for exercise as much as you want, including travelling by car to do so
    • You can meet up with one person outside your household at a time (like a friend or relative) in an open space, provided you’re 2 metres apart
    • You should avoid public transport unless your journey is essential. 
    • You can play sports outside with members of your household
    • Years 10 and 12 might return in July depending on how things develop, but all other secondary school pupils will only return in September.

    There’s advice on the government website about what you can and can’t do.

    Things To Do

    We’ve all been stuck inside for the last six weeks and the weather’s warming up so try and get outside safely now that we’re allowed to go out more than once. Playing something like football or tennis with people you live with is a great way to have fun, exercise, unwind and get rid of stress.

    An exciting opportunity from the Mayor of London

    The Mayor of London's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) aims to reduce and stabilise violence across London, increase feelings of safety, promote opportunities for young Londoners, and put young people at the heart of our work. 

    We have a great opportunity for you to work with the VRU to develop a youth-led youth engagement strategy.

    As a member of the VRU Young People’s Action Group you will:

    •    Attend Young People's Action Group meetings and training
    •    Share your views with decision-makers about programmes and campaigns
    •    Inform your peers and other young people about our projects and opportunities
    •    Attend events and support community visits

    You will be representing not only yourself, but the voice of your community in relation to reducing violence across London.”

    VRU Young People's Action Group is a paid scheme, more VRU details and the application form are here.

    Dance West

    Dance West, a dance charity based at the Lyric, are running online dance workshops for young people. Unfortunately they’re not free but they look very interesting. You can find out more here.

    Divergent Thinking are running a free online video making workshop on Saturday May 16th. There’ll be tips on filming, using video editing software and storytelling through videos, and the chance to enter a competition. You can find out more and sign up here. 

    Another opportunity from Divergent Thinking is a free online Public Speaking Skills workshop on Saturday 30th May at 12pm. This will cover lots of different things such as the fundamentals of public speaking, how to build your confidence and tips for giving presentations. You can find out more and register here.

    What we’ve been up to

    Sana’s been working with a charity called Youth for Peace, that supports elderly and vulnerable people.

    “Youth for Peace is an international movement of young people between the ages of 14-24 that wants to break down barriers between generations and wealth.

    Visit the Youth For Peace UK website to see the current campaigns they’re working on, such as iPad donations to provide elderly care home residents with means to stay in touch with their friends and family.”

    Make sure you try to stay active somehow - whether that be going on a walk or doing indoor workouts - to stay in good health and try to have a plan for what you want to do each day to provide some structure.” -Sana

    Keeping the mind engaged, learning a new skill, reading, having deep conversations thought provoking conversation. To keep a active and functioning brain” - Marley 

    Continue doing the things you love, if that’s art , do more art, if it’s reading, read more books. whatever it is try and master your skill. Now is the time to dedicate yourself to what you love“ - Sara  

    A short review of Duolingo from Ozan, which we recommended in the last edition

    I’ve been using Duolingo for a few weeks now to try and remember what I learnt from my French GCSE. It’s easy to use, and you can go at whatever pace you like – I’ve been doing about 15 minutes a day. Each topic is made up of short lessons that take a couple of minutes each, and you get asked a mix of listening, reading and writing questions. The only thing is that new bits of grammar sometimes aren’t explained much. But overall I’ve enjoyed using it – it’s easy if you’re a beginner and there’s more than enough harder stuff to practice if you want to get really good.” 

    Where can I find someone to talk to?

    If you feel like you need someone to talk to during this crisis please do, don’t sit back in silence. There are lots of places online where you can get advice, support and counselling for free.


    Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service commissioned by the local authorities. It provides young people aged 11-25 years old with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors. 
    Kooth offers the following:

    •    Confidential, 1-2-1 messaging with Kooth’s team of counsellors.
    •    Kooth Magazine (a hub full of creative pieces and personal experiences for peer to peer support).
    •    Kooth discussion forums to facilitate peer-led support and self-help articles (many written by service users). 
    •    Counsellors, therapists and support workers provide guided, outcome-focused help for each individual. 

