When the lockdown was first brought in schools were not prepared for this situation and the voucher scheme for children who receive free school dinners was not in place. The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre immediately put into place a system for our children and young people to access a daily packed lunch, this service has run through the lockdown, providing 70 a day, now after 24 weeks this element of the Brunswick Youth and Community Centre Covid-19 response has come to an end, but other elements such as weekly food hampers are continuing.
At the Brunswick we have always believed in working together with other organisations so that we can achieve more and offer the best possible support to the community. We have built a network of organisations including Holiday Hunger, who are making sandwiches for us, Venus who we refer to and vice versa for support and foodstuffs, as well as a number of community centres so that if we get large donations we can share with others in Sefton.
The 23 Foundation has been supporting the Brunswick through trying to source donations of food, we have also received some funding from a number of local and national funders such as Community Foundation for Merseyside, Steve Morgan, LCares, Lethersellers and Cash4kids to help the Brunswick to purchase food and pay for some sessional workers to come in and support us with the logistics. This funding has enabled us over the last 24 weeks to:
- Provide 8050 lunches
- Deliver 620 hot evening meals
- Deliver 896 food hampers
- Provide 5.5 tonnes of food to supplement meals
- Provide £980.00 ASDA vouchers
- Provide £3,600.00 in vouchers towards school uniforms
In addition to the supported needed around food, there is a growing need to support the wellbeing of young people and the wider community, we have been providing information and support to our young people and the community through:
Advice and Information by phone and social media to individual young people,
Contacting families directly offering them support for their children and young people (ie access to print for homework and free lunches)
Developing a programme of youth activities via social media for both our junior and senior youth club to maintain relationship and offer families support.
Working in partnership with Marie Clarke well-being centre providing food and vouchers
Working in partnership with Merseyside Police in providing outreach workers to encourage large groups of young people to self-isolate and value social distancing.
Supporting young careers with shopping and other essential items.
Providing space for young careers to support their health and well being
Maximising the Brunswick site including the garden area in providing resources to support young people’s anxiety issues
Providing 12 cycles to key workers
The Brunswick is currently assessing and planning what activities and programmes we can roll out over the summer period in line with government guidelines and restrictions.
Once restrictions are reduced and it is safe to do so we will continue our Centre based sessions and the volunteering elements of our project. As for the future, we will have a lot of work to do to re-engage some of our young people in positive activities and support them to make positive choices, as part of our ongoing commitment to divert young people away from engaging with gangs and the risks associated with this.
When the Brunswick starts sessions again, we will role out an intensive outreach work to get young people re-engaged. As we move out of lockdown and transition through this pandemic young people will need our support and guidance more than ever, especially if they have had to deal with mental health issues, ill health, or bereavement.
Other programmes being planned include a homework club delivered by qualified teachers supporting young people who have had their learning negatively impacted by Covid-19, details of which will be released through the Brunswick Youth and Community Centre social media platforms.
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