The Haliburton County Youth Hub is offering youth a place to drop-in despite being limited by COVID-19. The hub has stayed closed throughout the pandemic but has shifted to offer more online services and activities.

With the easing of restrictions over the past month, the hub is also offering care packages three days a week for people who drop by. Hub therapist Bessa McClure said it is challenging to change its services, but they have taken a methodical approach.

“Making sure that we’re getting the word out on our social media. Getting in touch with our community partners so people can know far and wide what we’re offering,” she said. “Now that we’re moving into phase three (of Ontario’s reopening plan), we’re going to continue to use our different contacts and continue getting that word out.”

The online services the hub has offered in the past several months are wide-ranging, including virtual mediation, martial arts, arts and tea time. People are also still able to access the hub’s usual assortment of health, addictions, housing and employment services remotely or in-person one-on-one, McClure said.

“We know that supports for mental health can be critical,” McClure said. “But from social determinants of health standpoint, things that are just fun, that aren’t clinical, are important as well.”

But attracting the same amount of youth while the physical space is closed has been an issue, McClure said.

“Social services in general have kind of taken a hit with that sort of thing,” McClure said. “There are a lot of reasons why that might be happening. What we continue to do is encourage people to access services if they need it … Even with the drop-by, people can come by, give a hello and hopefully, we can just start to see some familiar faces.”

McClure said the hub remains youth-driven and they are doing an online survey to get more information on the needs of youth during this time, as well as seeking out more members for their youth advisory committee.

“What youth have to say is very important, she said. “The hub is co-created by youth and adults.”

More information on hub services is available by contacting haliburtonhub@ pointintime.ca or 705-306-5199.

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