online auction fundraiser- coming soon
You may be aware that we are currently organising an online auction as a fundraiser for BYHP. This is a first for us but we hope it will be a fun way to raise some money to help our young people whilst also raising awareness for other businesses.
The auction will be on our website, and run from 9am on Monday 16th November. Bidding will close on Sunday 29th November. All you have to do is head straight to the live page, check out all the goodies on offer and fill in the form next to whichever item(s) you would like to win. Bids will be sent via email direct to us and once the event is over we will contact the highest bidder for each item to arrange payment and collection of the items.
We would like to say a huge thank you the people who have donated so far;
Willow and Hen
Sam The Flower Man
Fix up Buttercup
Jamie Briggs Removals
Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Park
Sutherland Car Care
If you or anyone you know would like to donate to the auction, please get in touch. :)
time between two lock downs
As if 2020 hasn't been strange enough, the government are due to announce another lock down on Thursday which is expected to last a minimum of 4 weeks. We don't know what the future holds for England but we hope it can only get better in 2021 and in the meantime would like to share some of the positive things to come out of recent months for BYHP as a charity.
You may have seen already on our website/social media or local news, but here it is again.... Our amazing ambassador Mark Pougatch was recently part of an incredible team who took part in ITV's the chase defeating The Governess to bag £120,000. This was split between 3 charities- us included and needless to say we were over the moon.
here is mark pictured with host bradley walsch and the other contestants.
The money raised from The Chase was a lovely unexpected amount of money which will go a long way to help us support vulnerable young people. Our team always work hard to offer young people the support they need and with referrals for many of our services doubling, it is now more than ever we rely on donations like this. We have also received donations from various companies and supporters, including Barratt Homes, Davidson Homes, Co-op and Norbar-Torque, as well as being awarded grants which we have applied for- this includes the National Lottery Community Fund.
It's not just monetary donations which keep us going as a charity... The generosity of some of our friends in the local community is something we appreciate hugely. We have received a number of donations for our food bank over the past few months from individuals, RAF Croughton, local Churches, Schools and Businesses. We must offer a special thank you to Morrison's who since the first week of lock down back in March have made weekly donations to our food bank. We also had a large donation of meat from Brackley Grange Farm and The Grafton hunt which was converted in to delicious meals by Thomas Frank for us to give out in food parcels.
As we said before- nobody knows what is coming next but we wish everyone well in these surreal times.
Obviously we are not able to plan any physical fundraising events at the moment but please keep checking our website for updates. We will be running an online auction via our website from Monday 16th-Sunday 29th November so head over and see if there's anything that tickles your pickle :)
Meet the team
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been introducing each member of the BYHP team on our social media. Everyone is on the Team page of our website, but here we all are again with a bit more information about us.
Chief Executive Patrick Vercoe has just celebrated his two-year anniversary as head of BYHP. Prior to joining BYHP he worked for two Homeless organisations in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire following a successful career in the commercial sector.
He originally trained as a journalist working in regional newspapers, as well as in London, before he entered the public relations world with The Rank Organisation. “As a major film buff, I was working in my ideal job, because I got to see all the new releases before they went out on the Odeon circuit. Also, I’m one of few people who knows what the word Odeon stands for!” says Patrick.
After leaving Rank he started his own communications company, which after two years was merged into the Banbury based Countrywide Publicity Group, where he was managing director and a major shareholder. By the time the company was sold Countrywide employed over 200 people, based in several UK locations.
Some 20 years later Patrick and his colleagues sold their stake in Countrywide to an American communications conglomerate Omnicom. It was at this stage that Patrick decided to make a major career switch and work in the Charity sector.
“At that particular time, I recognised that a large number of charities were not very professional in the way they operated, and I believed that my commercial background could be helpful. As time has marched on that situation has changed dramatically as more and more people, with robust business backgrounds, have joined the sector and have made a real contribution in ensuring Charities are run professionally.
“I believe that Charities have to be run like a business”, he says, “The financials have to be good shape, income driven, because otherwise the Charity concerned cannot deliver the services that are needed by the local community, which in the end rather defeats the object the Charity was originally set up to provide”, adds Patrick.
“Joining BYHP has been a very rewarding experience”, he says, “I had really retired, I was doing some consultancy for Age UK in Buckinghamshire, when I spotted the advert to head up BYHP. As it was a part-time role on my doorstep, I thought it would be ideal for me given my background in Charity work. The part-time role hasn’t quite worked out that way but it’s been very rewarding and enjoyable. I have a great staff team who are extremely dedicated and really strive to support Young People many of whom are extremely vulnerable, which allows me to concentrate on running the business and looking after the finances”.
