COVID-19: A youth worker’s perspective

In episode 8 of the Generation Pandemic podcast, we’re looking through the eyes of a youth worker at the experiences of children and young people during COVID-19.  Joining host Catherine McDonald is Declan Keenan, a youth worker at the Just Ask after-school club in Dublin. Declan explains how the pandemic affected the young people he works with and looks to the action he feels is needed as we move through the recovery. 

 

Transcript

Catherine McDonald  0:04 

Hello, and welcome to Generation Pandemic, a podcast from the Interdisciplinary Child Wellbeing Network looking at the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children in the UK and Ireland. I’m Catherine McDonald. And today I’m talking to Declan Keenan, a youth worker at the Just Ask after school club in Dublin, about the lives of the children he works with. I began by asking Declan how he became a youth worker?

Declan Keenan  0:32 

Well, I fell into youth work quite accidentally in the late 80s. So in Ireland in the late 80s, there was quite an economic depression, there was no work around, so I was unemployed at the time, the company I’d worked with had just gone into liquidation. So I was asked to come down on help out with the youth club.

Catherine McDonald  0:51 

And how old were you then?

Declan Keenan  0:53 

I’d been in my early 20s, I suppose around 24 to 20, maybe 22/23, something like that.

Catherine McDonald  1:00 

And we’ve not looked back, you’ve been doing it ever since?

Declan Keenan  1:03 

Well, yes. As it kind of progressed. And we were looking at some of the issues that were coming in and facing us with the young people and started listening a little bit more to them, I started to realise that I didn’t have a lot of answers. And I really was out on my depth. When it came to some of the questions young people were asked me or some of the challenges they had. And I took a big risk and applied to go back to college as a mature student, and study social science, in the hope to find some answers to these questions that were constantly coming at me.

Catherine McDonald  1:37 

And can you give me an example of what the questions were back then?

Declan Keenan  1:41 

So we had young people coming in from a quite a damaged community, and they had no controls on themselves, they would just come in, they would be loud, they would be aggressive, they’d be violent towards each other, some of them would be cowering away, they were trying to steal everything, they would try to disrupt everything. When you’d speak to them about it, you know, sometimes then they tell you about just what life was like for them and the estate they lived in and coming in to the kind of youth club setting was as weird for them as anything else was like going to school or anything like that you know, some of the things they were just up to, and it kind of reminded me of my own upbringing, and a lot of the problems and difficulties I had as a child and a lot of the wildness, I suppose I would have been in me as a young person.

Catherine McDonald  2:28 

And so what did your study sort of bring out in you? And how did they enhance your understanding, and therefore your ability to help these young people?

Declan Keenan  2:37 

I think, you know, the studies, although they were great and really interesting, I found it was bringing up more questions for me than answers. But obviously, as I was going through the studies, and I was still volunteering with this club, I was maturing, and some of the answers were coming. But they weren’t like bolts of light out of the sky. They were just slowly seeping into the way I was thinking into the way I was trying to change how I reacted towards young people or approach them. So I was really learning on the job.

Catherine McDonald  3:10 

And so fast forward, what is it 20/30 years and you’re at the Just Ask, after school club in Dublin. Tell me about that club and how it started and how long you’ve been there?

Declan Keenan  3:22 

Okay, so within the same organisation, one day, this young person knocked on the door. And his opening statement was, I am stupid. So we had a conversation around that and how it probably wasn’t the case. And what came about in the conversation he said was, he was always in trouble. And he reckoned at the kind of 11 years of age, that that trouble stemmed from school, that he wasn’t able to concentrate in school that he never done homework for school. So he was always in trouble with his teachers. And then the notes would come home to his parents, and he’d be in trouble at home. And then he’d be fighting with everybody. And then he bring it out onto the street. And it just seemed like his cycle of negativity was just stemming from just having a negative experience in school. And we had a teacher working with us at the time. We said to him, look, we’ll help you. Every Wednesday we have some time we come in and we’ll do the homework with you so he said okay, well, can I bring a friend? Started for these two young men every Wednesday just helping them with our homework. And it slowly developed into other children and other parents coming and saying, Hey, you’re helping these, can you start helping me? I need to help. And then something we discovered as we were going on one of the workers said I think the kids are hungry. And we just started to have cereal there for them when they came in from school. And then we started to give them noodles and started to give them what are kind of just easy meals, just something easy to get some food into their stomach. And then the Jamie Oliver programme came on about school dinners. Both myself and the other worker had watched it. We kind of both came in the next morning and looked at each other and said, did you see our programme last night? We’re probably doing these kids more damage than good. And he said, how about if I cook a dinner for them today? And I went, Okay, let’s see how that goes. You know so we cooked a dinner for them. And, you know, the initial thing was urgh there’s green stuff and that, like what’s that? Like vegetables, and urgh so they ate the meat and they ate the potatoes. But we slowly started to build up just feeding the young people. By the end of the year, our club had gone from 8 young people to about 25, or 26. And the change in their behaviour was just astounding, you know, just to see how calm and relaxed that they where – they weren’t fighting each other as much they weren’t as unsettled, as distracted. And it was purely down to giving them a hot healthy meal every day. So that’s become a staple of the Just Ask programme. At the time, it was just called a homework club. But we then developed it into an after school club. And we kind of said, Look, homework is part of it. But it’s not our whole reason of being here together. You know, it’s about looking after the needs of the child when they come in after school.