    H&F Mind

    H&F Mind is another organisation that provides more general support in various different areas. Their page on the Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give – is really useful. Shona, an educational psychologist, has written some more about these for us below.

    Anna Freud

    If you’re not feeling great or are having a hard time, the Anna Freud website has lots of advice on ways you can look after yourself at home.

    The Teen Guide to Surviving Lockdown and Beyond

    A summary of ‘The Teen Guide to Surviving Lockdown and Beyond’ by Sara:


    It is important to know that its ok to experience strong emotions during this time and that everybody reacts differently, there is no right or wrong way of how to feel. 

    It is, however, important to cope with these emotions in a healthy way, here are three steps to follow in order to do this. 

    •    Accept your feelings (give them a name and process them)
    •    Express your feelings (tell a family member, friend, or write them down)
    •    Ask for help when you need it (it can be as simple as a hug from a member of your household)

    2. The importance of Journaling

    Journaling is a very helpful and versatile tool for managing the difficulties coronavirus poses. 
    Here are a few things you could do in your journal or diary. 

    •    Write a poem or do some creative writing 
    •    Set yourself tasks you want to achieve the next day, with a minimum of 2 goals each day. (this helps you feel productive and you might end up doing/making something you really enjoy)
    •    Write three things you are grateful for in the day
    •    Doodle or draw something 

    3. Technology

    With not much to do at home many people have been spending increasing amounts of time online. It is important that you remain conscious of what you are consuming and how long you spend on technology. 

    Some tips and tricks to follow to make sure you are conscious of this are: 

    •    Avoid ‘energy vampires’; accounts and people that make you feel insecure or encourage bad habits.
    •    Focus on ‘energy givers’; accounts and people that make you feel confident and encourage you to take up or continue new and healthy habits. (For example, meditation, exercise and cooking.) 
    •    Set a limit on how long you think you should spend on your devices and specific apps and review if you have stuck to this at the end of each day. You can do this on ‘screen time’ on apple devices.) 

    Other useful sources of advice

    The Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation is also providing advice.

    The Mix is also providing things to do, advice and support for young people. They’ve written some articles on coping with Covid 19 and have advice on activities you can do. There’s a forum where you can chat with others,

    Get involved

    The Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation’s Peer Researchers are running a survey on life in H&F. The aim is to get an idea of what it’s like growing up and living in the borough. It’ll take around 15 minutes to fill in, and you can skip any question you don’t want to answer. We’d really appreciate it! Take part in the YHFF survey here.

    Contact us

    You can get in touch with H&F Youth Council, or share any thoughts and ideas you have by messaginghave@youth_council_hf on Instagram

  • 2nd edition: Getting through coronavirus and self-isolation

    What is the official advice?

    The government’s advice hasn’t changed since the last edition – don’t go out!  Unless you’re buying food or medicine, exercising alone or with people you live with, or helping someone vulnerable.

    Obviously- this is really hard for everyone and we’re all going to get bored but please follow the advice, it will save lives.
    Because we’re young, we’re less likely to get badly ill from the virus but we can still spread it to others even if we feel 100% fine.

    Let’s say you go around to a friend’s house to hang out, because both of you are feeling good and you live nearby. What you don’t know is that your friend went to the supermarket yesterday and caught the virus, even though they’re not showing symptoms. Without knowing, you get the virus, and when you return home, you spread it on to your family. 

    If you don’t practice social distancing, you’re likely to spread Covid 19 to between two and three other people. You can look at the official advice here

    Where can I get help, and how can I help the community?

    H&F CAN is the volunteer community aid network launched by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to support vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Visit the h&f CAN website or call 0800 145 6095 (free number)

    If you’re able to, you can get involved with different support groups and organisations in the borough, to help those who need it most during this crisis. You can donate to or volunteer for the CAN on the website. 

    The H&F Foodbank provides support if you’re unable to buy food. Foodbanks are more important than ever during this crisis, so if you can, please consider donating or volunteering to help them out. Even if it’s just a little, it will help.

    Where can I find someone to talk to?

