Youth work responses to the pandemic: the news from Chilypep

Chilypep were pleased to be able to write a reflective piece for the IDYW (In Defence of Youth Work) website around how we have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marie, one of our project coordinators, talks about how Chilypep have tried to respond rapidly to the current situation, using creativity to innovate for a ‘new normal’. Looking at the challenges of home working, the impact this can have on staff’s own wellbeing, and moreover the pressures faced by young people at this time, this article offers some reflections and insights into the impact of COVID on youth work and young people.

You can read the full article here.

About In Defence of Youth Work

The In Defence of Youth Work campaign was established following the Youth and Policy’s History conference in March 2009. The impetus came from the circulation of an Open Letter, which can be found on the website. At heart the Campaign seeks to defend and extend youth work as a distinctive educational practice founded on a voluntary relationship with young people and shaped by their agendas.

You can find out more about, and follow the IDYW movement here:

Black lives matter and resources to help understand racism

Here are a list of books, podcasts and films around the topic of understanding racism.
We know that many young people will today be exercising their human right to join the many rallies across the country, standing together against systemic racism that is tragically still deeply rooted across our worlds. 
One of our workers has put together some tips on how to stay as safe as possible if you are taking part in protests and direct action today, being mindful that we are still in the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionally affecting people from black, asian and other non-white ethnic backgrounds.
Sheffield rally organisers have advised people to refrain from attending if they are experiencing any COVID symptoms, have come into contact with anyone in the last 14 days who has experience symptoms, or are part of a vulnerable group (or are living with/in contact with anyone who is).
Here are some ways you can show your support safely from home:
1) join the minute of silence to be held at 1.15pm in memory of George Floyd and all those who have lost their lives due to systemic racism
2) display a sign in your window showing support for Black Lives Matter and anti racism
3) watch the live stream of the Sheffield protest on Instagram at @shineraah
Stay safe and look out for one another #KindnessMatters #BlackLivesMatter

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Remember it’s also important to stay safe online, check out our online safety poster!

Week 7

8th -14th June 2020!

Join us throughout week 7 of our Chilypep social distancing schedule, get involved, comment, like, share!

Week 6

1st -7th June 2020!

Join us throughout week 6 of our Chilypep social distancing schedule, get involved and encourage and share with others!

The Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit and Young People’s lockdown routine planner

The Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit has been updated with more great guides and recommendations designed by young people over this period!

There is also a useful routine planner template with examples from young people we work with. This is a helpful template for young people to use and for professionals to share with young people they work with.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit

Young people’s lockdown routine planner template

Isolation Recommendations, by young people Chilypep work with…

Our landscape has changed in relation to COVID, however the young people we work with continue to inspire us and others and work alongside us to help share positive and creative self-help activities.

Young people Chilypep work with have put together a list of helpful recommendations in relation to isolation and as helpful distractions.

In light of #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek we hope that sharing this can help many others but also show how kind the young people we work with are. By continuing to come together, supporting each other and sharing helpful tips and strategies is going along way to creating a kind and mental health friendly community.

The isolation recommendations will be added to our Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit but also to our first ever edition of the Chilypep Zine. (I’m sure we will have a fabulous title for this written by the creative young people we work with, so keep a look out…Coming soon).

Click on the link below to download the recommendations…

Cook Like a Chilypepper – Making Breadcakes with Lucy!

As part of #CookLikeAChilypepper Lucy, a member of our STAMP group, shows us how to make her scrumptious home made breadcakes! You can follow her recipe at 4pm on Facebook/ Instagram or check out the full recipe here…


500g strong white bread flour, 40g caster sugar, 40g Butter (softened), 7g of one sachet of yeast, 7g salt (about one tsp), 320ml cold water


1. To a large bowl add your flour and make a well in the middle, to one side of the bowl add the sugar and the salt, to the other side add the yeast. In the well add the softened butter and 3/4’s of the water.

