October newsletter

Now that our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal is closed, we wanted to give you an update on the incredible work you have supported in our community, and to highlight some of our key concerns about the long-term impact of the pandemic on residents.
First, the good news.  With your help, we have reached over 17,000 residents in need since March and our food delivery partnership remains on stand-by in the event of a further lockdown.  Your support provided food parcels to elderly people and to families who were struggling; digital equipment to provide care and company online; safe spaces for children to play and exercise; online literacy lessons for children whose reading was behind; and employment and debt advice to the increasing numbers of residents who have lost their jobs and face an uncertain future.
We are so proud of the way our community has come together during this crisis to help each other out.
Sadly, the pandemic is far from over and we are concerned about the long-term impact on the lives and life chances of local people.  The lockdown demonstrated that digital exclusion is a significant issue in our borough, and not just amongst the groups you might expect, such as the elderly.  Many families are living in homes without wifi, let alone laptops and resources for learning.  As schools are moving more towards an online homework system to be Covid compliant, this means children without access fall further behind.  It is also impossible for their parents to access online support from home such as applying for Universal Credit, applying for jobs or making virtual GP appointments.
Bridging the digital divide is a key priority and we are collaborating with local partners to tackle this issue and ensure no resident is left behind.
We are also concerned that the levels of unemployment in the borough, which were above average before the pandemic, are set to rise and that those people furthest from the jobs market will face even greater barriers to finding meaningful work.  Young people tell us they feel bleak about their prospects and The Prince’s Trust’s survey of 16-25 year olds found that 49% feel it is ‘harder than ever’ to get a job.
Join us for a zoom discusion on Mon 2nd November with two frontline youth workers , who will share their insights on the challenges facing our young people in the aftermath of the pandemic.  The discussion is 7pm-8pm and you will need to register here, where you can also submit questions in advance.
We hope you will stand with us as we continue to work with our partners to tackle the challenges affecting our community – if you would like to support our Children + Young People Programme, please contact [email protected]
With best wishes
Victoria Steward Todd