‘We See You’ – ECP’s Coronavirus Response

Edmonton Community Partnership Coronavirus Response 

The Coronavirus pandemic and resulting school closures has meant many adjustments and revisions for everyone so that we can stay safe whilst moving forward. Edmonton Community Partnership has been no different, and we have reprofiled and adjusted our community projects to continue to support our community in a new, safe way.  

Trevor Blackman, Partnership Manager, commented on our COVID-19 response over the last 4 months: 

“Unforeseen and devastating, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of all. While many describe it as an equalizer, to me, the team and our Trustees it was increasingly clear that COVID-19 would disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. Our schools’ communities. Sadly, this has manifested itself in a variety of ways that we, in partnership with a host of local charities and organisations, have responded to as best we could. We are determined to do more and have already put in place a clear COVID-19 response to address the looming social and economic storm approaching Edmonton and its residents.” 

Dream, Believe, Succeed 

This summer Edmonton Community Partnership will begin delivery for our Dream, Believe, Succeed Project as funded by the Mayor of London. Delivery will begin on 27th July with a 2-week programme of activities provided by a range of local partners. Sessions will include dance & performance lessons, sporting competitions and arts & crafts workshops.  

The true impact extended school closure has had on our young people is yet to be revealed. However, conversations with teachers and parents reveal universal concerns regarding pupil resocialisation and reintegration into the school environment after so long out of school. Our summer scheme has been designed to create positive experiences in school and encourage social interaction whilst getting used to the adjustments that will have to be made once school attendance starts to return to normal. 

In addition, The British DJ & MC Academy will be taking their ‘DJ van’ to public spaces in Edmonton where young people congregate to begin their outreach work over the summer months. Their mobile music studio contains a range of instruments and production equipment with which young people can create, perform and express themselves. The music they produce will form part of several showcase performances taking place next year. 

Bulgarian Community Work 

Another of our projects has been dedicated to supporting Edmonton’s Bulgarian community. Many Bulgarian families have migrated to the UK in recent years and faced challenges such as understanding English language, social isolation and a lack of access to public services. We have hired a Bulgarian speaking community worker to help coordinate support for as many of these families as possible. 

One of our first steps was to organise a community meeting to help educate Bulgarian families on what challenges they may face and how best to solve them. We set up a series of ‘Digital Coffee Mornings’, held via Zoom and in Bulgarian, in which presentations were given on applying for settled status and the importance of school attendance. Over 80 families made it to the first morning and the consequent meetings have also had great attendance (over 50 in each meeting). 

There are many Bulgarian families in Edmonton who often rely on school meals as an important meal and, as a result, some children have had less to eat during lockdown. Our community worker has purchased and supplied food to the families most in need to alleviate this hunger. Access to the internet and computers is also limited in much of the Bulgarian community, and so we have purchased and supplied 35 tablets and keyboards to these families and others in need.  

We’ve also been hard at work adjusting our other projects during the Covid-19 crisis so that they can meaningfully continue throughout lockdown and beyond: 

Glee 

Pineapple Dance Studios have been providing their performance lessons online to keep kids moving and progressing even while staying in. Over 100 children and young people have been participating in these lessons, developing pieces and improving their skills. 

ESOL 

Parents and carers have had continued access to Barnet & Southgate’s range of Learning for Life courses through online lessons. Including ESOL, IT, Art and Hairdressing these courses have been available throughout lockdown and have been continuing to develop the skills and employability of members of our community. 

SALT 

Our experienced speech and language therapist has been providing teacher training courses on working with pupils with communication difficulties. We had a great turnout from schools and have equipped over 40 teaching staff with new skills for communication. 

Forest Schools 

With help from local organisation Bountagu a group of local schoolchildren got to flex their green fingers. A pack of seeds, compost pellets and a few plant pots were provided to get their selection of flowers and vegetables started, first growing them at home before planting in their gardens or the school’s allotment.  

Work over at ECP never stops, and we will continue to adjust and adapt everything we do in accordance with up-to-date government guidelines and procedures. 

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