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: 26/04/2021

Updated Guidance for Youth Work is available

As of Monday 26 April 2021, some of the lockdown measures in Scotland are changing.

The First Minister confirmed that all parts of the country will move to Level 3 from Monday 26 April. 

YouthLink Scotland and the youth work sector have updated the Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services to reflect these changes. Youth Scotland has updated our Youth Scotland Post Lockdown Readiness Guide available at the foot of this page.

Guidance on the delivery of youth work

The key information for youth work providers is:  

  • Outdoor and digital youth work remain the preferred methods of delivery at this time.
  • Indoor youth work may be permitted for select reasons (see the guidance for specific details).
  • No delivery should exceed 30 persons in any space, including youth workers (under 18 years old) or 15 persons outdoors and no more than 5 indoors, including youth workers (over 18 years old).

YouthLink Scotland and the youth work sector have updated the Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services to reflect these changes.  

Prior to resuming face-to-face youth activities

We would advise all community-based youth workers and groups to be aware of the ‘Expectations before delivery’ section of the Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services and to carry out their own risk assessment of any planned activity.

Good communication with young people and their parents or carers can set expectations and ensure that safety questions and concerns are dealt with.

You can find our Youth Scotland Post Lockdown Readiness Guide - Planning for your youth group/organisation as lockdown eases guide at the foot of this page, aimed at helping community-based youth work be ready for the changes and beyond.

Outdoor youth work

From Monday 26 April, outdoor delivery should not exceed 30 persons in any space, including youth workers (under 18 years old) or 15 persons with no more than 5 youth workers (over 18 years old).

Detached youth work

Detached youth work may now resume in response to local needs. Detached youth work is youth work that takes place on the streets, parks and other outdoor parts of our communities where young people are. Detached youth work can therefore be a great way to engage or reengage with young people during lockdown. You can download Youth Scotland’s Guide to Detached Youth Work here or at the foot of the page.

Youth work in schools

As part of education recovery, outdoor youth work may now be delivered during the school day, in line with  Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools and in agreement with schools and Local Authorities. More details can be found on page 6 of the Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services 

Limited provision of indoor support in specific circumstances

The provision of indoor support is permitted in the following specific circumstances:

  • Targeted youth work to support health and wellbeing with vulnerable groups.
  • Completion of youth qualifications or employment training.
  • Education recovery.

Please see table 1-1 in the guidance for details. This may also include continuing to provide essential items and support to families, children or young people in crisis, including measures to address food insecurity.

Outdoor sports

Youth work leaders considering delivery of organised outdoor contact sports should consult Scottish Government guidelines and sportscotland advice.

Digital youth work

We expect digital youth work to remain part of community-based youth work for the foreseeable future. Many groups may be reluctant or unable to resume face-to-face youth work at this stage. Youth Scotland has some valuable resources available to support this further down this page. We also regularly run online training to support workers

Youth Scotland Resources

Reopening Youth Work - Member Sessions

From 29 April, in support of the gradual re-opening of youth work, Youth Scotland will be running a series of sessions to support member groups. These sessions are an opportunity to provide a safe space to discuss the practicalities of returning to face-to-face work.

We will discuss the latest youth work guidance, what is permitted outdoors and indoors and signpost you to further resources and support. We will be joined by colleagues from Youth Scotland and members from across Scotland and you will have a chance to ask questions, consider scenarios and share ideas.

This is an informal and interactive session for member groups. We will keep numbers quite small in each session, so there is adequate time to give everyone the chance to be heard and feel that the conversations are relatable to your own practice and organisation. See our events calendar to book your place

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

Outdoor Activities and Outdoor Youth Work

We have produced some handy guides on detached youth work and outdoor activities.

Youth Scotland's Outdoor Games Film Tutorial

 Young girl pointing at user with playground in the background

Get ready to have fun with your youth group outside with our new FREE Outdoor Games Session tutorial film! In less than 15 minutes, you can learn some safe, fun outdoor games activities you can do with your groups, with social distancing, hand hygiene and safe use of equipment.

Developed with support from CashBack for Communities, these games require either no equipment or minimal equipment and we will talk you through how to use the equipment safely. Where possible, we have also added instructions on how to play online!

To access the Outdoor Games Film for FREE, register here and you will be emailed a link to the Outdoor Games Film. 

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.

Digital Youth Work and Safe Online Working

During lockdown, digital youth has been 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.


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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