How are Projects Helping their Communities in Lockdown?
CAP (Christians Against Poverty)
Debt help is available via phone/video appointments, and there are plenty of appointments available. Home visits will resume when the Covid restrictions allow.
CAP have also launched a new free resource for churches called Kick Start. Kick Start is bitesize online sessions churches can use to help people in their community during lockdown.
CNI Network (Street Angels)
Many of the CNI Network (Street Angel) teams and volunteers rose to the challenge of the lockdown.
In partnership with local churches, teams of Community Angels became the heartbeat of local communities, supporting those self-isolating as well as the elderly or vulnerable with regular phone calls, medication and shopping deliveries. In Blackpool, and in other towns and cities, part of the new work has been with the homeless community.
Some teams changed to offer support, prayer and chaplaincy to those who work within the night-time and hospitality industry. One team, at the request of the police, have received training to be able to offer patrols in suicide hotspots.
The Megafitness team understand the importance of virtual events, not just for the time that we are in, but to keep the virtual presence to communicate everywhere.
Due to Covid, snow and ice, their Centre is closed. But the team is now going all-out to make their virtual presence constant.
The team have been running “Megafitness at Home” on a Wednesday evening at 6pm.
Other online activities include Jungle Gym: (working with parents of young children, combining physical and mental development through exercise and fun.) The second regular virtual activity that has been running for the last few weeks is the Family Activity Session which combines, music, story telling and exercise.
Acts435 have been able to continue working from home, which has meant that the running of the charity hasn’t changed.
Their front-line Advocates have had to adapt how they work to meet with individuals. For example, those who run food banks have had to do a lot more door-stop deliveries, and those who have drop-in sessions had to limit numbers and often deliver help via the phone. Whilst doing these new ways of outreach there has been more need than ever, and as a charity, Acts 435 saw a doubling of activity throughout 2020.
All Renew Wellbeing training is now online. You can attend a webinar any Monday at 11 am. Renew have appointed five area coordinators since lockdown began. You can also buy Ruth Rice’s book, “Slow down, Show up and Pray” from all booksellers.
The book contains the story of Renew Wellbeing, as well as a manual for how to set up a centre.
Peaced Together have managed to adapt their training to be delivered via Zoom (but still with an expectation and hope that the courses will be delivered in person in the near future).
They have developed guidelines for our those wishing to run the course online and are also developing guidelines for socially distanced COVID secure in person courses for when the lockdown restrictions ease.
Other new developments are a Junior Peaced Together course which is in its second pilot stage in six locations. Another development is a partnership with Creative English, so that Churches working with people with English as a second language can offer this course too.
Neighbourhood Chaplains teams have been busy during Covid by:
- collecting & delivering neighbour’s prescriptions
- delivering groceries to shielded people
giving out useful information to those who can’t look it up online
- helplines for phone support, befriending and prayer
- someone to walk with the first time a person goes out to the shops after lock-down if they feel nervous about going out
- a person to chat with in the front garden from 2m apart
They are also running free online “Inform & Inspire” events, one hour long, inviting church leaders to meet a Neighbourhood Chaplains team leader to hear more.
Living Loss has been providing bereavement support to churches and the community for the past 10 years. They have been inundated, since the pandemic has meant that many people are in need of their services.
They now offer:
- Online Bereavement Support Groups
- 1-2-1 Bereavement Counselling
- 1-2-1 Grief Coaching
- Bereavement Awareness Training for church and community
- Volunteers Training to facilitate bereavement support groups
In light of the pandemic, Kids Matter have adapted so that their training for churches is now all available online via Zoom. Churches can now also run the programme on Zoom or WhatsApp Video call for parents. In 2020 they were able to still reach over 500 children due to adapting our activities to be delivered online.
Kids Matter helps local churches to support disadvantaged families in their community through an effective parenting programme, enabling every child in need to be raised in a strong family.
Care Home Friends
With care homes largely closed to visitors during the pandemic Care Home Friends have become creative:
Cards of Kindness – sending homemade cards to isolated residents
Providing technology to care homes to help residents connect with their loved ones and volunteers – such as Android tablets and Alexa devices
Kindness to care staff – thank you goodie bags to show appreciation to care staff and let them know the church is praying for them.
Bouquets of Blessing – sending flowers and plants to care homes to bless the staff and residents. Click the green button opposite to contact them.
Lyrics and Lunch
Lyrics and Lunch have developed a COVID-secure risk-assessment which enables small groups to meet in Tier 4 (approved by their local Environmental Health Dept).
During full lockdown when they cannot meet, one of the Lyrics and Lunch groups has pioneered a weekly online series of half hour sessions on YouTube, which can be put onto DVD, which brings Lyrics and Lunch into people’s homes.
Creative English has been adapted to run on Zoom. To combat the isolation of lockdown, their sessions provide a valuable opportunity for people with low levels of English to form friendships and connect with the church community.
Sessions cover scenarios to build confidence in English for everyday situations, like talking to doctors, teachers and landlords, but which are particularly useful in the context of Covid-19, such as attending online appointments and looking after mental health. They equip people in a fun, enjoyable way to access appropriate support when needed.
Emerge Advocacy have had to change an adapt to the current circumstances with COVID, to be able to continue to give support to young people in crisis.
Emerge Advocacy train and equip local volunteers to support young people in their local hospital who are there because of self-harm or suicidal feelings/actions. During the pandemic, they have been able to continue their support, whether in hospital to offer a friendly face and a listening ear or being available to chat on the phone to young people in crisis. Once young people are discharged, Emerge can continue supporting them in the community, going for coffee or, with COVID, a socially distanced walk or phone call.