This week, we are shining the spotlight on Khulisa, a charity based in London providing mental health and wellbeing support to vulnerable children and young people.
Khulisa first came onto our radar back in 2013 via The Rank Foundation’s Major Grants scheme, and they have also benefited from a Time to Shine Leader twice, back in 2016 and 2018.
We picked up on what Khulisa has been up to via their Twitter (@KhulisaUK), where they are addressing the ups and downs of the current lockdown and what they might be able to do to help.
Before the Covid19 pandemic Khulisa’s team of highly qualified art and drama therapists were working with young people in schools and prisons to build their social and emotional skills. Khulisa also recognises how important it is for young people to have positive relationships with trusted adults – particularly for children who do not have supportive parents or carers at home. As such, the team also delivers training and self-care support to professionals (primarily teachers, social workers, prison officers and police officers).
With schools closed and social distancing rules in place, the team cannot work with young people in person and so have moved their programmes online.
A new suite of digital toolkits, group webinars and virtual 1:1 support sessions have been developed and will be delivered until schools can safely reopen for all children. The digital programmes replicate much of the same content in our face to face programmes, and provide young people with a trusted person to talk to, qualified therapists and access to a safe space.
Their partner schools are relieved that Khulisa can work more flexibly and support them through this difficult period. As a result of the pandemic, the number of ‘vulnerable’ children they’re supporting has increased significantly.
Young people have told the team that they feel relieved to know that they have Khulisa’s support to process their feelings of fear, frustration and anger. One young ambassador said:
“A lot of young people are feeling angry now in lockdown – they don’t have anywhere to put that anger. For a lot of young people in alternative provision, their home life is not great – spending so much time at home with all this stuff going on. They have nowhere to escape.”
Khulisa told us that the biggest challenge for them during this period was accelerating their digital programmes. It had always been part of their longer term strategy, but they were forced to make rapid changes with relatively little resources or prior experience.