2. Start mixing the ingredients with your fingers and gradually add more water until it you have picked up all the flour, you may not need all the water or you may need more then the recipe says – it depends on your flour. Your dough needs to be soft but not soggy.

3. Tip the contents of the bowl onto a lightly oiled surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes, to start with your dough will be wet and sticky but as you knead it will become smooth and silky. (Don’t worry, as you knead your hands will become less dough-y)

4. Roll your dough into a ball, place it in a clean bowl and put a clean damp tea towel over the top (ring all the water out). Put the bowl in a warm place to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.

5. Line two baking trays with grease proof paper and the lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on. Take the dough and lightly knead to knock all the air out. split the dough into 12, 70g portions, roll them all into balls and place them on the baking trays so there are 6 on each. Lightly oil some cling film and cover the dough. Leave in a warm place to sit for 30 minutes.

6. While the dough it sitting, preheat oven to gas mark 7/220 degrees C

7. Uncover the first tray of dough and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown, when baked repeat with the second tray. Place your bread cakes on a cooling rack and then enjoy however you please!

Mental Health Manifesto – STAMP Call for Action!

STAMP (Support, Think, Act, Motivate, Participate) is Chilypep’s Sheffield based mental health influencing group. They are calling for your support in refreshing their mental health manifesto (call for action) to help them shape change in Sheffield around mental health for young people…

“We are from STAMP (Support, Think, Act, Motivate, Participate) a mental health action group, made up of young people aged 14-25 from all around Sheffield, who want to make the world a better place for young people.

We want to hear from young people in Sheffield and understand the key issues affecting young people around mental health.

This will help us put together our new refreshed manifesto for mental health, so we can share your priorities with key decision makers in the city and work with them to make this change.

Please share this link with young people you know and encourage them to complete our survey to help us understand what matters to them 😊

Complete their consultation today and be in with the chance to enter a prize draw to win a ‘Self-soothe box’ (if aged between 11 and 25 and have a Sheffield postcode).”

Week 4 of Chilypep’s online schedule- Practice a little kindness this mental health awareness week!

Mental health awareness week takes place this week, 18th-24th May 2020 and the theme is kindness. Kindness is one of Chilypep’s core values and this week we hope you’ll support us in flooding social media with acts of true kindness! We want to hear from you about when you’ve experienced true kindness, and we’ll be challenging you to be kind to yourself and others throughout the week!

We are now on week 4 of our social distancing schedule and all our activities are intrinsically linked to kindness so get involved and help spread a little love to yourself and others this week! (Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to get involved!)…

Walking can connect us to nature and helps practice self-kindness through exercise, taking time out and grounding ourselves!
Nature and plants can be so healing! Be kind to the plants and they will be kind to us!
Fancy some self-care through creative activities? Art can be very therapeutic and is definitely an act of self-kindness… and you can create for others and practice a little kindness to others too!
Who doesn’t LOVE a petspam?! Pets and animals connect us to nature and kindness in so many ways – get involved! Share your pets, or just join us in celebrating and appreciating others 🙂
Be kind to your bodies and minds! Cooking is not only therapeutic, but we must nurture our bodies and minds to be kind to ourselves. Why not bake a treat for yourself, or for someone else this week?!
Music, poetry, writing, dancing… connects us all and give joy and celebration! Share your performances with us throughout the week and we will share them on Saturday to make people smile and bring a little kindness to people’s hearts!
And relax… self-care and relaxation is so important. It’s tough to do sometimes, but in being kind to ourselves we must try to take care of our bodies and minds. Join Amy in learning how to sleep well!

As well as our social distancing schedule activities we are asking you to share with us stories of how you have experienced kindness, kind acts you are doing for yourself, or for others (we will be sharing ours too!). Just send us your pictures and stories or use #ChilypepChallenge and we will share them to our social media!

If you do one thing this week, practice kindness!
Want to take part?! Send us your pics and stories throughout the week!

You can find out more about mental health awareness week and the theme of kindness here: