Update from Aaron, KLS’ Director (05May20)

5th May 2020

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Do you like the picture of  our ‘Tree of Delight’ above? It was created by our Elders Sewing Group over many months, and is displayed in our community centre. A powerful reminder of what happens when local people get together and support one another. 

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

Morning All,

I hope you, your families and loved ones continue to be safe and well.

I wanted to give you a short update about where we’re at the moment, which is busy, busy, busy! You are all doing some incredible work. It’s inspiring and humbling, and very much needed. So thank you.

Elders Team

Sarah sent round a short update to the Elders team yesterday. “As a team, over 7 weeks, we have supported 121 older people every week and made 1022 calls! 60+ elders have been referred to other services including the Foodbank, Social Services for care packages, Citizens Advice for benefits advice and the Battersea Coronavirus Angels for practical tasks like shopping and picking up prescriptions.

Well done! keep up the fantastic work! It really is making a huge difference to people’s lives during this difficult time – I have chatted to many of the members receiving your calls and they tell us how much the calls really mean to them. So give yourselves a huge pat on the back you deserve it and I am so proud of how well we have done.” In fact, as you’re reading this give yourself a pat on the back. Well done to all our teams.

ESOL Team

Fran and the team are busy teaching all our students online using combinations of Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype and Google G-Suite. These virtual classrooms are amazing, filled with laughter and chatter and learning! Alongside teaching English, Maths and Early Years our ESOL team is, like all of our teams, offering plenty of emotional support. Much needed in these difficult times.

Love to Learn Team

On 20th April we welcomed Paula Robertson as the new Head of our Love to Learn team. A weird time to start a new job I know, but she’s well into her induction and finding her feet. Say hi when you next see her and please give her a warm KLS welcome.

Our Learning Mentor, Casework and Club teams have been working hard with all our refugee young people and their families to provide parenting workshops, online volunteer training, one-to-one advice and advocacy, safeguarding support and a new weekly Corona Homework Club via Zoom.

Women’s Wellbeing Team

We extended our Women’s Group to offer support throughout the lockdown. Faaduma is providing one-to-one support, as well as a group meeting either late on a Friday night once all the kids have gone to bed or on a Saturday. They’ve been supporting one another, talking through their lockdown experiences, as well as sharing recipes, running a book club and activities for Ramadan. One of the mothers texted recently, “Thank you guys, you’ve changed my life”!

Central Team

Tracy, Filsan and Tony are continuing to provide all the back office support they normally do. They’re the first point of contact answering phones and emails, ordering materials and resources online for all the teams, paying our wages, the bills and more.

Partner are key

Alongside our own services we’ve been actively involved in the wider coordination across Battersea and Wandsworth. We’ve helped set up Battersea Coronavirus Angels. As of 27th April, the Angels had recruited 375 volunteers and supported 230+ vulnerable local residents with picking up shopping and prescriptions, topping up pre-payment utility cards, dog walking and providing a friendly, listening ear.

We’ve worked with our partners in the Big Local SW11 Alliance to establish a £100,500 Battersea Covid-19 Community Fund that’s providing financial support to local community groups.

And we’re part of a Wandsworth Coronavirus Organising Group, made up of local charity partners and Wandsworth Council departments, to coordinate a strategic and practical response across the borough, in terms of food distribution, addressing financial hardship and ensuring local people get the emotional and wellbeing support they need.

Funding

We’re financially OK at the moment. We’ve worked hard over many years to make this so. Our cash position is good. Our funders are continuing to pay us as scheduled – thank you!. We are losing some earned income from not being able to rent out our community rooms. But we been fundraising recently (as you’ve probably seen) and our supporters are being very generous at the moment. Big up to them!

If anyone fancy’s taking on a 2.6 challenge then find out more here: https://www.klsettlement.org.uk/blog/join-us-in-the-2-6-challenge/

Returning to Battersea High Street

We have started to plan for our return under social distancing conditions. We still don’t have enough information from the government, but safety for our members, staff and volunteers is our top most priority. We’re anticipating that there could be several phases of easing and tightening the lockdown over the coming months.

We want to ask our members and you our staff and volunteer team what you think about returning and how we do it. So next week we will be sending round a survey to gather everyone’s views and thoughts about this. Please let us know what you think.

I know lots more is taking happening too, but it’s tricky fitting it all in to one update. More soon.

Take care, stay safe and see you online.

Aaron

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