    If you feel like you need someone to talk to during this crisis please do, don’t sit back in silence. There are lots of places online where you can get advice, support and counselling for free.

    Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service commissioned by the local authorities. It provides young people aged 11-25 years old with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors. 
    Kooth offers the following:

    • Confidential, 1-2-1 messaging with Kooth’s team of counsellors.
    • Kooth Magazine (a hub full of creative pieces and personal experiences for peer to peer support).
    • Kooth discussion forums to facilitate peer-led support and self-help articles (many written by service users). 
    • Counsellors, therapists and support workers provide guided, outcome-focused help for each individual. 

    H&F Mind is another organisation that provides more general support in various different areas. Their page on the Five Ways to WellbeingConnect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give – is really useful. Shona, an Educational Psychologist, has written some more about these for us below.

    If you’re not feeling great or are having a hard time, the Anna Freud website has lots of advice on ways you can look after yourself at home.

    The Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation is also providing advice.

    The Mix is also providing things to do, advice and support for young people. They’ve written some articles on coping with Covid 19 and have advice on loads of activities you can do whilst at home. There’s also a forum where you can chat with others.
    You’ve probably heard this a lot but Childline also has lots of helpful information for under 18s and you can always call them on if you are worried or feel unsafe about anything, at home, online or anywhere else - 0800 1111.

    The Five Ways to Well-Being

    Last time we wrote about looking after ourselves. A way that helps us to keep doing this is to think about the Five Ways to Wellbeing.  These are all parts of our lives that we know are linked to feeling healthy and happy. Have a think about the last few weeks:  

    • Which of these have you been able to do? 
    • Are there any that you’d like to try out over the next week or two?

    Be Active    

    In a way that you find fun!  This might be running, walking or cycling or it could be home workouts or dance videos – maybe you have a skipping rope or a hula hoop to try. Anything that gets your heart beating a little faster will help lift your mood!

    Take Notice    

    We can make the effort to ‘take notice’ by practising using our senses during everyday activities, such as listening to birds signing, noticing the smell of cooking or shampoo, or the feeling of the sun or wind on our skin when we go out.  Regularly doing this has been shown to help people feel happier and less stressed.  ‘Mindfulness’ and ‘guided relaxation’ videos are easily found online and also help us take notice of what’s happening ‘right now.’  “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”


    Relationships with friends, family and others are so important.  This can be in phone or video calls, but also games, such as virtual book clubs or sharing songs.  Perhaps you have a little cousin who would love to hear you read a story or tell a joke over the phone, or a grandparent you could write to?


    Helping others feels good.  This might be something community based (links to volunteer opportunities are listed above).  At home, this could be supporting a younger sibling with their work, making a parent or carer a cup of tea, caring for pets or helping with chores. You might also ‘give’ by helping charities share information about their campaigns online.  Remember you will also be helping to ‘give’ health to other people by staying at home.

    Keep learning    

    Is there anything you’ve seen and thought, “I’d love to know how to do that?”  Now could be a wonderful time to try! There are many free online tutorials for all sorts of skills, including languages, gardening, magic tricks, make-up/hairstyling, baking, vlogging, origami, dance moves, making music or writing lyrics/poems.  Perhaps a skill around the house, like sewing/mending clothes, gardening/growing herbs, cooking or doing laundry? Or is there another culture or time in history that interests you and you could watch a movie or read a book to find out more about?

    “When planning your days, it would be helpful to include some of these activities and perhaps even challenge yourself and your friends/family to do a little bit of each one most days.  Let us know if you think of any more, and have fun! “ 
    Dr Shona Landon, Educational Psychologist

    An update on schools

    We still don’t know any further details about when schools will reopen. Right now your school may be providing you with resources and tasks electronically, and might use video calls, but each school is doing things differently. There’s more about changes to the service on the council’s website.

    Exams will be graded based on the work you’ve done so far – your teachers will work with the exam board to come up with a grade. It’s also been confirmed that results will be given out on the normal results days (13 August for A levels and 20 August for GCSEs) If you’re not happy with it, you can sit your exams in September. The government’s got more info about exams online

    Things to do

    Each time we send out this newsletter we’ll be including different things that you can do during the lockdown.

