We were delighted to welcome Paula Robertson, as the new Head of our Love to Learn education team, on 20th April. It was a highly unusual time to start a new job to say the least. But we needed Paula to join us during what has been a challenging time for the refugee young people and families we work with, as well as our staff and volunteers, who have had to transform our education service to suit the lockdown requirements. Paula has written about her impressions of her first few weeks and we wanted to share them with you:
“After a decade working for the same charity and building a team around me I imagined starting a fresh was going to feel very different, but doing it peak COVID-19 lockdown made it even stranger. I’d met Aaron and a small number of the team during the interview process. Then on starting my new role, I went on to meet the rest of Love to Learn and wider KLS team through a series of zoom meetings. These virtual meetings in some ways seemed more formal than a quick hello across an office but were a good opportunity to learn about each of the roles within the team and what regular and current activity looks like. Very quickly a trend appeared, not only was the team very welcoming, but every single person told me what a wonderful place to KLS is to work, how lovely the team is and what a great leader Aaron is. This certainly gave me a warm feeling and made me look forward to getting more involved.
The other thing that became very apparent as I got to know the team and what they were currently working on, was how incredibly quickly and well they had transitioned all their services online to meet the needs of their young people, families and members in the current situation. I was hugely impressed by Love to Learn’s ‘new world’ delivery, be it running their weekly homework and activity clubs (with close to 50 young people) through zoom, ensuring their 1-1 mentors are comfortable working through a number of online channels and providing them with training and new safeguarding guidelines or regularly checking in with vulnerable families and adapting support to meet needs in the current uncertain times. Not to mention the rest of the KLS team who are running their ESOL (English) classes online and speaking to nearly 200 elderly and vulnerable members weekly.
And that’s not all! Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic the KLS team have also been working with multiple other community organisations to ensure that there is joined up thinking and delivery of support for all people within their community. Their commitment and passion to ensure they don’t let anyone down is phenomenal!
After a few weeks of getting to know people and understanding how the team works and what the challenges are, I started to see where (I hope) my skills will add value, solve problems, make everyone’s life easier and help us have a greater impact on those we work with. I am really excited to be joining a team who clearly go above and beyond to deliver projects and provision to support those in need. When this surreal situation is over I look forward to meeting all the young people, families and members in person!”
You can contact Paula on 020 7585 0339 and [email protected]