Walk buddy or pavement chat for lonely youngsters in corona times

In Zelzate (East Flanders) Samenlevingsopbouw, a not-for-profit organisation that support society’s most vulnerable, has launched an initiative to help lonely youngsters.  Youngsters, who are feeling lonely during the corona emergency can book a walk with a member of staff.  During their walk the two will discuss how the youngster can break out of his or her isolation and discuss any issues they are struggling with.

“We’ve noticed many youngsters are living in insolation during this crisis.  They have fewer social contacts with pers.  Many youngsters live in small houses, often with many other children in the family” says Odiel Oosterlinck.

Odiel has already met up with one youngster: “We walked for two and a half hours.  We talked about so many things!”

Youngsters often have practical questions: how do you find work in corona times? Some feel claustrophobic as a result of the restrictions.

Not every youngsters with questions wants to go for a walk.  In Zelzate you can get an appointment Samenlevingsopbouw and they will send somebody round with a chair and you can have a ‘pavement chat out of doors, while social distancing is observed!  

The organisation is also providing space in its offices and elsewhere for youngsters who need a quiet corner.  “Here they can come and study, do their cool work or relax.  At home there isn’t always the space” says Odiel!