    “Over Easter I’ve sometimes felt like I didn’t have the motivation to do much, but what really helped was exercising outside every day, and thinking of at least one thing I wanted to achieve that day. I still had a lot of time to chill but was a lot more motivated this way” – Ozan

    “I find isolation hard sometimes but if I plan out my day the night before I find that I feel more motivated and have a purpose each day which is something that I recommend. Try and have a schedule for each day to keep some sort of normality”. -Scarlett 

    Learn a language

    If you’ve been doing a language at school, keep it going! Duolingo is one service. There are other free services too, you can try them out and find one you like.

    Free plays!

    If theatre is your thing, there’s lots of free plays being uploaded to Youtube. National Theatre are putting a free play on Youtube every week here. Shakespeare’s Globe is also doing something similar and free musicals are streaming each Friday here 

    And free concerts

    You’ve probably heard of it but dozens of artists and bands have joined up for the Together at Home concert (8 hours long!) which is on Youtube .The BBC also showed a 2 hour UK programme with some more performers on iPlayer

    Lots of bands and artists are also streaming their cancelled concerts online instead. Here’s a list of concerts you might find interesting.

    Get involved

    We’d like to hear back from you…
    1.    Is there anything else you’d like to see us include in here?
    2.    Have you got anything you want to share? It can be literally anything you think others would find interesting, like something to do with a hobby.
    3.    Have you tried out any of our the ideas? If so, please let us know how you found them!
    4.    Would you like to get involved with Youth Council?

    You can get in touch or give us your thoughts and ideas by DMing @youth_council_hf on Instagram. 
    Email Brenda.Whinnett@lbhf.gov.uk 
    Text 07468708605.
    Or ask your worker/social worker to pass on your message

  • 1st edition: Getting through coronavirus and self-isolation

    What is Covid 19?

    The new coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to nearly every country in the world since it first emerged in China at the beginning of the year.

    Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans, but most just cause coldlike symptoms.

    Covid-19 is closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) which swept around the world in 2002 to 2003. That virus infected around 8,000 people and killed about 800 but it soon ran itself out, largely because most of those infected were seriously ill so it was easier to control.

    Covid-19 is different to other coronaviruses in that the spectrum of disease is broad, with around 80 per cent of cases leading to a mild infection. There may also be many people carrying the disease and displaying no symptoms, making it even harder to control.

    The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats.

    How is coronavirus spread?

    Like cold and flu bugs, the virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.

    It follows that the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.


    • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
    • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
    • wash your hands as soon as you get home
    • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
    • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards


    • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

    See NHS Advice for everyone for more information

    Social distancing

    What does social distancing mean?

    • As young people and students we should stay at home as much as we can to limit the chance of the virus spreading. Schools remain open only for those who are considered vulnerable by the government or if you are looked after by a critical worker. For latest information please visit GOV.UK - coronavirus.
    • As said by the government already, if your school is open to you but you are exposed to the virus you should not attend. Whole households should self-isolate if anyone has symptoms of Covid-19.

    What should I do?

    • Stay at home - no unnecessary journeys or contact
    • You can leave your home for two reasons: to do essential shopping and to exercise once a day
    • Public gatherings of more than two people are banned
    • Don’t go to others’ houses
    • Police can fine you if you break these rules
    • Please don’t try and hang out in parks or on the street, this is against the rules, you’ll probably get a fine and you’re risking others’ health.

    Why do we need to practice social distancing?

    • Protect the NHS, save lives
    • We can have coronavirus and not show symptoms, especially as young people are affected less than others, which means you could be carrying it and spread it to others (including vulnerable people) just by being near them
    • If we do not delay the spread now the NHS will not be able to cope with people who have coronavirus or those who are very ill and need NHS attention

    Top 10 tips from the Youth Council

    1. Get into a routine and make a plan

    Start the day as you would a normal workday. Get up well before you want to start work, shower, eat breakfast and get dressed. Once you wake up mentally and physically you can get started with your day. Take some exercise if you can. Make time in the day for meditation if it helps. Schedule in breaks like morning tea and lunch.

