My last report on Community and Volunteer activities was in November 2020. Since then, volunteers have continued to do what they can “In a time of Covid” in terms of support of the families and individuals with whom they are involved, teaching English, having Zoom conversations, delivering food to families, running Whatsapp groups and helping at a vaccination centre offering injections to clients and vulnerable people.
This week 6 of our volunteers decorated a house for a client who would be moving in and others moved furniture for someone who was having new carpets delivered and fitted. Tomorrow a number will be delivering Tesco’s food vouchers and so it goes on.
Outdoor Activities and Well-Being support
In December we started outdoor activities for men as a part of a funded mental health support project and this continues. It takes place at the Big Garden at High Woods, run by Wayne Setford and his Together We Grow CIC (TWG) and has involved re-covering a large polytunnel, mending its doors, helping to build a new storage shelter, laying wood – chip paths, making a dead hedge and planting onion sets. Up to 9 of our young men have attended and taken part, some only once but most at least 2 or 3 times and others over a longer period. Unfortunately this Winter’s weather has been particularly off- putting but this affects some more than others. And of course we have had some lovely days as well. We have kitted a number of young men with boots or wellingtons and have waterproof coats on order. The project is going well and has given a lot of pleasure to those who are taking part.
Some of these same men also took part in a tree-planting project, also organised by Wayne, along with the Borough Council official responsible for woods and green spaces.We planted trees and bushes provided by the Woodland Trust in 3 distinct areas in the large playing field behind the Oak Tree and Acorn Centre on the Harwich Road. We had permission to do this as a support group consisting of up to 15 people who adhered to distancing and Covid hygiene regulations. Those attending were Together We Grow volunteers, some of our own volunteers and 4 or 5 of our clients who appreciated the opportunity to take part in something that they saw as an investment in the future. The three 5-hour days flew, with a short lunch break of Marwan’s falafel wraps (paid for by CBC) and fruit provided by the East of England Co-op. Smiling faces have been enough to tell us that this activity was greatly enjoyed – as were the wraps!
Families and Children
We are planning to re-start family Forest Schools in April and we hope these will gradually involve more families as the year progresses. The first 3 dates were taken eagerly as you can imagine. Tim who runs the Forest schools now has some storage space in the Big Garden, storage which was built partly by our clients so this reflects our reciprocal relationship with TWG.
Table Tennis at the college has not resumed yet as the Sports Hall is being used as a Covid testing centre for the students and staff, but the children’s Homework Club run by the 6th Form Friends Not Foes has started again and had been greatly missed by a lot of those involved, including the children’s parents.
As lockdown is lifted, and if conditions permit it, we hope that more planned activities will take place for families, children, men and women and that our Community Meetings can resume.
Elizabeth Curry, Community and Volunteer Coordinator