Throughout the lockdown period Patrick has been seeking funding to boost the Charity’s finances in what he anticipates will be a challenging year. “We have had to cancel all our fundraising events for the summer and the predicted downturn in the economy because of the Coronavirus outbreak is bound to have an overall effect on our income levels for some time to come”, he says.
In his spare time, Patrick enjoys many forms of watching sport, particularly cricket and horseracing, as well as spending time with his two grandsons, Harry and Hugo, who is just three weeks old.
Next up was Deb who is the service delivery manager for our Health and Wellbeing team. Deb delivers Counselling and Family Mediation as well as running the peer support group and has been at BYHP for 10 years. Here's what Deb had to say about what she's been up to during lockdown, how she's kept busy and what she's suggested to others;
"Working from home has become the new ‘norm’ and it has been going very well with the vast majority of clients feeling happy to engage virtually. For some young people, the lockdown suits them very well; it removes the pressure and anxiety of having to go out, to have to go somewhere that causes them anxiety whether it be school, college or mixing with friends. Moving forward, I feel that virtual sessions will become an integral part of the service that we offer and enables us to reach those clients who are not able to journey to the office for varying reasons.
Keeping busy during this pandemic for me hasn’t been hard; I did think I would have lots of time on my hands and was poised ready to subscribe to Netflix or similar but possibly the beautiful weather that we had until this week helped as I have spent a lot of time gardening.
Like so many others, I have felt this is a time to do some of the jobs that always get put off until ‘tomorrow’ and I have learnt how to tidy the Marie Kondo way! Maybe, I have got too much time on my hands. De-cluttering our houses and putting things ready for the next charity shop run is strangely therapeutic and satisfying and is definitely work in progress as is the decorating.
I have enjoyed baking, making bread for the first time for ages and again, something that I am getting more interested in which I didn’t think I had the time for ‘before’. Home cooking is always the best and something I will continue when I can find some yeast and flour in the shops as there is still a shortage.
Finally, as I recommend to my clients, exercise is really the key to feeling healthy and positive and is a great motivator. There are so many options available for us online, via YouTube especially, for all ages and all abilities. There are online classes to join and engage with others in the exercise or to do in your own time later. For me, walking around the local area has opened up footpaths that I hadn’t noticed before and socially distanced conversations with fellow walkers brighten up the day.
However, this is also a time for reflection, to think about our lives and where we want to go, what is important to us. Last night in a webinar www.onlineevents.co.uk I was reminded of a story (See below) which I first heard many years ago at University.
Now that some of our restrictions are lifting and we are taking tentative steps back towards the ‘norm’, remember to think about what and who is important to you. Take time out each day to consider for a moment what you can be grateful for. Remember to breathe, and just be. Take walks in the countryside, grow your own veg, drink lots of water and bake bread; it is very satisfying! This time will pass, nothing stays the same for ever."
Our next introduction was Ros who is another member of the Health and Wellbeing team at BYHP. Here's what Ros had to say about working at BYHP and keeping busy during lockdown.
"I have been working part time for BYHP for 10 years as a Counsellor and Family Mediator with my Colleague Deb Parker. Since the middle of March I have been working from home using phone and video call. This has worked well with most clients and I have been impressed with the resilience shown by many of the young people I work with. Deb and I have continued to facilitate the Wednesday Peer Support Group with sessions on managing Mental Health, Art, Quizzes and a tour of Mill farm with the Equine Therapist Emma Leckie.
During the Lockdown, I have discovered some lovely walks on the edge of Banbury and enjoyed the clear blue skies and the silence. I have also enjoyed some more adventurous cooking which I have shared with other family members on WhatsApp. Like many people I have become more aware of the bird song in my garden and my favourite programme during lockdown has to be Spring Watch which I have found inspirational.
I hope that many of the things we have enjoyed during Lockdown: fewer cars on the road, less pollution and appreciation of nature will continue after it is over. I am looking forward to meeting more of my clients face to face, but I have been able to see that phone and video call is a way of keeping in touch with clients who prefer to be contacted at home and so could continue to be part of the service we offer.
Most importantly, the effect of the Pandemic has enabled many of us to value what is important in our lives: connection with other people and respect and care for our community and environment."
