What’s going on? News Innovative way to support the community during Covid-19 Written by the volunteer Helen Lavelle The Bridge asked local community groups about the challenges they are facing and how they are adapting the delivery of their services during the Covid-19 crisis. We received many good stories and groups in Haringey have found innovative ways to continue supporting local people. We recently wrote to Captain Peter Baker, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Haringey and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa, MBE to tell them about the great work that is being done to support vulnerable people in our borough during this challenging time. In his response, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa, MBE, thanked and recognised ‘every one of you who work tirelessly, sustained by the knowledge that you are helping those less fortunate then yourselves’. Captain Peter Baker, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Haringey said “It is both impressive and humbling to see how the voluntary and community sector in Haringey has adapted and responded to this Covid-19 health crisis. I would like to give my personal thanks and respect to everyone in these organisations who have stepped up, in very challenging circumstances, to support those most in need in the community”. Everyone still working and delivering vital services deserves this recognition. We know many of you are working longer hours and going the extra mile. Without your efforts many more local people would suffer and not get the vital help they need. Read below the stories of four projects delivering fantastic work in Haringey. The Christian Action and Response in Society (CARIS) The Christian Action and Response in Society (CARIS) helps homeless families to deal with the everyday challenges they experience. CARIS is a non-proselytising organisation committed to expressing God’s love through social action. The services it offers are available to residents of Haringey regardless of faith or beliefs. Its mission is to empower homeless families in Haringey to improve their welfare and enhance their quality of life. COVID-19 Response In normal times CARIS offers a range of services and resources including advice and advocacy, a drop in service and English classes as well as running playschemes for children. Sadly, these have all stopped since the lock-down. Homeless families are more vulnerable than ever at the moment and CARIS has stepped up to the challenge. It is distributing emergency food and essential items to homeless and families in need offering door-to-door deliveries. Exposure Set up by a group of teenagers in 1996 Exposure supports and encourages local disadvantaged and at-risk young people to develop and express their creativity. It has supported over 5000 young people, many of them have gone on to build successful careers in the creative and tech industries, the education sector or starting their own businesses. COVID-19 Response Exposure has been working digitally and remotely for some time but what is missing now is face-to-face contact. To help with this the team have developed questionnaires and worksheets to support thinking and creativity. This is delivered via what’s ap, text and email to encourage young people to showcase their work on the Exposure website. A Coronavirus Response project has been set up to adapt existing creative work so that they can express themselves during this difficult and isolating time. Topics include: maintaining mental health and wellbeing in the Covid-19 world; staying positive through pursuing worthwhile activities during social isolation; relationships with family, and how to stay connected with friends; what they value (and miss) about the wider community; their family histories and why their parents/grandparents came to London (given they may be spending a lot of time at home). Click on the links below Covid-19 lockdown: what do we do now? Coronavirus: looking after your mental health during the outbreak Active Listening: crucial for our mental wellbeing How screens pressure teens PramDepot PramDepot is an arts-led recycling project that provides high quality recycled baby clothes and equipment to vulnerable new mums and their babies. They support women who are homeless, asylum seekers or refugees with no access to benefits and who often living in chaotic circumstances. In normal times they rely on a wonderful group of volunteers and local families to donate, fundraise, organise, sort and deliver beautifully presented baby clothes and equipment to the very grateful new mums that they support. Contact visits with pregnant women have now stopped and volunteering has come to a stand-still because of social distancing. Pramdepot relies on second hand baby clothes donations which because of the risks of Covid-19 now can’t be used. COVID-19 Response The Covid-19 crisis has completely altered how they deliver this vital service. But thanks to great innovative thinking they are continuing to reach this vulnerable and hard to reach group of women. They have so far put together 150 emergency baby boxes thanks to funding from Haringey Giving and the Lottery Fund. They are being put together out of a small flat as the organisation’s premises can no longer be used because of Covid-19 restrictions. The emergency baby boxes double up as a safe place for baby to sleep with a mattress and sheet. Items include a steriliser, breast pump, sling, blankets, towel, baby gros, vests, hats and mittens. Not forgetting the new mums there is also a hygiene spa bag with wipes, lip balm, face wipes, toothbrush, handwash, shower gel, breast pads and sanitary products. Read more about it at https://www.haringeygiving.org.uk/blog/pram-depot Sewn Together Sewn Together is an employability project which focusses on developing skills so that participants can join the creative industries. The project which is a partnership between the Bridge Renewal Trust and 4U2 Magazine is funded by the European Social Fund, through the Paddington Development Trust. 12-week workshops cover pattern cutting, book binding, embroidery, crochet, upcycling as well as seminars on event management, digital marketing and starting a new business. There are 27 registered participants on the project which started on 12 February 2020. The sessions are very interactive and hands on. This is a tightly knit, highly motivated group and the prospect of a lockdown would have had a serious impact on the progress and skills of participants coupled with the added loss of the group dynamic. Some participants were already socially isolated and there were fears that the lockdown would undo progress that they had made. COVID-19 Response Thankfully the project has continued remotely. Kits, including material, patterns, and other materials were posted to each member of the group on 20 March 2020. Everyone was signed up to a Sewn Together group on Microsoft Teams with facilitators running group and one-to-one video sessions. Please email [email protected] and share your story with us!