Catherine McDonald  6:13 

Can you talk me through the sort of challenges that the children and young people you work with, were facing before COVID?

Declan Keenan  6:21 

It’s an inner city community, in the heart of Dublin, a lot of challenges in the community for young people is that it’s a community that always has a high proportion of crisis cases going on. So there’s always a high proportion of young people, really at the 11th hour in their schooling, when they’re in secondary school, with schools threatening to expel them, or them deciding themselves that they’re just not going to attend school anymore. They would have an over proportion compared to the society of young people, you know, being either taken into care, or coming into the state, view, you know, of young people who are very at risk. So, you know, schools, youth clubs, everybody would always have about 20% to a quarter of the young people who are in very high risk at that particular time. And should you get some of them crosses the line into a state of stability, there’s always someone to take their place. That’s the kind of community we were in before COVID. And we were coming out of the last economic recession where services had been slashed, you know, some of the kind of older quality people who had been in the community had lost their jobs, or had just retired and despair. And so we lost a lot of the knowledge base within the community within services, because the service was either just not there anymore, not able to be sustained by funding.

Catherine McDonald  7:51 

And what sort of services are you referring to there?

Declan Keenan  7:54 

So it’d be different child and adolescent services, maybe after school services, youth services had been cut, and our budgets and funding so they’d lost youth workers. Schools themselves, struggling for teachers, young people, then are always seeing people coming and going, they’re not seeing the stability that they really need. It’s a community that relies on services to help them get through day to day.

Catherine McDonald  8:19 

And what about the home life of the young people that you work with on a daily basis? What kind of things are they experiencing at home?

Declan Keenan  8:27 

So like I said, there is 20 to 25% of young people who are constantly in crisis, that also means that there’s, you know, 75 to 80%, who are not in a crisis element, you know, but still for them, their families are struggling, the inner city community in Dublin, the indigenous people who would be there as well as for want of a better word. They’d have been there for generation after generation. And then we now have, in our small part of the community, we have 39 nationalities, living within that community, living in apartments, and living in quite inadequate housing. So they just kind of built apartments around the flat complexes and put in people from these communities. So it’s not like you see in some of the large cities where there’s, you know, sections where all the Romanian people live, or all the, you know, in London, the Irish people might have lived in certain sections of community, you know, and you had a little bit of more support with your own community being around you. Here, we have 39 different nationalities all put into the same pot. So they don’t have the same value systems, sometimes from their own culture. They don’t have the same cultural norms. They don’t have the same language amongst the parents. So there’s not the same support systems set up quickly, you know, that you’d find even in struggling communities, you know, where there’s a large section of one type of people getting together and they might form a club or an association or something like that, and they’d have that support system around them.

Catherine McDonald  10:04 

And what about employment so that the parents of the children that come to your club, and therefore the aspirations of the children that come to your club, what is the current employment picture in the area in which you work?

