Our Love to Learn Homework Club has been providing education support, to local young people from refugee backgrounds, for more than 15 years. Here the team (Nadine and Josh) share their experience of the lockdown and bringing Club online:
“Going into lockdown was a difficult time for everyone. At Love to Learn we were particularly concerned about the children we work with. Many of their families share a one bedroom flat between 4 or 5 people. They have no outdoor space to play in, limited access to computers, and find homeschooling difficult because English is not their first language.
Our Homework Club provides a space for these children to play in, access computers and receive one-to-one support with homework. Like most youth services across the country, we were left wondering how we could continue this service in lockdown.
Have you heard of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Flipgrid? Well, whilst access to computers is limited, and something we are still fundraising for, we realised many of the kids do have phones and could join us on conference calls.
After speaking with families and volunteers we managed to get most of the kids online for a few taster sessions. Originally, we planned to focus on homework and study skills. In these first conversations however, we realised how much schoolwork the kids were doing at home and how isolated they were from their friends. Schoolwork is important but so is having fun and staying motivated!
In response, we worked with our mentoring team to ensure that the children who would benefit most had one-to-one tuition and then focused on well being and activities that would help the kids connect with their friends online.
And so…. CORONA CLUB was born.
We held our first volunteer briefing on April 15th and have been meeting every Wednesday since. We run energetic sessions which include the rock paper scissor championship, spot the difference, online pictionary, craft challenges and a Joe Wickes workout. We have also teamed up with a local charity Artists In Transit who deliver art activity packs to the kids at home.
As ever, flexibility is key to working with children and, with the sun coming out and some changes to the restrictions, we are looking at ways of organising socially distanced visits to help the kids get outside safely. There is even talk of a grass roots socially distanced football team!
Here’s what some of the young people have told us:
‘Corona Club is the only time we get to see our friends’
‘We like playing games and doing rock paper scissor’
‘We want to play more games!’
Corona Club has been a wonderful way of maintaining relationships with the young people and volunteers through this difficult time and we are excited to see it develop!