Jessica, who is part of the Londonderry YMCA is one of many young people across the country who has been badly affected by the lockdown and the impact it has had on education.

During the Headliners project, Jessica learned how to be more open about her feelings and overcame her fear of sharing opinions with others.

“During the YMCA project with Headliners, I really enjoyed speaking about topics that we don’t usually talk about. I enjoyed talking about how to deal with stress and how to be more resilient or some weeks we talked about what is good and bad about education from home. It was something new every week!”

“I think that the most important thing about the project for me is that it has helped me not to be scared to express my thoughts and feelings to other people who might be feeling the same way as I do. It can be difficult to express myself to others, especially when talking about stressful topics like the lockdown, but being part of a group made it easier to talk about.”

“The podcasts are something that were completely new to me. Before the Headliners project, I wasn’t sure what a podcast was or if it was possible to actually do one with a group, but it turned out to be great fun and easier than I thought!”

“It was great to get the chance to speak with my friends from YMCA every week also and to play games, talk about different topics and try new things every week.”

Young people from the YMCA group say that they often feel isolated from others as a result of schools being closed. But being part of the Headliners project gave them an opportunity to meet once a week with friends to discuss topics that they are all facing.

“One of the things I enjoyed most about being a part of Headliners is the feeling of being able to openly discuss anything with the group. It is something that is difficult to do in lockdown and it was nice to be open to everyone else about how I was really feeling about certain things.”

“With the podcasts, it was interesting to see how it is made from start to finish. We were shown how to edit the projects, cutting out gaps and adding music to make it sound better. It is something that I would be interested in trying myself sometime in the future. I also enjoyed being part of the video project where we all described what a typical day in lockdown is like for us.

This project was supported by the Londonderry YMCA and was made possible through funding from the Education Authority