Declan Keenan  10:16 

So employment, again, amongst the people who had been there for generations, has always remained a struggle, because their attainment usually hasn’t been great in education, they haven’t reached those jobs that are paying them well. The area of the community that we work in is known as the markets area. So it would have been the old fruit and vegetable markets. So people would have traditionally relied on jobs in the fruit or vegetable markets. So those markets then were removed, because you can’t be bring in big trucks in through the city anymore. So they kind of moved out into the suburbs. So people have lost their traditional jobs. And so a lot of them do struggle, then to find employment locally within the community, they find it very difficult sometimes, to travel out into the suburbs. That was something that took me years to come to understand that, you know, everything, for the whole generation has been just at our fingertips, our job, to shops or like beside them to run in the city centre, they just have to walk down to the high street, they have everything they need within walking distance, and slowly but surely, that’s been taken away from them, and been removed. So they do struggle, there’s a high proportion of men missing from the community. So a lot of the employment would have been traditionally put on women. So again, they’d struggle to find jobs locally. And then employment has changed itself from years ago, you would have got a job where you expected to keep that job as long as it stayed open, or as long as you were willing to be in it. And now we have all these, you know, short term or no term contracts, where people just get work when it comes or it doesn’t come and then they are going back to social welfare. And they’re trying to find some more work. And it’s just a cycle of trying to find work to work stopping times like Christmas, summer, when there’s a big influx of tourism. Yes, there’ll be jobs going. In other times that your slacks down and there’s no work.

Catherine McDonald  12:17 

Which all comes back doesn’t it to that question of instability, the children that are coming to you seem to have an element of instability in most parts of their life?

Declan Keenan  12:26 

Yes, you know, we often refer to how it is for young people in the inner city as like they’re living in a chaotic society, everything seems to be chaotic for them. Their norm is chaos. And then for the 25%, that are kind of high maintenance families, their chaos goes to extreme. And then if you do well, you’ll bring them back down to a normal level of chaos. And of course, if that’s your norm, you don’t notice it.

Catherine McDonald  12:53 

So as COVID came upon us and the lockdowns were first introduced, what did you begin to notice?

Declan Keenan  13:01 

As for everybody, it came upon us really like a guillotine coming down. What was really instantly noticeable was the young people who went missing, they just refused to answer anything that you’d put out to them, you know, any questions, any kind of outreach that you’re trying to do to them, they just not interested. The sun was shining really strongly in Ireland in that first half of that lockdown, which is unusual for us. So we were having this fantastic spring, the children weren’t allowed outside. So they were sneaking out and they were going into places where they knew people wouldn’t come looking for them. And then the reports coming back instantly was of, you know, chaotic scenes happening along canal banks and things like that violence starting to increase. So that’s happening one cohort of our young people, then we’d have a large proportion of young people who are being raised by grandparents. And so they were then sitting at home, extremely fearful, being told, if you go outside the door, you’re gonna kill your grandmother. And that’s the only person they have, who loves, cares for them in the world, as far as they can see. And they don’t see that if anything would happen to that grandparent, who else would look after them? They would come onto the Zooms with us. They’d have lots of questions. They were panicky, they were panicky about trying to get schoolwork done without any guidance at all. So we set-up classes in the morning where they could ask questions about their schoolwork, and we’d help them with it. And the whole mood was just one of panic, you know, and then there was about 50% of them who kind of took it day by day, you know, and obviously we couldn’t get in to see them. So you’re just relying on what information was common to you through your computer or your phone.

Catherine McDonald  14:51 

And obviously across the UK, there’s pockets of digital poverty, the digital divide about who had tablets and laptops and computers and who didn’t – did some of the children that you work with fall foul of that?

Declan Keenan  15:03 

Yes, you know, there was young people who they were in a small flash. So if they had the internet, it was usually on their phone. And always usually that they paid the monthly subscription to the phone company, and they had broadband that way. But they normally relied on, you know, going to places where there was WiFi to kind of keep their broadband usage going. And then they found they were at home using broadband a lot more. But all of their family are also at home using broadband more, and everyone in the flat complex is using the broadband more so the signal was dropping, and they only had a phone to maybe do their homework on. These weren’t young people who would have, you know, the families would have invested in laptops or things like that, that would have been too much money to spend on something – I remember, you know, frantically sending messages around to different people seeing who had laptops, that anyone got ones to spare that could send to some young people so that they could just have communication, because then maybe once a week, communicate and say I just got my dad’s phone or my mom’s phone or my sister’s phone. And, you know, I don’t have a phone myself. So, you know, I can only talk for a few minutes here.

Catherine McDonald  16:15 

So the effects that you’re talking about how did those change across the course of the pandemic? Because, you know, obviously, we have periods of lockdown periods of return to school, and to sort of a semi-normal life, how did those sorts of effects fluctuate?

