Update from Aaron, KLS’ Director (02Jun20)

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] 

And ‘Battersea Corona Virus Angels’ are on hand too: 07394 856 557 and [email protected]

Aaron’s Update

Good morning everyone,

I wanted to share what has been happening across KLS over the last month, which as you can imagine is plenty. You all continue to impress me by your energy, commitment and creativity in providing our services to our members through these very difficult times.

I think one of the best ways to illustrate what we’ve been up to, is to give you some examples, stories and case studies of the people we’ve been supporting over the last few weeks. So here goes.

1. Teams 

Elders Team 

Jennifer (85) lives alone. She has no nearby family and usually attends KLS several times a week for social activities. She currently gets a daily friendship call from a mixture of our staff team and ‘fone friend’ volunteers. Jennifer was struggling with not being unable to get out and it was affecting her mental health. She began to have anxiety symptoms and complained of low mood. Daily calls have supported her to feel cared about the daily chats she reports make her feel brighter. She says “I don’t know what I would do without you calling”.

Recently she raised concerns about her increasing difficulty to remember things and other symptoms. She was unable to call her doctor due to getting confused with the telephone triage system currently in place. Her phone friend was able to call the doctor for her and arrange an appointment.

Jennifer also receives a meal from Kambala Cares (who are using our kitchen to cook 50+ hot meals, three times a week) and weekly shopping and prescription collecting is done with local volunteers from Battersea Coronavirus Angels. She was sent a gift from the Covid donations of a lion puzzle – lions are her favourite animal.  She has also been given wool from KLS donations and is busy knitting twiddle muffs for people with dementia.

ESOL (English) Team 

R. & M. are both ESOL Entry 3 students. Their 4 children all use our Love to Learn services. Their youngest child came home from last day of school in March with a fever. Within 2 weeks both parents had contracted Covid-19. The symptoms have lasted a long time and keep improving and worsening. They were looked after at home by their 13-year-old daughter who also looked after her younger siblings. Battersea Coronavirus Angels have brought them a vital lifeline of food and medicine throughout lockdown. M. is a taxi driver but still weak and unable to work if there was any! Contact with the ESOL department has been through WhatsApp and phone calls. Digital exclusion has made it difficult to access classes. But regular phone calls have given opportunities to practice English and feel included.

Love to Learn Team 

A. (age 8) has additional needs, wanted to go to school and was talking about climbing out the window as he was so distressed by the lockdown. His mum had to follow him around until we finally got the council to fit safety locks. A. is still anxious but they have a small garden and he has been able to play outside in the sunny weather.

S. has kept her humour throughout the lockdown We have provided the family with packs of craft activities and she has had shopping help from Battersea Angels. The family desperately need more IT – there is only one working laptop and 4 children who should be doing school work.

Eid Celebrations in lockdown – Ayisha lives in a small two bedroom flat with her husband and 6 children, aged between 2 and 13 – most of whom have been to Club, had a learning mentor and received casework advice and support. Since the lockdown her husband, who is an Uber driver, has been unable to work. They have struggled financially and had to rely on regular foodbank deliveries. However, the family haven’t let the difficult situation get in the way of having an amazing celebration for Eid this past weekend! The whole family cooked together, shared small homemade presents and cards, spoke to family and friends on Zoom, danced in the front room and they all dressed up in their best clothes for a walk around the local park!

Women’s Team 

Our Women’s group is running on a Friday evening, once all their children have been tucked up in bed. They call it their ‘me’ time. One of the mothers said “thank you guys, you’ve changed my life.” Another mother said “I look forward to meeting up on Fridays.” And another told us “I really look forward our weekly Zoom meetings. It gives me time to ‘escape’ from everything.”

2. Partners 

Battersea Coronavirus Angels 

As you know we’ve helped set up the Angels in partnership with St Mary’s, Sacred Heart, Battersea Society and Battersea United Charities. There have been over 425 volunteers supporting more than 350+ vulnerable residents. One of the things that the Angels are encountering is people who have fallen through the gaps of provision, or who have complex needs which statutory agencies find it hard to meet when under extreme pressure.

