Young Somerset digitised their 1-to-1 therapy service in just one week

Four weeks ago Young Somerset were supporting 350 young people a week through face-to-face youth work and interventions. Their digital infrastructure could best be described as ‘fledgling’

Then, like it did for so many of us, everything changed with the implementation of the UK government’s COVID-19 movement restrictions.

On Friday, 20th March Nik Harwood, the charity’s CEO suspended all face-to-face services.

Suddenly 72 of the most vulnerable young people, those receiving weekly therapeutic CBT sessions from the charity’s Wellbeing Service were isolated at home. Already part of the loneliest segment of society home wouldn’t be a pleasant or safe place for some of them.

Nik and his team faced two challenges:

1. How to keep young people engaged and supported in the immediate short-term – so they know support is still there, that the tap won’t be turned off, while…

2. Finding a method of online delivery that was safe for staff, safe and accessible for young people, and met their NHS commssioner’s information governance and security requirements 

By Sunday, 29th March they had agreed and signed off a new service delivery protocol with commissioners.

Young Somerset began delivering therapeutic services online on March 30th. They now have a working protocol that covers:

  • Evidence for delivering online support
  • Developing therapeutic relationships online
  • Risk and safeguarding
  • Session set-up Do’s and Don’ts
  • Guide to using Zoom
  • Guide to helping clients set-up the software

They’ve also taken their consent forms online, developed a protocol for phone support and are developing a protocol for digital open access youth work.

Nik Harwood:

“I don’t think we will go back to the world we were in. I expect online delivery to be part of how we deliver therapeutic work in the long-term future”

Read the full article to find out how they dealt with issues from governance and security to their new protocol: 

scvo - Safeguarding online: How Young Somerset digitised their 1-to-1 therapy service in just one week


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