Declan Keenan  16:32 

Yeah, I think when we came out of that first initial lockdown, and the summer was kind of coming towards young people, so school didn’t restart for them. So they had just such a huge long break. And we almost had a respite period in the summer, where the cases were just remaining stable, which we’re still constantly getting the message across from media, you know, to be careful to watch out to distance to wear masks. So there was an element coming back in of this new normal as they were calling it. So people were very unsure. Well, how long is this gonna last? Is it gonna get worse? Is it gonna get better. And it was just day to day, you know, it was just a very unclear two years of ups and downs.

Catherine McDonald  17:17 

And several people across this series have sort of specifically spoken about that post Christmas lockdown when the children certainly here in the UK didn’t go back to school after Christmas, as expected was that the same in Ireland, and given that it was in the middle of winter, was that a particularly difficult time?

Declan Keenan  17:36 

So I remember, there was a  young person we work with, and sadly, the grandparent who they lived with passed away of COVID, and went in travelled up to Dublin to see them, we had to meet them in a park. And it was the first time we’re really seen the streets empty, and one or two people kind of scurring by fully with masks on – it was stark. So the school had kind of come up with new ideas how to keep people safe, so they put them into bubbles. And we see in young people sometimes been sent home three or four times, because someone in their bubble, had someone in their family or themselves had tested positive for COVID. So the whole bubble was sent home, to isolate in an already isolated community, while I’d go in from time to time, to the flats, and you would see a young person standing up on our balcony, not able to go down to the playground because they were isolating. And you’ll start to look of despair on our face, you know, when you couldn’t even go up to them.

Catherine McDonald  18:41 

So those children that you could reach and have a conversation with what were they saying to you during these times?

Declan Keenan  18:48 

The first lockdown. You know, there was elements of, you know, nervousness, and excitement and newness. And like it was strange in a different way. This one felt much more had the air of despair. So as I said, it was winter time, for the first time you started to see a real sense of despair on people’s face, almost giving up like, this is our lot, we just have to start accepting it.

Catherine McDonald  19:15 

I mean, it must have felt overwhelming for you, the children that you were, you know, pre-COVID being able to keep a relatively close eye on and provide such huge support to and then suddenly you couldn’t reach them. How did that feel?

Declan Keenan  19:31 

At that stage it became a case of like, so people who are in uniform are considered at that stage then to be essential workers. So you could go in and but a lot of services had shut down and decided that they weren’t going to do any face-to-face work. So one of the real issues was our whole ability to work well the way we do at Just Ask is to be able to rely on other services when we see a young person, in distress for whatever reason, we’d work out who do we need to get this young person to? Who do we need to involve in the conversation here? How do we need to wrap services, not just a service, but services around this young person. And then all of a sudden, you’re ringing other services and they are just going we are not doing face to face work, we can’t do any of that. Young person, just refusing – I’m not going on another Zoom call. I don’t want to talk to someone over Zoom, just to see and all of those services being pulled from people. At the end of the second lockdown, we had the case where young people were going back to school. And for the first time, they had to wear masks in secondary school. In primary school, in the fifth and sixth classes in primary school, they had to wear masks, it was quite frightening for a lot of young people. So they weren’t sure that it just felt a school experience just felt very bad for them. They were coming back saying they didn’t want to be in school, they didn’t like going to school, don’t want to wear this mask anymore. I don’t want to be stuck in the class wearing a mask. I want to see my friends. My friends are not in my bubble anymore. So I can’t even sit near my friends. So just seemed like you know, where we were saying wave after wave of COVID. There was wave after wave of restrictions on young people being young people.

Catherine McDonald  21:22 

And how would you say COVID, therefore has left those young people?

Declan Keenan  21:27 

I think there’s still a very strong feeling of this is not over if it happened that way before is it going to happen that way, again? But I think it has left young people with an air of doom in them, you know, and even though, you know, we talk about and we can see the resilience of young people, they will just get on day to day on on the outside, at least you know, they’ll seem happy go lucky. They’ll be playing away. If you ask them the direct question, are you okay today? Is everything good? They’ll go fine, no problem. Because they don’t want to be in a conversation about not being fine. It’s not a place you want to be as a child, is it?

Catherine McDonald  22:04 

So what are you being able to do to kind of make sure that those who might have sort of a deep seated fear that doesn’t come out in that original sort of line of how are you today type questioning? How are you working with the children to sort of make sure that the deep seated fears don’t go completely undetected?