Sticking with the Health and wellbeing team, we then introduced Emma. Emma has now been working for BYHP for over 2 years. She originally joined the charity as the project key worker for the Unlocking Potential for Oxfordshire project delivering 1:1 support sessions to long term NEET young people before moving roles within BYHP to become the Transition Wellbeing Practitioner for the Mental Wealth Academy. The Mental Wealth Academy works with 18-25 year old's experiencing mental wellbeing difficulties delivering 1:1 sessions using evidence based therapies, emotional literacy and self-management tools. The goal of the Mental Wealth Academy is to improve an individual’s wellbeing, provide coping strategies to young people and support them towards achieving their goals.
Before joining BYHP, Emma studied for her BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at Warwick University. She then spent several years working within secure forensic psychology settings where she delivered a range of psychological interventions during both 1:1 sessions and group settings. Emma then moved from Sheffield to Banbury with her partner to join the BYHP team.
During the lock down Emma has worked remotely from home continuing to deliver 1:1 mental wellbeing sessions to young people. She has also been speaking to the young people about healthy distractions to do during the lock down and the importance of self-care, particularly during the past few months.
Emma has been keeping herself busy during the lockdown by doing up her garden ready for summer, doing lots of baking and having lots of video calls and virtual quizzes with her friends and family up in Yorkshire. Now that the lockdown has been lifted slightly, she has also been enjoying visiting her family for social distancing picnics in the Peak District!
The final introduction for the Health and Wellbeing team is Gill.
Gill is our CAMHS Community In Reach Worker, who has been with BYHP for 3 years, working in partnership with Oxford Health.
Gill provides an early intervention service, working with young people aged 13 – 18 years old. She has worked with young people for many years but of course during lockdown has been unable to meet her clients face to face. However, she has provided support via online video sessions and telephone consultations. To help with lockdown, Gill has recommended the ‘Fab Four’ to her young people. This involves incorporating 4 things into their day. These are an activity that gives you a sense of achievement; an activity that is fun; an activity that makes you physically active and an activity that is social. During this period, Gill has also ensured she has done the same by going on long runs, connecting with friends via Zoom, gardening and working through the never ending ‘To Do…’ list!
Our introductions then moved over to our Employability and Admin team. First up was the lovely Linda who is a Service Delivery Manager at BYHP, looking after the Employability projects as well as the Administration, Events and Marketing. She joined BYHP in 2014 as a volunteer, helping the office manager with a range of duties and joined the team in July 2015 part time, moving into the service manager role full time in January 2018.
Linda has done a range of jobs from PA in the medico legal world to events coordinator for the Great British Cheese Festival, and the Cheese Awards. Her work history has provided Linda with a wealth of experience for this role.
Linda is currently solidifying her skills completing a Leadership & Management apprenticeship. However, this has meant involving her team in every step of her learning.
“It has been a great opportunity for me to develop my skills, learn and grow. I have a great team to practice with who have been incredibly supportive and open to all challenges”
Connor said: “Linda’s new leadership skills have really lit a fire beneath us , it has been a fun challenge though and you can’t argue with the results.”
Emma added: “While Linda has been completing her leadership and management qualification there have been a number of positive changes implemented across the team such as additional meetings and additional areas of support covered during 1:1 meetings.”
In the initial few weeks of lockdown, Linda was supporting the team to make home working a smooth transition. She, along with Haleemah, returned to the office full time (at a social distance) around 6 weeks into lockdown to operate the foodbank, organise deliveries and support several homeless young people.
“It’s been a weird surreal time for everyone, its often like being on a rollercoaster ride when things seem normal and then you go to the bank and have to queue, or ask the person that has come for a food parcel to step away from the door, bleach handles and wear a mask and it comes back to you that this is not normal”
“It has been surprising the number of young people made homeless during the pandemic. Returning to the office has been invaluable and allowed us to provide essential services to these vulnerable people”
During lockdown Linda has been attending a weekly themed fancy-dress quiz with friends, having to create outfits for The Tiger King, 90s Hip Hop and Warriors to name a few. She has been filling her free time with walks, cooking, movies and Xbox.
The next introduction was our Events and Fundraising Co-ordinator Rach who has been working at BYHP since January 2018. She joined the team as the Office Administrator and switched roles just over a year ago. Over the last few weeks many of the events that were planned for 2020 have obviously had to be postponed but Rach hopes that once it’s safe to do so, people will really enjoy being able to get out and socialise once more and attend the rescheduled events, hopefully raising lots of awareness and funds for the charity.
Rach moved to Banbury 4 years ago with her family and previous jobs have mainly been office/admin based as well as a few years in retail.
