A Youth Scotland network update on operations and support during the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic

Guidance and Support for Community-Based Youth Work During Covid-19

Updated: 05/01/2021

Scotland in Lockdown

As of midnight 5 January 2021, mainland Scotland has again moved into a lockdown with the key message of stay at home.

Guidance issued by the Scottish Government states, "To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. By law, in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose."

Guidance on the delivery of youth work

Mainland Scotland remains in Level 4, which has been updated and expanded to become Above Protection Level 4. Scotland's Islands remain in Level 3.

Above Protection Level 4

Youth work delivery should be delivered online; face to face support should only take place for the following purposes:

  1. providing support to education hubs for the children of essential workers.
  2. providing support for the most vulnerable young people who do not have other means of support and cannot access support remotely.

In circumstances where support to a vulnerable young person is required, this should be provided on a one to one basis (indoors or outdoors) with restriction measures in place.

Level 3

For areas operating under protection level 3, services should be targeted at the most vulnerable learners and group numbers should be kept as low as possible. 

Youth Scotland Resources

Further down this page are sections on Digital Youth Work and Safe Online Working.  In the event that some outdoor services remain permissible, we also have free guides and toolkits on Outdoor Activities and Outdoor Youth Work

Click here for the updated Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services.

Digital Youth Work and Safe Online Working

During lockdown, digital youth work will return to being the most common form of delivery for many groups. The following advice and resources help support these activities.

Advice on safe digital youth work

At the bottom of this page you can download a quick guide on suggestions and advice for safe online youth work. We are asked: how can we reach young people digitally? How can we do it safely? What activities can we arrange online when our youth centres are closed? Safeguarding the young people, you work with and keeping yourself safe are still top priorities.

Youth Highland, our Area Association partner have produced a guide from their experience of working online. It also includes their views on social media and other digital tools - download at the foot of this page.

Cyber security advice from Police Scotland

Police Scotland have issued some very accessible cyber security videos that their colleagues in the City of London Police have shared. The videos cover: Phishing, Vishing, Multi-Factor Authentication, Passwords, Software updates, Social engineering and Securing your router. The topics may sound daunting, but the videos avoid jargon and explain things clearly. See the download at the foot of this page.

Outdoor Activities and Outdoor Youth Work

Most groups should not be continuing outdoor delivery. Should any of our members meet the criteria set out by Above Protection Level 4, we have produced some handy guides on detached youth work and outdoor activities. 

Youth Scotland’s Guide to Detached Youth Work

This pack is for youth workers who are interested in detached youth work, whether they are already a detached youth worker or wanting to develop detached youth work. This pack looks at the practicalities of detached youth work and the benefits of it.

Youth Scotland’s Guide to Out and About Youth Work

This pack is for groups who are interested in outdoor activities. The outdoors can be a great place to learn and have fun and can make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of young people and adults. Positive experiences can generate an interest in the outdoors which goes far beyond the boundaries of your youth group.


Other Useful Information

The following resources are available for groups during the pandemic and beyond.

Child Protection Additional Guidance from Scottish Government

Scottish Government are advising that there is likely to be a rise in child protection concerns due to the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on families and wider society.

In light of this, Scottish Government have issues some additional Covid-19 guidance which supplements the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland

Occupational Risk Assessment Guidance

This guidance, from Scottish Government, explains the risk assessment process in relation to the specific risk of COVID-19 to individuals in the workplace. In particular, this is relevant to those staff members who are returning to work after shielding, those who are returning to normal duties after COVID-19 related restrictions, those who are returning to the workplace after working from home or anyone who has a concern about a particular vulnerability to COVID-19. There are three things which affect the occupational health risk from COVID-19. Download the guide below.


More guidance will be available on this page, among other sources. To ensure you know about the guidance as soon as it’s made available, follow us on Twitter Facebook and sign up to our E-newsletter  

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