I think it's safe to say that 2020 has been the weirdest year of all our lives. We have had to adapt our scheme to fall in line with the pandemic, but it has proved to be more successful. Students are now used to online learning, so the concept of doing work experience from home no longer seems as daunting, as it perhaps has done to previous years.
It has been very unfortunate that the theatres have had to close their doors on several occasions since the start of term, but we are incredibly grateful to those who offered us tickets to their productions when they could.
The Rose Theatre offered us two productions for our students to attend and the Theatre Centre offered us a streamed performance for two of our students to review, during the November lockdown. The National had also arranged for two Young Reporters to attend their Christmas pantomime, but unfortunately they were unable to continue with the performance due to the government plunging London into Tier 3 and the theatre industry was forced to close their doors once more.
The pandemic has made us rethink the kind of opportunities we have offered to the students, as the government insisted that so many attractions closed. Nevertheless, we thought outside the box and two lucky students attended an online cookery course, three others interviewed the main organiser of the Wandsworth Food Bank and one student reviewed a Christmas charity online concert, which was streamed live from Calcutta.
We are hoping that in 2021 more attractions will begin to open again and we can return to sending students to theatre press nights, events and entertainment venues.
Despite the hardship that so many have faced this year, we endeavour to continue helping students to have a voice. Isolation and loneliness have affected a huge number of people in this pandemic and we are proud of being able to offer our Young Reporters the chance to express their views, opinions and what interests them, to an audience read by millions.
Many of them have had to reach out to business owners, people in the street, teachers, friends and family members to give quotes for their articles, which we hope has helped with the isolation and given a purpose in times of uncertainty.
Nobody knows how 2021 will pan out, but we will be back in January raring to go for another term. We wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
The Young Reporter Team