During lock down she’s been facing the same challenge as many parents…. Homeschooling. For the most part this has been OK, but she’ll be the first to admit she’s definitely not a teacher. Apart from juggling that alongside working from home, she’s enjoyed baking with her son, discovering lots of beautiful walks, making the most of the lovely (intermittent) weather as well as video calls with her friends and family back home in Lincolnshire.
Connor Southwood was the next team member in the spotlight. Connor has been working as a key worker for the employability programmes at BYHP for just over two years. However, he began his time with BYHP as a volunteer back in 2015 where he fulfilled a variety of roles. Due to his varied work history Connor brought various skills to BYHP and supported the organisation’s administration team, events and IT systems. However, it was in working with the service users that he found his real strength, using his own experiences of work, education, and lessons he learned along the way to mentor young people in overcoming their own challenges. He was awarded the Banbury Town Mayor’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2017 for his work with BYHP.
The following year Connor joined BYHP as a full-time member of staff, initially working on the Back on Track project to support at risk 15-17-year olds to stay in or return to education and employment. Having exceeded the project targets, he moved into the Unlocking Potential project where he is now helping 17-21-year old NEETs to return to education or employment. The transition to home working has meant that the previously face to face service has moved to video chats and telephone calls, and so Connor has been able to continue to supporting service users in their wellbeing and development of skills through mentoring conversations and sharing the wealth of resources made available online during lockdown.
He has been keeping fit during lockdown by getting out on his bike, doing Zoom yoga classes with Liyen Matthew (https://www.facebook.com/liyen.mathew), and gardening. He has also taken the time to learn new crafts, and making various woodwork projects such as this bench made from pallets!
Our penultimate team introduction was Haleemah, our office administrator who has been working at BYHP since September 2019 as our apprentice. Haleemah is currently studying business administration while working here at BYHP. She, along with Linda, returned to the office full time (at a social distance) around 6 weeks into lockdown to operate the foodbank, organize deliveries and support several homeless young people.
During lockdown she has made the most of the opportunity to take long walks along Banbury’s reservoir to enjoy the clear blue skies and the silence. Haleemah has also enjoyed catching up with family members on Facetime and celebrating Eid virtually as things where a little different this year as mosques and family’s members house where not open to guests this year☹.
The final introduction was Libby who is the newest recruit to the BYHP team. She recently came on board in the role of Project Key Worker for the Back on Track project which works with 15-17 year olds who are, or are at risk of becoming NEET. Libby began working at BYHP just before ‘lockdown’ restrictions were put in place and so has had to hit the floor running whilst working from home. She has been able to go out and meet some of the schools who will be referring clients to her but most of her work, like the rest of the BYHP team, has been delivered via phone, email and video calls.
Whilst at home, one thing Libby has enjoyed doing is collecting Elderflower to make her own cordial.
week 10- events and fundraising
The Focus this week is on our events and Fundraising. We had some awesome events planned for this year and were so disappointed when we had to cancel and rearrange them all. Making sure our staff, volunteers and the wider community are as safe as possible is obviously the most important thing to do but it still left us with heavy hearts. Planning an event or fundraiser is really fun, you meet some wonderful people along the way and when they go as planned it's even better. We will keep the events page on our website updated- hopefully we can have a jam packed calendar of fun soon.
As well as planning our own events and fundraisers, we are always very touched and humbled when people organise something to raise money on our behalf. It's not easy to plan everything and get people involved so we really do appreciate it. With social distancing measures in place, it's hard for people to carry out many fundraising activities for charity.... why not try something with your friends/family/colleagues- a virtual quiz or office raffle? Can you think of any other fun ideas to raise money?
Over the past few weeks we have talked about all of our services and how each service supports young people in North Oxfordshire. We are truly grateful for every penny that is donated to us to contribute towards keeping BYHP operating. If you are able to donate any amount there are lots of ways you can do so. Visit the support page on our website for information.
This week we would like to say a big thank you to another lovely lady who has been volunteering her time with BYHP over recent weeks. Kate came on board to help out with delivering food bank parcels to those who aren't able to get to the BYHP building to collect one. Here's a pic of Kate getting ready to deliver some parcels and one of the latest donation from Banbury Morrisons.
Last week our Peer Support group were supposed to be having a virtual tour of Mill Farm with Emma. This is one of their favourite places to visit. Unfortunately the weather put a stop to it last Wednesday but this week was much nicer so here are a few snaps of the animals they got to see enjoying the fresh air..... Thank you Emma!