Declan Keenan  22:23 

One of the things we did was we got a group of young people and we formed a group with them, they named it the vibes. So they would talk regularly, not only about how they were feeling, but how the classmates are feeling or people in different clubs or in their family at their age were feeling. And they put together some Instagram pages and Facebook pages, where they would share positivity, they had this idea of these five things a day that you could do to stay positive, you know, by connecting with other people by contributing, you know, by staying healthy, all of these kinds of things that they would do. So they promote that amongst young people. So that got a lot of our young people talking and then as they would come in and share what they were doing. So that would help young people maybe loosen up and say, yeah, I feel that way. I feel a bit this way. And the young people themselves, then, you know, we’re trying to just share their experiences about how, you know, they would get over that.

Catherine McDonald  23:18 

And you know, we’ve talked a lot in this series so far about the resilience of our children and young people and the level of resilience, they’ve shown through the pandemic, which you yourself referred to earlier, and also how good a lot of them have been at articulating their feelings. It sounds like you would agree with that.

Declan Keenan  23:37 

I would it to some degree. But I’d also be cautious. Because going back to earlier, where we’re saying we’re working in a community that always consistently has a high proportion of young people who are in some form of chaos, when we look at the adults in our community. So they would have been the young people when I started working and, you know, most of the parents of the Just Ask children came to Just Ask when they were children. So yes, you know, we would have seen resilience in them in everything that they had to face, all the things that they had to overcome. But when we look at the outcomes of that life, there’s so much sadness, there’s so much despair. There’s so much, you know, abuse of substances. There’s so much broken families, you know, so on the outside, like I say, a child might seem resilient to the eye, you know, and they say they’re fine and are happy and are playing with their friends or whatever. But will the outcome be something far more difficult to face? That’s what my fear will be, you know, and if as a society we just say, well, that’s over and done with let’s try and put it behind us now and move forward. But we don’t really start to piece together what went wrong? What was bad, allowing young people to talk about it for having also solutions for them because a young person who have not learned those solutions, and are not going to learn solutions from adults who have never learned those solutions. So like I said, a community like ours has a high dependency on outside organisations being there for them. And all of the stuff that was causing these people to be highly dependent on services before COVID, has not changed. Some of it’s got worse, it’s one thing after another after another, on top of an already struggling community. So, you know, it would be a question, you know, what is resilience? You know, is it just the ability to be able to push it down a little bit further and smile a little bit better, I’d suggest that for some people, at least, that that’s the case, I have a strong recollection of a young lady who’s a mother now in a very struggling family. And when I was quite young, much younger, working in the job, I drove past our house. And at the moment, I was driving past our house, she was coming out the door, there was screaming, coming behind her. And she was crying, she was visibly upset. And she closed slammed the door behind her. And then she didn’t notice me. And she just took this deep breath, wiped her face, and put on a smile, and changed her stance, and then walked out. And it was one of those paradigm shift moments for me of seeing, Oh, my goodness, look at all that trauma just being shoved down and put a smile on the face. And so we’re looking at a community that already has layer upon layer, upon layer of disadvantage of struggle, before the pandemic ever hit. And all of those struggles are still there. All of those problems are still there. And now, we’ve got this thing still looming over us still looming over our young people. They’ve been told your world has changed forever, without any quantifying of what does that actually mean? So my fear is like, that young people yes, they don’t want to be in a sad place. They don’t want to be in an upset place. They don’t want to be sitting having a conversation with somebody about their difficulties. I mean, sometimes it’s like trying to grab a cat to get a young person to sit down and talk about their difficulties. You know, that’s why something like play therapy works so well you know. But we can’t afford to do that for every child can we? Here you know, a child who’s struggling with speech and language difficulties in the inner city, might in their childhood get two or three hours of a speech and language therapist. So how are they going to get the services that they need to help them to unravel all this? And if they’re living in a broken community how are they ever going to rise above that? Some will, just by sheer numbers and luck or opportunity, you know, but I feared a lot, won’t, will be left dealing with that for many years.

Catherine McDonald  28:00 

So what needs to be done to address the impacts on young people and children? And I guess there’s two sort of levels, things that we could do as a society, as communities, but also at a government level. So if we do this government policy level first, what should be being prioritised in your opinion?

