It is obvious to most the impact that Coronavirus has had on millions of lives, not just in the UK, but across the entire World. Many businesses have had to temporarily close, individuals unable to get to work, children having to be ‘home-schooled’ by their parents, many of whom are already stressed and under pressure.
As a nation we have never experienced anything like this and everyone’s mental health is being tested. While we all try to adjust to the changes this has brought to our own families, we must not overlook the thousands of charities that need to continue operating under this ‘new normal’ that so many speak of.
Somerset based charity, PROMISEworks, deliver inspirational mentoring for Somerset's most vulnerable, disaffected and disadvantaged young people between the ages of 5 and 25.
PROMISEworks volunteers work as mentors, ordinarily spending a couple of hours each fortnight engaging with their mentee – taking part in activities, talking and most importantly, listening. Often, mentors are the only stable adult relationship a young person has in their life.
Since the start of lockdown in March and due to strict social distancing restrictions, PROMISEworks has had to rapidly rethink the way it operates. Of course, contact has been maintained online, but fortnightly face to face meetings have now become weekly skype or Facetime calls, texts messages and phone calls. But these inspirational mentors have taken things a step further, ensuring the vital relationships they have built are maintained as much as they can be.
We have spoken to the charity to hear about a few ways that they have adapted to this new way of “talking”.
One mentor tells us how she has been maintaining contact with her mentee and has recreated their favourite Costa experience, by buying them the ingredients to make their own version of their favourite hot drink.
Other mentors have taken it upon themselves to send cards and hand-written notes with encouraging messages like, ‘You Are Stronger Than You Know’, just to remind their young person that they are still there for them.
“A young man of few words” was how this mentor described the 18-year-old lad he was matched with. Over the course of their relationship communication had always been brief in between their fortnightly face-to-face meetings and he was rarely chatty when they did meet, preferring to be tinkering with cars, or eating cake. Since lockdown, new ways of keeping their friendship interesting have had to be explored. The mentor set the young lad the task of compiling some online quiz questions that they could do together. The mentor quickly realised that all of the questions were about places they had been and things that they had done together, further highlighting how important their seemingly mundane meetings had been to this young man over the previous 15 months.
A 10-year-old girl mentee was proving difficult for her mentor to engage with. The PROMISEworks mentor had to quickly learn how to communicate by Messenger, FaceTime etc, but was getting almost no response. PROMISEworks sent the girl craft kits and plenty of books to read. But the girl recognised herself that she was becoming lazy, with playing computer games occupying much of her day. Then, following a suggestion from a case-holder, the mentor asked her a quick question – “Name a song with a colour in the title?” Wow, the response came back immediately - Yellow Submarine, Lady in Red, Black & Gold, Tears of Gold. They then moved onto songs with numbers and they were off, the young girl was engaged! They continued to have more conversations - songs about food, sweets, for dancing to, songs from the year of our births – leading perfectly on to plans for her birthday celebrations next month! The lines of communication were open again and the girl began telling her mentor quite a lot about herself through the songs she was choosing – sadly, most of which had very unhappy lyrics!
Many young people are finding the excuse for increased gaming time suits them well. One lad facetimes his mentor but continues to play games online. When his mentor asked if he was ignoring her, he said, “no, I just like you being in the room with me!”
PROMISEworks sits alongside children and young people who are dealing with life struggles. The mentors help by listening, encouraging, and most importantly having fun. They are looking forward to being able to walk and talk with their young people in the sunshine.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a mentor, please get in touch on www.promiseworks.org.uk
Word Gets Around Networking - Meet the Business - Natalie Dyson (Coronavirus Community Help Taunton)
In these series of short videos, we chat with Somerset business owners to find out what they do, how they do it, and more importantly, why they do it. Informal chats are recorded via Zoom and offer a chance to share tips, information, and advice. In this video, we meet Natalie Dyson from Coronavirus Community Help Taunton.
