It has been over a year since the corona virus pandemic struck the U.K and the first lockdown was brought in to effect in England.
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 first lockdown, and has continued throughout the subsequent lockdowns, providing on average 70 meals a day at the peak, even outside of the lockdowns the Brunswick Youth and Community Centre Covid-19 response has continued to deliver weekly food hampers to support the lock community. As we as a community come out of lock down and more services are opening back up the Brunswick has taken the decision to end the support we currently offer in terms of daily packed lunches and weekly food hampers from Friday 2nd April 2021, moving to more target support programme working with specific families who have been identified.
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 made 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 when we got large donations we could share with others in Sefton. By pulling together in this way and support each other we were able to maximise the impact and support we could offer.
Over the past year the Steve Morgan Foundation and National Lottery has supported the Brunswick which has meant that we intern have been able to support our community through delivery of activities for young people, transport for key workers, and sourcing food and materials for care packages, and rolling out health and wellbeing sessions including art and music sessions and homework support. The 23 foundation has also supported 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, 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 to:
- Provide 10460 lunches
- Deliver 620 hot evening meals
- Deliver 15.26 food hampers
- Provide 7.0 tonnes of food to supplement meals
- Provide £980.00 ASDA vouchers
- Provide £3,600.00 in vouchers towards school uniforms
- Provide £2,500.00 worth of Christmas Gift to children, young people and families
In addition to the supported needed around food, there has been and remains 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.
Loan of tablets to support at home learning.
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
Offering in person support inline with national rules and guidance such as social distanced homework club, young ambassadors, outreach, and activities to promote health and wellbeing.
During the Halloween and Christmas periods, the Brunswick developed and delivered socially distanced and safe experiences for local children, young people, and families.
The Brunswick is constantly assessing and planning what activities and programmes we can roll out in line with government guidelines and restrictions.
As we plan for further loosing of the current restrictions our priority will be to continue to support our members and wider community in a safe way. Limited centre based sessions are currently being delivered with our Young Ambassadors programme and year 7 home work club, as well as teams doing outreach on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm with the stay at home order being lifted.
The next milestone in the loosing of restriction as we move out of lockdown will be on the 12th April, the Brunswick is currently drawing up plans to deliver move centre based session, with sessions being limited to year group bubbles, details of this will be confirmed and shared through social media, so make sure you are following the @the_brunny on instagram and twitter, and the Brunswick Youth and Community centre on facebook to stay up to date.
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.
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 an expanded homework club delivered by qualified teachers supporting young people who have had their learning negatively impacted by Covid-19, more exciting development of our community garden, as well as developing more whole family focused projects to support our community.
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