Declan Keenan  28:20 

One thing in our society in Ireland here that we see it very clearly, and it was kind of a bit of a shock was how easy it was to shut down the country for two years, pay people not to go to work, all of a sudden, we have no problem in funding, and fueling this with no problem and open up, you know, massive warehouses in order to be able to medically look after people to be able to test and trace the amount of money that went into it. And yet, we’re told year in year out, there’s no money for education, there’s no money for youth services, there’s no money for this that or the other. I personally think we need to I would love to see a government say, the child that’s born today, we’re going to invest for the next 21 years ring fenced guaranteed, and we’re going to invest in this young person, we’re going to invest in their education, we’re going to invest in their health, we’re going to invest in their wellbeing, we’re going to make sure at school that they have opportunities, not just academically in sports. We’re going to make sure that when they are out of school that are going to have outlets that are going to be funded. That are going to have people there who are going to be there for them are going to be there to encourage them who are going to be there to pick up pieces when things fall apart for them. We’re going to invest for 21 years, so that the child born today, when they’re 21. We will see the outcome of their life. How come that never happens in our progressive Western societies, you know, that we just make that decision that determination. Instead, you know, we have systems where it’s year in year out. It’s on the whims of what’s going on, as to, you know, can we form schools? Can we make one more teacher? Can we give a special needs teacher? Can we have, you know, an extra help in the classroom for children who are obviously struggling? Where do children go to have sports in the inner city, if you’re not interested in soccer, or boxing, there’s not a lot of opportunity for you in sports. There’s no play areas for children, they will build buildings, which they know are going to house for many years, young families with young children without a playground, without a piece of green grass, without anywhere for them to go. It just seems like, you know, we do knee jerk policies when it comes to struggling communities, and we never just sit down and get it right.

Catherine McDonald  30:51 

And what about as a society and as a community? What could we do?

Declan Keenan  30:56 

Yes, I mean, look, society, I think has got to realise that as we’ve made progress over the years, we’ve also had some regress, if I just took the community I work in and look at it at the moment, I’ve never seen the amount of young people standing on corners, involved in selling drugs and taking drugs just openly. And people are afraid to say anything, they are afraid to mention it. They’re afraid to challenge it. You know, so we have a society that has been told over the last few years. It’s none of your business, you know, to interfere, you don’t get involved. You stay away, you keep to yourself, you know, so we’re trying to send that message out to people in one hand, and then we’re trying to say in your hand, on our we need to be more caring, we need to be more inclusive, you can’t do both things. You can’t have a society where nobody gets to point out what’s going wrong. You know, I think there’s got to be a big, deep breath taken by society and looking at, you know, some of the issues that’s happening on our streets. Why have we allowed that to happen? Why have we allowed it to get to this stage? You know, we need to think as people you know, we need to think about those who we don’t see, that’s hard, isn’t it, you know, to say in here, out of sight, out of mind, what’s not confronting us? How do we ever rise up to meet the challenge of it, you know. It’s a festering wound isn’t it? Some of the negative parts of our society and nobody likes, especially a child or young person, they don’t like to expose that would if it’s never done, it’s never going to get better, it’s only gonna get worse. So we need to find a kind and professional way of gently helping people to show a stab wound and to explain to them that we’re going to clean the wound up with them, and we’re going to cover it up properly. And we’re going to make sure it stays healthy and clean and that it heals. And they must be part of the solution. Because look, the honest truth is this a lot of the wounds are self inflicted, you know, when we can argue about the who, what, when, where, how, why, but they are self inflicted, and we need to try to help these communities not be inflicting so much wounds on themselves.

Catherine McDonald  33:17 

And one final question, how much worse has COVID made all of this?

Declan Keenan  33:23 

You know, for me personally, like I mean, I find that even as a worker, you know, COVID has affected me, it’s affected my ability to respond to be just full of fire to be full of enthusiasm. I’ve had days where I’ve just wanted to go back and retreat it just does something weird to your psyche, I think. you know, I believe we’re all in a bit of COVID fatigue at one level or another. You know, I think society at the moment has all this talk about a great reset, well I think we need a great reset, as communities. We need a day of reviving ourselves almost, of revitalising ourselves and reassessing where we’re at and re-planning as to how do we take on the next 10 years, say, you know, as communities individually, and as society in general.

Catherine McDonald  34:16 

My thanks to Declan Keenan, You can find out more about the work of the Interdisciplinary Child Wellbeing Network via their website and Twitter @ICWBN. The work of the network is funded by the UK Research and Innovation Economic and Social Research Council and the Irish Research Council under the ESRC-IRC UK Ireland networking grants. This was a Research Podcasts production. Thank you for listening, and remember to subscribe to receive all future episodes.

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