We wanted to update our website readers of all the things that have been happening in the centre since the beginning of the pandemic. Unlike many organisations Swinton Lock has continued to work throughout the pandemic and whilst for a spell our gates were closed the centre was very much open for business. We have obviously followed the government guidance throughout the pandemic which resulted in some members of staff working from home and a rotating rosta of staff in centre. We also had some of our core staff working in centre throughout the pandemic whilst ensuring social distancing.
Obviously the centre changed overnight at the point of the lockdown, our normal schools delivery rapidly changed, initially from basic safe and well checks where we called our young people to have a chat and make sure they were managing, to further on in the lockdown taking the time to ensure the young people that wanted an activity pack to work on at home were supported and that that just wanted regular contact received just that.
Our adult creative classes also had to cease temporarily, this meant the end of pottery on a Monday and our art and drawing classes on a Tuesday, thankfully one of our staff members has kept in regular contact with these groups and we are hopeful that some of them will be back in August to ease themselves in with a full delivery from September onwards.
We linked up with our local Councillor who was running an emergency food bank which mirrored our own delivery as many of our vulnerable clients were faced with being shielded or were seeing a decline in their mental health and so food parcels became part of our delivery in association with some of our funders. We have now taken over the local delivery and have become a registered food bank for the area and receive referrals for the same as well as still supporting and serving our own clients. We are collecting food for distribution once a week and have two normal delivery days, we have also received food donations into centre from individuals supporting our efforts during the pandemic.
Our tea time club funded by BBC Children in Need and our heritage based club for young people in partnership with IVE as part of their Heritage Lottery Funded project were also affected, with the direct delivery side of the programme being postponed at the point of lockdown however, we quickly converted these into delivery that could be done inside individuals homes and arranged for activity packs to form part of our delivery model during the height of the lockdown.
Our Big Lottery Community Fund bid was postponed but we gratefully received an extension to our current funding which has supported the work we do with children and young people, with our post abuse survivors and work with our boats and the volunteers associated with the same.
In the period March to July we have delivered in excess of 1000 activity packs to children and young people which as you can imagine was no small feat and from May through to June we delivered 96 food parcels to the local community and have had 8 fantastic food delivery volunteers supporting our effort.
Looking towards the future we are working closely with the local consortium in relation to children and young people’s work to ensure our services are understood and shared and so we can all learn from one another and where possible join our services up. Our boat hire and boat training has now been re-established as we make early tentative steps to move this side of the organisation forward. We’ve revamped the delivery of our young people’s work with school and are excited to welcome them back in the new school year with new activities and increased opportunities to gain accreditation in the different areas of delivery.
We are looking at new ways of working our project work as well as looking at new directions of the organisation as we move forward and whilst our future is not assured we are hopeful that we can make great progress moving forward.