Still looking for things to take part in at home? Don't forget Centrepoint charity is putting together fun challenges every other Monday which you can get involved in.
From tomorrow, we will be introducing you to each member of the BYHP team, but for now if you are able to, please like and share our Facebook page and posts to let more people know who we are and what we do.
week 9- peer support group
This week we are going to let you know all about our Peer Support group. For many years this group has run, every Wednesday evening from 5-7pm. Young people are welcomed into our building to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal as well as fun activities. The activity can be anything from games, guest speakers, workshops, arts and crafts, movie nights and the occasional trip elsewhere. This group is run by Deb and Ros who are our health and wellbeing practitioners. They also receive a helping hand from some of our volunteers. This group is a great way for some of our young people to socialise, build their confidence and try new things. Obviously at the moment the group isn't able to go ahead in the building. As with our other services, this one is still operating but has had to have an extreme makeover in the way it's delivered. Each week the first 40 minutes of the session is done via a zoom video and then continues for the following 1 hour 20 minutes in a Whatsapp messaging group where the young people are able to share their art work and writing with each other. There have still been visitors joining the group, including Tom from The Mill Arts centre who introduced his new project; it’s called Soap and Porridge and is a celebration of our stories and memories. Emma who is BYHP's Transitional Wellbeing Practitioner also joined one of the sessions and gave the group ideas to help their mental health during lockdown. Hopefully the group will one day be able to go back to enjoying a meal together too.
Motivation is important for us all whilst we are at home and this week the group were supposed to be having a virtual tour with Emma and Live Love Be around Mill Farm, giving them an opportunity to say hello to some of the herd who they have got to know and to see how they are all doing. Unfortunately this had to be postponed because of the sudden change in weather. The group were very much looking forward to seeing Emma and the farm again so hopefully it can be rearranged very soon. Here are some photo's which were shared on Facebook of the farm.....
THANK YOU THURSDAY.
This week's thank you came directly from our CEO Patrick. Here's what he had to say;
"Huge thanks to the Morrisons Foundation for their £2,500 grant towards the costs of supplying tents, bedding, and a whole range of new clothes for rough sleepers throughout the next 12 months, as well as Morrisons store in Banbury continuing with their weekly support of our Foodbank. Just brilliant support and a clear demonstration that we are all in this together. Thank you"
Here are some pictures of the 3 most recent weeks' donations from Morrisons to our food bank;
This week is volunteers week. We have been mentioning the support we receive from our wonderful volunteers quite a lot recently but just wanted to reiterate how grateful we are for each and every one of you.
Are you cycling more to enjoy some fresh air during these strange times? Want to get your bike checked over to make sure it's safe to be out and about on? Why not check out the Dr Bike initiative…
week 8- food bank
We'd like to talk about our food bank this week. This is a crucial service at BYHP which supports many of our service users and their families. Some people use this service on a regular basis for some time, maybe whilst accessing other services. Other people use it sporadically and we may only see them a few times in a year. Our food bank relies on donations- generally we receive produce from Banbury Food For Charities twice a week as and when they have surplus items which their volunteers collect from supermarkets and deliver to us and other service providers.
We receive regular food bank donations from our friends at Bloxham Church as well as many other groups, clubs, churches and individuals alike. We have a wonderful volunteer, Louise, who ordinarily comes in to our building twice a week to sort through donations and keep our store room in order. We receive both regular and one off monetary donations which people specify they would like us to use as a contribution to our food bank. This is a huge help as we can buy essential missing items for our young people. Occasionally we also hold collection days within supermarkets when we are able to. Here are some pictures showing the food bank set up at at our offices;
Under 'normal' circumstances anyone who is within our age range of 13-25 can come along to BYHP when they are in need of a food parcel. They don't have to be accessing any other services or be referred but just willing to give us a few basic details for our records (no data is shared, it's just for our stats) A member of the team then assists them to find the items they need and will chat to anyone who is using the food bank for the first time about their current circumstances and discuss if there are any of our other services which they think may benefit them. If that is the case they would be put in contact with the right person within the team.
