Like so many people, at the start of lockdown I was pretty unsure about working from home. Technology was one solution, but when you live out in the countryside, what if your wi-fi signal isn’t always the best?

I quickly got into a routine, though, which really helped the days fly by. Not being able to see colleagues felt a bit isolating at times – there’s nothing like being able to meet in real life – but the team organised a few coffee mornings online to help stay connected.

All the same, we couldn’t help feeling restricted as to what we could do for our young people, some of whom were really struggling as the lockdowns went on … and on. Many of them didn’t want to speak to us by phone or video, so it felt like we weren’t able to give them as much as we would have before.

If there’s one thing my colleagues and I have learnt from this year it’s just how appreciated we are by our young people and their families. While other agencies were closing their doors – or shutting down completely – we were there for them, and that has made our relationships a whole lot stronger.

Edel O’Brien,
Youth Justice Worker,
Southside Youth Initiative,
Limerick