Well it’s come to the end of the holiday season. Everyone busy preparing for the new season ahead, for some of our young people college is beckoning and they are now in full knowledge of their GCSE results and what they need to do next. Some of the younger people we’ve met over the summer have already started their new Secondary School and are feeling apprehensive and some are a little excited of things to come. It’s a time of change, at time to look forward and also a time to reflect. There have been increased numbers in the Challenge for Change Group (C4C). Some new faces and some old ones too. The group is very diverse but they all get along really well which we feel happy about. The group has a busy buzz to it, lots of different conversations some of them difficult, self harm, bullying and peer pressure. It’s a space for young people to have honest and open conversations – a safe place. During the summer break they have all been out to Laser Quest and Stacey’s competitive streak came out and won the game! A couple of girls also went out for Pizza – a real treat for one as it was their first outing to a pizza restaurant whilst a couple of the guys went out to play snooker. It’s great to have fun together and also to go out in smaller groups to spend quality time with the young people.
Jen’s update …detached youth work and Footy Friday
Some bigger groups of young people over the summer. There were a lot of mini sessions going on across the pitch and it’s brilliant that so many young people come down to use it as a safe space to just play. Even if it is not competitive they were all happy doing their own thing and it was good to float around them all having little conversations with all of them. We were able to make some good contact with a group hanging out at the Dell and had discussions about a wide range of topics from love, school, drinking, drugs,relationships and well-being. Throughout the young people want someone to listen to them but they were also curious to hear a different perspective on some of these topics which they might not have heard before. This works so well because there is great mutual respect. It was really nice that despite it being Adam’s last detached session this summer he was able to share a bit about his personal journey with some of the young people we have been in contact with.
Stacey’s update – Drop-in
A busy summer especially for Sharon in Welfare rights. Jen has had to see a couple of people for her when the waiting time has been too long and the demand continues to increase.
We caught up with a man who has been doing really well with staying out of jail but in the last two years he has been struggling again. For this man inability to deal with bad influences have played a huge part in his decline. This is true of many and those who do not seek out and surround themselves with people that will challenge support, love and walk alongside them fall quickly by the wayside.
We are still seeing all sorts of people in the drop-in,for example those fleeing from domestic violence. One lady with broken ribs, jaw and her hands were in bad shape. Needless to say she needed some volunteer assistance to carry her Foodbank bags to her daughter’s car. Others suffering from the effects of substance abuse present over many years. One man we’ve seen has provided support to others with the same issues from the Brierley Hill area and has on many different occasions provided a bed for those with no where else to go but recently he too has found himself homeless. When he came in recently to redeem a Foodbank voucher, he was so grateful and just kept saying, I’ll be alright. What a tragedy to see the destruction of addiction.
Mental Health is still playing a worrying major part to almost all that we deal with and it can and does affect all sorts of people from all walks of life. We have professional people engaging too, one man is so grateful of our support that he travels 33 miles to come to his appointments.
South Street Make Lunch – Filling the holiday hunger gap
A great experience for everyone and the good news is South Street were inspected by Environmental Health during the week of the Make Lunch provision and achieved a rating of 4 out 5 for their kitchen! South Street did a great job in reaching some of the most needy families and made connections for future referrals to youth provision.
Make Lunch Stats
Meals served (kids) – 61
Parents fed – 7 and all volunteers who wanted it!
Individual children 24
Meals delivered over 5 days
Well the Recovery Café (was Take 5) has been running again on a Friday morning but this time in the Cafe space and is doing really well. There is a great buzz about it and people really enjoying it. Food is great too. All sorts of people are engaging and giving great feedback.
We have had interest and visitors from the Mental Health Team and Talking Therapy in the NHS which is great news for the people using the cafe to get information and support. Well done all of the volunteers who are running this service – great job!
We have been able to offer voucher holders organic potatoes and tomatoes provided by Ken from his project at Hawbush Community Gardens as it’s harvest time! This is a welcome compliment to the tinned vegetables and dried food on offer. We are hoping to see more crops in at the project that we can use to teach people basic cooking skills. Alongside the food need we have also experienced an increase in families needing nappies and washing powder if any one wants to donate these items do let us know.
The Black Country Foodbank shortages this month are:
Fruit juice, UHT milk, coffee, hot chocolate, tinned fruit, cereals, cooking sauces, tinned curry, chilli and pasta, tinned puddings and toiletries.
The Foodbank have great support from schools, churches, colleges and businesses as well as individuals during HARVEST. It is an opportunity to replenish stocks and prepare for the year ahead. If you would like to hold a Harvest collection the Foodbank have posters and shopping lists available for you. Information is available on their website www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk