What have we been doing whilst the country is in lock-down?
Here’s an update for you as a way of reassurance that we are doing what we can to support our community in Brierley Hill.
Jen, Eden, Stacey and Em have been working hard on the ground with the support of our volunteers throughout the weeks. Here is a summary of what’s been going on:-
…..So, it’s the second week of the lock-down and us running our reduced Foodbank only service. After last week and the issues around trying to keep our social distance we decided to relocate the Foodbank store into the main church hall. This has worked lots better with volunteers able to pack the parcels and retain the correct distance.
Pre-packing bags definitely makes the process a lot faster!
There are a small number of support workers coming to collect on behalf of clients who are either self-isolating or unable to get to us (for a whole range of different reasons). We are continuing to monitor how best to help in these cases; we understand that coming to collect food from us can be difficult, especially if you have no transport and have young children that must come along too.
At the moment we are delivering some parcels to our regular clients who we know are self-isolating and wherever we can we are supporting others to get supplies to where they are needed.
When doing some of the deliveries Jen said “I was really struck by how all of these people; the most vulnerable and in need were concerned that others might be going without and were saying that we were giving them too much food!” To be able to bless them in such a way is a blessing to us too. We are thankful to all of those who have donated food and toiletries (especially the toilet roll when there was a shortage) so we can give in such a wonderful way.
In week three of the lock-down the week started a little slowly on the Monday with this session being very quiet. Wednesday picked up and as it was a nice day we were able to have a chat outside with people who came to collect a food parcel. These included some we would consider ‘regulars’ at the drop-in service, so it was good to physically see them to know they are generally doing well. The Black Country sense of humour has also been present and people seem determined to keep their spirits up. Here is a sample of what we have seen that made us smile.
Another thing that has warmed our hearts is the expression of gratitude we have received…..here is a card of thanks that one person made for us…..
Over the first 16 days of this ‘reduced service’ we gave out 1.5 tonnes of food which equates to £4000 of food given and £1000 of toiletries. This fed 182 adults and 111 children.
Because the drop-in is closed until further notice we are doing our 1-2-1 support sessions online and on the phone. We are continuing to support the Youth workers now completing the Youth Work Level 3 award. These students have been funded by the second round of the Innovation fund and fortunately had finished the majority of the teaching before the lock-down started. They just have to complete their portfolios now and this is continuing with tutor support online.
Our youth work is usually delivered face to face and so with the football sessions, group work and detached youth work on hold we have had be more creative about connecting with young people. Eden, our youth work apprentice has prepared and delivered some fun sessions on-line and this will continue with our after school group gaming and social session.
We are looking forward to the event that the Youth workers have been charged to organise as part of their award, we know it will happen later than anticipated but it is still something for us and and the young people to look forward to.