A YOUTH support charity in Gillingham has been busy creating a short film to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19 on young people.

‘Covid and Me’ was an opportunity for teenagers and young people to express what the coronavirus experience has been like for them, with around 30 people getting involved and talking to camera.

Before the second lockdown restrictions were in force, members of The Rendezvous, the group behind the project, took to the streets to speak to residents about their personal accounts on the pandemic, its impact on mental health and Gillingham in general, in order to make the film a reality.

The film initiative had started with a focus on promoting Gillingham and asking residents for positive insight into the town, but plans had to take a shift to accommodate the effects of Covid-19.

“We started off thinking what else can we do to help and engage with young people, so we wanted them to be involved with creating a story about Gillingham and its positives. We thought let’s start by understanding what is here and what is good in Gillingham, but with Covid-19 this changed to ‘how have you found lockdown’,” said The Rendezvous chief executive, Helen Da Silva Wood.

She added: “The response to filming was really positive which ended up linking this vision to the original brief.

“[Young people] are beginning to appreciate the benefits of this small town, this year in particular they have started to understand the value of education.

"People have been struggling of course, but this helped them to find their voice. The impact of this virus is so important on young people as they are worried about what will come next.”

Alisha Hill, who features in the film and takes part in voluntary work for The Rendezvous, said the experience was “a really good opportunity to listen and understand how young people in Gillingham are really feeling about Covid-19”.

She added: “Everyone was very interested in this project and without their willingness to talk it wouldn’t have been possible. Young people get talked about a lot and it was good to let us have our say.”

The charity, based in Sherborne, will soon have a permanent site in Gillingham to provide support sessions, but during the second lockdown the outreach team is working remotely.

“It is really important to acknowledge that people are struggling and it is so important to help,” Helena added.

To watch the ‘Covid and Me’ trailer click here.