If JFW has shut its doors many would have found themselves in total despair, many who felt suicidal may not be still with us. Our organisations services were too vital to close its doors.
By using social media, extra phone lines, emails and phoning the most vulnerable on a weekly basis we could keep in contact with those and many more people that got in touch knowing we were still at the centre. We developed projects to the elderly delivering 3200 gift hampers in the local area. We helped families delivering over 1500 activity packs for their children and 1500 personal hygiene hampers to parents. 1000 activity/ craft therapy kits went out to local women to help keep stress levels down and help them relax. At Christmas we put out 1800 Christmas stockings and gift bags to local vulnerable children, as well as new clothes donated from Etica a local CIC.
From February 2021 we have delivered 200 baking activity packs to families and schools, 200 plant baskets again to the elderly and a further 600 activity packs and personal hygiene hampers meaning a total 10,000 have been delivered by ourselves, our fantastic team of volunteers, County Council neighbourhood team and Karbon Homes staff.
As well as overseeing the immediate work, Linda was also engaging in the bigger picture of the communities mental health. As well as continuing to support existing clients by delivering face to face and remote counselling sessions, in July we started small group anxiety workshops back to back to get as many women in as possible. Later in the year when we went into full lockdown again we still kept our face to face counselling, but workshops ceased and we are starting back in March. We developed way of managing our strict protocol of keeping everyone safe.
We quickly realised those who could not come to the centre felt isolated and we could take a little bit of the centre to them with a friendly face outside their door or gate in some circumstances.
We have learned to adapt to another way of delivering our service and will continue on an outreach basis until we are back to normal. We are going to set up online tutorials and create YouTube videos; Some educational, some relaxing. It really is essential we keep people inspired and motivated, connecting not only to new people but past clients as well as getting in touch to be supported in some way or other. We needed to make sure that the impact on the women and their families that we look after was minimised and could still offer a service to them.
Collaboration with our local food bank was essential to work in partnership with other organisations is pivotal in a crisis when the need is much higher than anyone organisation would respond to.
I feel as a CIC (social enterprise) we had an advantage, already on the front line working within the community, we understand their needs and were able to mobilise quickly to source and distribute essential activity packs and personal hygiene hampers to those most at risk. Having a listening ear for those really struggling became a life changing service. We launched new initiatives to make sure that peoples needs were met.
This has been a big job for a small organisation but we rolled up our sleaves and worked should to shoulder with small team of staff (3) and volunteers time courage and determination that allowed JFWC to survive and to stay open during lockdown and not revert to staying home and online services.