  • Rita rang us anxious about her food situation. We discovered that she had complex learning difficulties and was at risk of hoarding food. We were able to take advice from her Support Worker and work with her to provide some befriending.
  • An substance abuse support worker rang us about Helen, who also could do with some befriending as she struggled to manage her alcohol dependency.
  • We had a case conference about Malik who is struggling with poor mental health and had been let down by his social worker and by those processing his Universal Credit application.

We’ll Meet Again – Battersea in Lockdown video 

This is a fantastic video put together by Sandra Munoz (ex-KLS member, local resident, business owner and friend) sharing local expereinces of life in lockdown. It’s had more than 12,000 views so far. Can you recognise any of our staff or members in the video? Watch it here: https://www.klsettlement.org.uk/blog/well-meet-again-wandsworth-on-lockdown/

3. Funders 

We’ve been keeping in close touch with our funders who’ve been really supportive. Here are some comments they’ve shared:

“It’s really interesting to understand how KLS has been adapting – it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job, an ever-present support in the community, no matter the circumstances. I’m sure your service users are so grateful and proud to be a part of your efforts! Please send our best to your team and congratulate them for their incredible efforts in these difficult times!”

“As always, KLS is in the middle of doing whatever needs to be done for people in Battersea and I’m pleased to support that. ”

“It looks as though KLS is doing what it does best  – helping to mobilise and support the community. It will be a challenge to do this without the benefit of the buildings as a focal point. But you will ‘learn new tricks’. My hope is that communities (and individuals) will come out stronger as a result of this crisis; although there will be tragic losses…. KLS will certainly find new ways of serving the community. I have been watching the classic film the Leopard about the Risorgimento in Italy. The old Prince says at one point “Everything will have to change if we are to remain the same”. KLS has a very well defined ambition which will remain the same. But you will discover new ways of being a Settlement as has happened so often over a century.”

4. Life in Lockdown: Please share your memories so we can build a local memory bank
So you’ve read all of these stories above but I know that each and every one of you have got plenty of other examples. We want to build a collection of these stories but need your help. We want to hear from you and our members about what it’s been like living through the Coronavirus lockdown. We can then share these experiences with others in the local community and more widely.

So, could you send us your (and those of our members, volunteers, partner organisations) stories, photos, drawings, poems and more? We are developing a memory bank on our website, and will use social media, to share these. We’re in discussion with Wandsworth Heritage Service to see what more we could do. And, we’d love to put together an exhibition when social distancing rules relax (maybe in the autumn-?).

Please send us your: Stories, Photos, Drawings, Poems, Videos, Sculptures, Diaries, Letters, Essays, Doodles, Thoughts and reflections, and anything else you can think of…

Send them to: [email protected] or send them to me directly [email protected] or pop them in the post to 108 Battersea High Street or just give me a call. 

5. Support for You – CiC wellbeing support service – coming soon
We are just in the process of signing up to CiC – a wellbeing support service for all our employees. This is an anonymous employee support service for you and your family members. They have, for example, a 24/7 Confidential Care helpline, Debt Counselling helpline, Everyday and Family Matters, Legal helpline, Managerial Adviceline; Well-Online; assessment for up to six sessions of Brief Focused Therapy; and more. I hope to be able to share more information with you later this week.

6. Opening up our community centre
Not just yet! You know what our building is like and the types of vulnerable members and groups we work with. Even though the government is relaxing the lockdown rules we’re in no rush to return. We will continue to provide our services as we have been over the last few weeks. I will keep you up-to-date as our plans to return to 108 Battersea High Street develop further.

7. Give me a call 
If you’d like to catch up, have a chat or speak about anything at all then give me a call or drop me an email.

And… do check out www.klsettlement.org.uk/blog for more news and updates.

That’s it for now. Please continue to stay safe and well, and send me your stories of life in lockdown.


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