We've been unable to operate in this way for the last few weeks, since we have been working remotely we have had to adapt and adjust the way we deliver this service. Initially we offered specific time slots for people to head over to BYHP and collect a parcel- we had moved our food bank to one of our outdoor storage spaces so that entry to the building was minimal. After the first week and 'lockdown' restrictions were put into place we decided this wasn't the safest option. We then began to offer a delivery service. This took a lot of hard work and effort and wouldn't have been possible without the BYHP team pulling together and the amazing support from some of our wonderful volunteers and incredible weekly donations from Morrisons, the congregation at St. Mary's Church in Bloxham and various other supporters. From this week, we are encouraging people to begin collecting food parcels from our office again, however, this is still not able to happen as it would under normal circumstances. People can call or email us to arrange a time slot- someone from the team will take details of what they need in their parcel and organise a day and time for them to collect. At the agreed time, a member of our team will then take the food bank parcel to the front of our building and facilitate a no contact, distanced handover. For those who are unable to make it to BYHP, we have a lovely volunteer who is continuing to deliver. Our website is updated as/when the way we deliver this service changes. Here are a few snaps of some of the wonderful donations we have received and some parcels out for delivery;
Sticking with this week's topic of our Food Bank, we have so many people we would like to thank this week. First of all, thank you to our amazing volunteers for their incredible efforts during these crazy times.
Jim and Carol are regular volunteers with BYHP- we really would be lost without them, they go above and beyond and get involved with almost everything we do. Over the past few weeks they have helped collect and organise donations regularly.
John is also a regular volunteer with BYHP and has supported us for a number of years, he organises and delivers donations from the congregation at St. Mary's Church in Bloxham which he is part of. The congregation have been extremely generous with physical donations as well as money which we are able to use to buy essential missing items.
Luke who came on board to help with delivering parcels whilst he was furloughed from work, Andy who collected the first donation from Morrison's for us which was incredibly large and finally Kate who has come on board to help with deliveries to those who can't get to the office.
As well as our volunteers, we have had support from many other individuals, companies and clubs including Morrisons, Jamie Briggs, Nationwide, Rev Jeff Smith and his congregation, JDE, Mrs Stephens, Milkbeef, Sainsbury's and Co-op. We would not have been able to provide as many food bank parcels to our young people and their families without this level generosity. Thank you to each an every one of you who have supported us. Here are a few more pics of donations we have received and our volunteers lending a helping hand;
We will continue to operate our food bank in the same way we have been this week until further notice. We have 2 members of our team who are now working from the office with a great socially distanced setup. This enables them to accept donations and make up/hand out food bank parcels to those who need them. If you are able to support our food bank or any other services or would like to know more, please call 0295 259442 or email email@example.com.
week 7- unlocking potential.
We're sticking with our Employability team this week and talking about the service delivered by Connor who is the project key worker for Unlocking Potential. An EET support project for young people aged 17-21 that have been out of education, employment, or training for six months or more. The project focuses on addressing the personal barriers that have caused the service users to become unable to make personal progress, developing their confidence and their skills, and giving them the information and support to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Here is what Connor had to say about how the project operates under 'normal' circumstances and how things are different at the moment;
“The aim with Unlocking Potential is to take a holistic view of a client and their experiences in order to make the support unique to their barriers and needs. It is rare that someone would find themselves stuck for so long without facing some complex issues, so we are fortunate with Unlocking Potential that we are able to support clients long term to get back on their feet. At the core we aim to provide understanding and encouraging mentoring that helps the client to share their experiences and develop their confidence. By doing this while providing practical help around becoming more informed about their options, and developing the skills to apply for and access jobs and further education, we are able to support them to turn their ambitions into reality.”
“Despite the circumstances we are continuing to offer support to our service users remotely. We can maintain engagement with clients via telephone and online services which has ensured that we are engaging routinely. Whether it’s a phone call, text message, video chat, WhatsApp, or email we are continuing to support and encourage our clients through this difficult time. It has been valuable to keep service users engaged and motivated, and fortunately there are also a plethora of resources that have been developed online which has enabled us to provide service users with various self help tools and online learning to keep them building up their skills and confidence between appointments even during isolation.”
With the end of Ramadan getting nearer, many people in the local community will be celebrating Eid over the coming days. The end of fasting all depends on the new moon sighting. It will be a very different celebration this year as mosques won't be open for prayer and families will be celebrating in their own homes rather than with the wider community. To all those celebrating.... Eid Mubarak.
We hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday, our phone lines won't be manned over the long weekend, but feel free to leave messages or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible on Tuesday.
THANK YOU EVERYONE, STAY SAFE :)
week 6- back on track.
This week our focus is on the role of Libby who is the Key worker for one of our employability projects- Back on Track. The Back on Track project is for young people aged 15 to 17 that are identified as being at risk of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). This project focuses on supporting participants to develop their self-confidence and motivation to stay in education or move into an apprenticeship. This is how Libby describes the Back on Track project in a nutshell.