She is one of the founders of the group who have created 39 Facebook Groups across the town to help communicate news, tips, and help those most in need of support. Armed with a team of volunteers the group has been the epitome of community spirit, at a time when all stand together against the Coronavirus.
Natalie is a lawyer by profession and has been juggling homeschooling with her children whilst working with others to said up these groups. It has evolved very fast and she has been in awe in how to community has pulled together to help those most in need. The groups can help people in need including:
- Shopping delivered
- Prescriptions collecting
- A friendly chat
- Ideas to keep children happy
- Support with finances and organisations
- Feeling a part of the community
MAIN FACEBOOK GROUP:
Word Gets Networking has been active in Taunton for over 8 years at local venues, giving people a chance to promote your business at a convenient time, working around the busy lives they lead. In a relaxed environment, they get a chance to build relationships, share ideas and develop your network, with like-minded people.
Our business network group is open to anyone who embraces the idea of support, learning and a ‘together we’re stronger’ attitude. Now more than ever it is about sharing skills and experiences which help build relationships and in time, trust. Everyone has value and you can take away as much as you put in.
Check out www.wordgetsaround.co.uk/wganetworking.html WGA Networking
Or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Award-winning West Somerset artist Garry Floyd has unveiled his next stunning design raising money to help provide for the welfare and wellbeing of NHS Heroes.
This is his second release with the aim of raising as much money as possible for NHS frontline workers. So far he has raised £3395 from the sale of his first charity piece 'Home' and he hopes to raise just as much with this absolute beauty of a follow up in 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. In the tree is a carving which reads “WE💙NHS”.
During this difficult time Garry wanted to do something that could possibly help those superheroes that are constantly putting themselves at risk to help us. Garry said "These people are forever over worked and under paid yet they are essential key workers working under extreme pressures to save lives".
Garry came across an unbelievable charity (non-profit) (although there are so many good charities doing great things) that is directly helping those on the frontline
You can order 'You'll never walk alone' for yourself or for someone that you know that could do with some light relief or a thank you for an act of kindness during this time. Put a smile on someone’s face whilst also helping to raise some funds for a great cause.
The price is extremely low so Garry can sell as many as possible. He is ending the sale of this print soon so order yours soon. Please share this with anyone who might like his design.
See all of Garry's stunning work:
A bit more about Help them help us...
This is what they do:
Providing for the welfare and wellbeing of NHS staff on the frontline of the pandemic. Their mission statement is to support, in big and small ways, the welfare and wellbeing of NHS staff as they fight COVID-19. They want to get things going ASAP. The virus is moving fast, so in order to support the staff on the frontline they need to move even faster.
They want to provide an avenue for the public to help out the effort. Their aims are to support the physical, mental, and day to day wellbeing of NHS staff across the nation. Physically to support the protection of our staff on the frontline. Mentally they aim to provide counselling and psychological services. Day to day they want to set up a hassle-free small grants service to support childcare, transport, to provide perks for hospital facilities and more. They want to use their platform to also provide public and professional education resources on coronavirus, and build a cross-professional platform to help share tips and advice.
At Spaeda we’re passionate about making a difference to the lives of children and young people through creativity and the arts. The arts inspire and engage, raise confidence and aspiration.
We believe that all children are entitled to a creative education and access to arts and culture.
The current squeeze on the arts in schools is unprecedented. Teacher recruitment and retention is under enormous pressure and we are seeing a mental health crisis in children and young people.
At Spaeda we believe that putting the arts and creativity at the heart of education supports the well-being of staff and pupils and provides space for rich learning experiences.
It’s been 6 years since I first picked up a trowel to excavate an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and how far things have come since then. In my former life I was a Royal Marines Commando, a job that I had wanted to do since before I can remember. I enjoyed nothing more than going in the field or deploying on operations, knowing that whatever public opinion was, I was doing my part to ensure the safety and security of other. Several incidents in Afghanistan unfortunately cut my career short after only 17 short years.