    Also, try and set yourself some long term targets, to do with your hobbies, learning or anything else you’re interested in. This will help you stay motivated and productive, so once everything’s back to normal you can look back and see everything you’ve achieved.

    2. Exercise every day 

    During the outbreak we’ll all be at home a lot, so exercising will make sure you stay fit and feel good. Go out every day for a run, walk or bike ride even if it’s not that long. If you’re not feeling well, there’s lots of advice online about fitness courses you can do at home, and things like yoga will help a lot with relaxing.

    3. Pick up an old hobby and try something new

    I’m almost certain you’ve got a hobby you like to do but just can’t find time for it during school time with everything that’s going on. So do it now! It can be drawing, cooking, writing songs and music or anything else you’re interested in. Also, you’re going to have a lot of time, so choose a couple of hobbies or skills that seem interesting and give them a go. There’s no better time to start something new.

    4. Stay in touch with friends and reach out

    You’re probably not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated. Keep talking to friends, through video calls or group chats for example, to see how they’re doing. There are lots of things you could do together even if you can’t physically meet. Also, it's a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll probably be very grateful to hear from you. Send them a message and let them know you care.

    5. Clean up your surroundings – in real life and social media

    A messy room makes it harder to concentrate or relax and you’ll probably get stressed trying to find things. You might be spending more time than usual scrolling on social media. But have you ever thought about how this could be affecting your mental health? Try unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel anxious, upset or angry. Find positive accounts that boost your mood and share your interests.

    6. Keep learning

    Now that school’s off and exams are cancelled it’s easy to slack off. But it’s important to keep your brain going for when things start again – read a book or watch some videos on subjects you like, especially stuff you don’t normally do at school. It you’re thinking about going to uni, look for things related to your subjects which will help with your application and give you a head start.

    7. Stay calm at home

    Being cooped up with other people will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer. Try to help out with chores at home or create a rota – this will help your family and give you something to do while you’re stuck at home.

    8. Take a break from the news

    It can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this, but if you notice this is having a negative impact on your mental health. Try limiting how often you check the news. Limit the amount of time spent checking the news by allowing a set time of day to do this. For example, saying "I will allow 30 minutes from 6pm," stops you constantly checking to see what’s new.

    9. Reach out for help

    If your living situation is difficult, please don’t struggle in silence. Speak to someone you trust. Call a friend or a helpline. If you're worried about being overheard, you could try texting or emailing instead. There are lots of helplines which also offer text and online messenger support. Locally you can contact Kooth 

    10. Just relax

    You don’t have to be busy all the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to just sit around and chill. Watch trashy shows if you want to. Pick up a book so long that it feels as if it could have been written just for this moment and read it.

    How will Year 11 students cope with no GCSE exams?

    How will exam grades be calculated now?

    The cancellation of GCSE exams means that our final grades will be calculated on a combination of teacher assessments, mock exam results, predicted grades from teachers, prior attainment (any grades you’ve already achieved) and nonassessment work.

    So, what should you be doing now?

    Staying on top of any online assigned schoolwork will give structure to your week and keep you up to date with your learning– this is important as if you’re unhappy with your final grade you can sit exams after schools reopen to improve it.

    Though it’s tempting to sit in front of a screen all day, you can try to use this time to do things you usually wouldn’t be able to do when you’re busy with revising. You could make a list of things you can do at home such as reading, drawing, learning a language and, importantly, spending time with your family.

    Although this is a scary time – not only for our school life but for the general health of us, our family and friends – be assured that your work and efforts throughout the past years will not be lost or overlooked. We are all in the same boat right now and we will get through this crisis by staying indoors, helping each other where we can, and listening to the government’s advice on how to keep us and others safe.

    What will Year 13 students do now A Levels are cancelled?

    Most, if not all, sixth forms and colleges are shut down by now. You may have online classes to do. Personally, we at Youth Council share your worries and feelings that it will be a struggle to keep up with work. The unfortunate cons of online schooling is many who do subjects that require live assessments or recording in a studio are not able to do so.