"The project offers support with all aspects of education and employability skills, tailored specifically to the individual. Taking a holistic approach, recognising all potential barriers, supporting and enabling clients to work toward overcoming these and thus maintaining their education or training roles. In providing this support, we endeavour to build knowledge, understanding and resilience within the working world, by guiding clients through CV and cover letter writing, job searching and applications, interview skills and further education options, including college visits, applications and course choices.
The project is client lead, giving opportunity for responsibility taking, maintaining communications and appointments, as well as having a safe space to discuss the wider aspects of their lives that may affect motivation and ability. In these instances, we offer sign posting, specific need support, multi-agency referral and some opportunities for training."
Here is what Libby had to say about how things have been operating differently over the last few weeks
"With the current climate and huge shift in the way that we operate as a charity, our support continues remotely. Back on Track continues to maintain appointments over the phone, utilising email to set and achieve objectives and we are also offering food bank parcels to client doorsteps should they be requested. Although young people of this age are facing a unique and unprecedented turn of events with schooling, exams and future planning, most clients are more than happy to continue meeting on the phone and communicate via email, text or WhatsApp. Back on Track is promoting positive focus and ‘keeping the momentum going’ with all clients who are engaging. There is still plenty of work, information and guidance that can be utilised through the remote service and we will continue to accept referrals and maintain effective practice and support for our young people at this very strange and uncertain time."
As with previous weeks, this week we wanted to say thank you to someone else, this week we would like to thank staff and customers at Waitrose Brackley. We were recently part of their green token scheme and it raised a wonderful £312.00 for BYHP.
We also want Thank you to each and every person who has donated to BYHP, particularly during these surreal, unprecedented times. We are able to cut out admin fees and receive your whole donation when it's done via our bank. If you are a UK tax payer, we may also be able to claim an additional 25% of the donation.
Although there have been slight changes to restrictions, we are still being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. Have you seen the activities hub put together by Cherwell District Council? Lots of fun ideas and activities for the whole family to try here.
Please check in again next week when we will be talking about our other employability project, Unlocking Potential.
Stay Safe everyone :)
week 5- family mediation service.
Family Mediation is a vital service that BYHP offers. Here is what Deb had to say about how it's operating at the moment.
"Due to the Coronavirus, we have now moved our Family Mediation Service online, adapted our service and are now offering visual appointments on an online platform. This gives us the flexibility and opportunity to work individually with everyone involved, hear from each person’s perspective what the issue is for them and start to build a trusting relationship. Families can so often feel that their feelings are not heard or listened to and a climate of anger, hurt and resentment building up within the family home can at times be overwhelming. We can step in to help mend the broken relationships and re-build strong family ties together. This period of lockdown is an ideal time to nurture some harmony in the family home for everyone."
Providing that home is a safe place, the best place for a young person is to be at home with their family. The biggest cause of youth homelessness is still parental eviction. Ros and Deb our Family Mediators together work with young people and their family members to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for families to air their grievances. This can still work with virtual appointments providing the family can access a private space in their home where they won’t be overheard or interrupted. Often, the families who come to us have forgotten how to communicate with each other respectfully. In a Mediation session with a Mediator present, there is the opportunity for everyone to speak individually and be heard by the other family members. In mediation, everyone is an equal and everyone is heard.
We know that during this period of lockdown, some families will be struggling even more than usual; click here for some tips for looking after yourself and others during this period of uncertainty.
To find out more information or make a referral for this service, please visit the family mediation page on the services tab of our website.
This week we'd like to say a massive thank you to the Banbury Nationwide. The Building Society have supported BYHP for some time now, with collection pots in branch, food bank donations and various other things. We were delighted recently to receive a £50 voucher for Morrisons so that we could buy items needed to go in our food bank. We put it to good use and stocked up on shower gel and shampoo which can now be distributed as part of our deliveries.
Friday 8th May marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. With celebrations not being able to go ahead as planned, The Royal British Legion is calling on people across the UK to join in a moment of reflection and Remembrance at 11am and pause for a Two Minute Silence.
On the website which was set up to share plans for various celebrations and activities today, there is also this statement...
"We are also encouraging all those taking part to undertake the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on the 8th May, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you,” using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today."
Please check back next week when we will be introducing you to the newest member of the BYHP team, Libby and talking about her employability project- Back on Track. In the meantime, if you are still looking for fun things to take part in at home this weekend, why not check out these fun activities and challenges put together by Centrepoint.
