Back to life, back to reality: a fresh beginning (An update from Aaron, KLS Director – 1st Sept)

1st Sep 2020

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We wanted to share with you our Director’s (Aaron) regular update he’s sending around to all staff and volunteers at KLS. Just to keep you in the loop!

Contact Us

If you need anything during this difficult time then please get in touch with us on 020 7223 2845 and [email protected] 

Aaron’s Update

After a herculean 5 months of work during lockdown (for which I’m truly grateful) it’s time for us to look forwards to the autumn. Many of us are now able to get out and about. Schools and colleges are returning this week. Many shops and restaurants have been open for some time now. We’re going to continue with working from home for the time being, but excitingly (and cautiously) we’re starting to re-introduce our face-to-face services, albeit in a socially distanced way.  

Over the summer we had some practice at this. Our Love to Learn team had an amazing summer, working in small groups of up to 15 young people, every day, for the last 4.5 weeks. More than 100 young people attended an activity each week, most twice a week. We used a variety of spaces including Trinity Fields, near Wandsworth Common, which has a nice open space for football, touch rugby, running races, water fights and ice cream. There were lots of arts and crafts, cooking and music workshops too. The feedback from our young people, as well as their parents delighted at some time off, was really positive. They had a great time. Well done team. 

For many of our young people this was the first time they’d been allowed out of their flats for 4 months. It was a great opportunity for them to let off some steam, catch up with friends, and take part in some really fun and engaging activities over the summer holidays. A full report will be shared later this month. 

Today (1st Sept) I’m really pleased that our Elders team is restarting its face-to-face work with very small groups of 4-5 older people. They’ll be going out for coffee, trips to Richmond Park, or just meeting up on doorsteps for a chat and catch up. We’ll see how it goes and review w/c 21st September. The team continue supporting about 110 of our most vulnerable elders each week with regular phonecalls and more.

It’s a new academic year, so our ESOL team is starting new student assessment’s today. Lessons will recommence in the third week of September. We’re re-introducing face-to-face classes. But with smaller class sizes. Half a class will be learning in our building and the other half will attend online – classes will be live streamed into their homes. Thanks to Emmanuel school for donating desks and chairs to help with social distancing. You’ll be glad to know that we didn’t have an exam algorithm fiasco. All those sitting an exam this year passed. Congratulations to our students and the team for all their hard work in making this happen.  

Staff news 

It’s always sad to see staff go, after they’ve served us so well. We wish them all the very best for the next chapter in their lives. In the ESOL team Sally and Gail retired in July. Fatima, from our Love to Learn team, is leaving us at the end of September to become a mature student! And Ava and Sheena, from our Elders teams, left us in July. We’re recruiting at the moment, and will let you know how we get on. A number of colleagues are still on furlough and will come back to us in the weeks ahead. And we wish Filsan all the best in her recovery. She broke her knee (ouch!) recently, and we hope to see her back later in the autumn. We have arranged for Tony, Debbie and Joe to cover reception until she’s back.  

Safely returning to the building   

Tracy and Tony have been working hard with all the teams to get the building ready and safe for our return.  

Here are a few things you must do coming into the building:   

  • Wear a mask (we have stacks of these kindly donated by Lavender Hill Clothing, just ask at reception).  
  • Sanitise and/or wash your hands upon entering the building (and throughout your time in the building). You’ll find bottles of hand sanitiser throughout the building.  
  • Keep your social distance!!! (apply the 1m+ rule)

To plan for our return, we’re following what guidelines there are. We’ve made risk assessments. We’re using our extensive experience and knowledge; and are applying a healthy dose of common sense. Together by talking with one another and constantly reviewing our approach I’m confident (with a few teething problems I’m sure) that we can get this right for everyone who uses our building – our own community services, as well as our partners who rent a community room to run their own activities and those that rent an office.  

You’ll see some changes around the building, and to the minibus. It’s going to be tricky for us to manage as our building was not made for social distancing. Each team manager will brief you (if they haven’t already) about the do’s and don’ts.  

Do talk to us and each other. Please let us know how it’s going, what you’re learning, what’s working and what’s not (please talk to your Line Manager and/or Tracy and me). I know that by working together we can provide our face-to-face services again in a safe and responsible way, whilst making them fun and engaging as we always do.  

Battersea Coronavirus Angels  

The Battersea Coronavirus Angels have now stopped the practical help side of their work (food and prescription deliveries etc.). But they do remain open for business with telephone befriending support (thanks to Sarah from our Elders team for your support). Of course, even though we all hope not to see a second spike or local lockdown, the Angels will remain ‘mothballed’ rather than closed, so that they can get up and running again with the sort of practical response that has made Coronavirus Angels so successful.

For a round-up of all the amazing work they’ve done over the last 5 months visit: https://www.klsettlement.org.uk/kls-blog/news/battersea-coronavirus-angels-final-update-27aug20/    

AGM on 7th October   

Unfortunately, we’re not able to throw a big party as we normally do, but we will be doing something lowkey, probably online and in the Centre. Watch this space…  

Money, Budgets and Fundraising   

We’ve achieved 96% of our budget for this financial year already and are actively fundraising for next year. A big thank you to all our supporters. If you’d like to know more details about budgets and fundraising then please speak to your line manager or me! 

More news   

We’ve upgraded our website recently (thanks Mark and Nick). Do have a look. More news about our work can be found at www.klsettlement.org.uk/blog. We’re posting 2-3 new stories each week. If you’ve got an idea for a story, then please let me know. Our members and supporters really appreciate hearing back from us about our work.  

Contact   

Do give me a bell or send me an email if you fancy a chat. It’s always good to talk. 

All the best,

Aaron

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