    We at Youth Council have members who do creative, practical, and humanity subjects as well as core and STEM subjects so we understand. We have found that downloading lessons teachers upload online as well as using apps such as voice memos and notes help a lot. Please also remember to keep up with online research, diaries and evaluations especially if you do subjects that require coursework because these are important in deciding your grades even without sitting exams.

    Students who do creative subjects are probably going to be hit the hardest by this cancellation and the shut down of schools as many of us need the equipment our school has to finish our projects. This in turn can cause feelings of anxiety. However, we recommend using apps on your phones to help. For example, if you do music we personally recommend apps such as garage bands. As for making charts you would need to do it by hand if you haven't got Sibelius. We understand how much of a stressful time this is for all students, but all we can do right now is to try our hardest to keep up with our schoolwork and not give up.

    How does it feel to not being able to do A Level exams?

    Not being able to do exams isn't the best. However, staying indoors is much better than getting the risk of getting the virus. It is stressful if you can't see your tutor, teachers, or friends but try and keep on top of your subjects so that you don't forget content for when we do return to school. The government is working with exam boards and our teachers to ensure that the grades we are given are as accurate as possible. Also, keep in mind you will be able to take exams at some point if you are not happy with your given grades.

    Message from a trainee educational psychologist

    Taking care of our emotional wellbeing is very important during this crucial period. Find ways to relax and stimulate your mind with some of the ideas below: Ways to relax There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:

    • Arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
    • DIY
    • Colouring
    • Mindfulness
    • Playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
    • Writing
    • Yoga
    • Meditation.

    See relaxation and mindfulness for more information and ideas.

    Keep your mind stimulated

    • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
    • Although high street library branches are closed, some libraries have apps you can use online. These allow you to borrow ebooks, audiobooks or magazines from home for free, if you're a library member. Also, many audiobook companies such as Amazon have cancelled their subscription of books aimed at students of all ages.

    Time to reflect

    We are a great position to slow down and reflect. So, grab a cuppa and ask yourself these three questions.

    1) What has been the best experience you have had at school?

    2) Think of three things you have learned you are good at.

    3) What has been your biggest achievement?

    Finally….. Keep talking!

    Keep in touch with your friends! Share telephone numbers and social media contact information.

    Amal Hussein (Trainee Educational Psychologist)

    The next few months will be difficult for us but we will get through this. Everyone at the Youth Council is wishing everyone who reads this the best of luck for the coming months. Thank you for reading and stay safe!

    Find out more about what the Youth Council do

    Contributing Youth Councillors: Ozan Erder, Scarlett Knowles, Faye Cruvinel, Mariam Ali, Hasana Hajimasaleh and Raniah Siobhan

    Sources of support for young people

    Kooth is a free to use anonymous digital mental health and wellbeing support and information service available anyone aged 11-25. Support available:

    • Drop in/booked online chats with trained counsellors
    • Themed message forums (static and live)
    • Secure web-based email with a team of counsellors
    • Articles regarding mental health and wellbeing

    Support can be accessed through www.kooth.com 365 days a year, Monday to Friday, 12pm to 10pm, Saturday to Sunday, 6pm to 10pm. Online resources are accessible any time.

    Young Minds 

    Child Mind Institute

    Resources for home education

    Many schools will be setting their own learning. However, if you need something else to keep them usefully occupied then this non-exhaustive list might help those affected by school closures due to coronavirus, compiled by home educators

    Khan Academy
    Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it's mostly common material.

    BBC Learning
    This site is old and no longer updated and yet there's so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV license required except for content on BBC iPlayer.

    Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account)

    For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.

    Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University, but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.

    Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.

    Creative computer programming

    Ted Ed
    All sorts of engaging educational videos

    National Geographic Kids
    Activities and quizzes for younger kids.

    Learn languages for free. Web or app

    Mystery Science
    Free science lessons

    Crash Course
    You Tube videos on many subjects

    iDEA Awards
    Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.

    Toy Theater
    Educational online games