WISHING YOU ALL A FUN, SAFE BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND :)
week 4- counselling service.
The focus this week will be centred around our counselling service. There are 2 members of the BYHP team who deliver counselling- Deb who is our Service Delivery Manager for the Health and Wellbeing Team and Ros who is a Wellbeing Practitioner. Alongside them, we also have 2 volunteers- Janine and Trisha who deliver couselling sessions to young people once a week.
Here's what Deb had to say about BYHP Counselling during the Coronavirus;
"Counselling at BYHP has moved online and the team have become familiar very quickly with using virtual online platforms; I think we are all surprised at how well this is working and how we have adapted so quickly. Supporting our young people is vital during this uncertain period and by maintaining contact virtually, we can re-create a version of our face to face connection.
The Coronavirus affects us all to different degrees and there are many extra challenges for our vulnerable clients to face; feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness, all of which are only natural in this uncertain world we are now living in.
What can we do to combat our anxiety? If we take a moment to stop, sit, ground ourselves, breathe, concentrate on ourselves, think, what is it that I am the most anxious about. What causes us to feel most anxiety is so often the future, what is going to happen. In these times, none of us can really know what the answer is, it is not something we have any control over.
So, let us think about what we can do to be in the moment and to live for today, taking one day at a time, we have control over what we enjoy doing. How many times have we said that we don’t have the time to . . . . read that book, make a cake, complete the jigsaw, weed the flower bed, finish that project we started. The list goes on. Suddenly, here we are, unexpectedly with all this time on our hands. Having a structure to the day is just one way to quell anxiety and to give a purpose to get up and face the day. This is the time for self-care, showing compassion for ourselves and for others. What do you enjoy doing? You will find anything and everything on YouTube or Instagram where so many of our communities and celebrities are doing their best to keep us entertained and educated.
Factor in the day a time to go for your allowed hour of fresh air. Go for a walk, remembering to keep your 2 metres distance. For those lucky enough to have a garden, take advantage of the warm weather and watching the wildlife. Take photographs!"
Here are some of the photographs taken by Deb on one of her daily walks;
Did you know that £50 is a huge help towards delivering a counselling session. We are now able to accept donations straight into our bank account which means there are no admin fees and we receive the full amount. If the person donating is eligible, we can also claim Gift Aid on these donations which is an additional 25%. If you are able to spare any amount, please head here.
For referral information or to find out more about our counselling service, please visit this page on our website.
We were delighted to be chosen as the charity partner for the Banbury Regional Community of Midcounties Co-op earlier this year. They had lots of things planned in store as well as supporting our fundraisers and organising their own. Obviously things have had to change slightly in the current situation we are all in but we would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every member of their team as a key worker for the amazing work they are doing. This includes not only the staff on the shop floor but their distribution centres, office teams and delivery drivers too.
They have also set up an incredible scheme to support foodbanks- you can find details and donate here.
Still thinking of things to do during your time at home? Our Health and Wellbeing Manager Deb suggests making a journal;
When you are asked in the future what you did during the ‘Lock-down’, reflect on how you spent your days. Self-care and compassion for ourselves and for others is vital.
A comment the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, made at the beginning of this crisis struck a chord:
“Now, more than any time in our recent history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion. Our ability to come through this won’t just be down to what government or business can do but by the individual acts of kindness that we show one another.’
‘When this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us.’
‘You will not face this alone."
Each one of us staying at home is playing our part and together, collectively, we will win this struggle. It is a time for courage, compassion and kindness towards ourselves and others.
Thursday 23rd April marked the start of Ramadan. Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims, in which they usually fast during daylight hours, congregate for prayers and share meals as a community. But with strict curfews and physical distancing directives enforced to limit the spread of COVID-19, many of Ramadan's rituals and traditions are being curtailed this year. Many Mosques are live-streaming sermons, Quranic recitation and prayers as people are encouraged to pray alone or with immediate family. The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated as an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries. With lockdown measures in place and large gatherings banned, this year's festivities will also be scaled down.
This will impact many people in our local community. Please remember that we are all facing different challenges throughout these surreal times.
Look out for next week's posts. We will be sticking with our Health and Wellbeing team but moving over to their Family Mediation service.
THANK YOU EVERYONE, STAY SAFE :)
Our blog is a great way to stay up to date with current events and projects, stories from our young people and the general goings on at BYHP.