Written by: Jo Atkinson
As we move forward towards starting actual physical community sessions again, let’s take a look back at how we have stayed connected with the community over the past few months.
Outreach: Our initial instinct was to fall back on good old outreach! Each week we planned a route to take in as many visits to community members as we could, often delivering food parcels, craft packs, always having a good old chin wag, and putting the world to rights!
Doing the outreach sessions has meant a lot to some of our more isolated members, a phone call is great, and our phone lines have been red hot, but actually seeing someone, having that human interaction makes all the difference. Knowing that we are valued by others is an important psychological factor in helping us to forget the negative aspects of our lives, and thinking more positively about our environment.
Online Facebook Drop In session: We tried zoom, but found that people were unsure about the technology, this created a barrier for some, which made us decide on a Facebook Live, bingo and quiz session. We have about 16 members join us for this, our community worker has found a new vocation, and will be heading straight for the West End after the pandemic!!
The chat facility that you get with FB Live, made it easy for people who haven’t seen or talked to each other for a while to communicate, with messages flying back and forth, jokes, life events discussed, support and commiserations.
Playing bingo has given a real lift to everyone, we bought some fantastic prizes in order to make it a real event to look forward to.
Craft Packs and food Parcels: Support with food was a given, with people being furloughed, people in self isolation due to health conditions and others who were having issues with benefits, being able to deliver food parcels was the very least we could do. Fareshare, Tigers Trust and St Mike’s youth club made deliveries of food several times a week to us, and we then in turn created the parcels and delivered them to those most in need. Now lock down has eased we are scaling down our parcel delivery, we are still preparing food parcels for those in need, but on a much smaller scale.
What did surprise us was the uptake of our craft pack service, everyone loves them!! We make well over 100 packs a week for young people and community members. Keeping a link with all who use Hessle Road Network is so important to us, and being able to put a smile on someone’s face has a been a great opportunity.
We are now moving forwards, with the first community session being held this week, and youth sessions not far behind, looking back on all we have achieved makes me so very proud to say I work at Hessle Road Network.