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 :)
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