The recent lockdowns meant that a lot of our projects were put on hold or converted into digital formats. We previously updated you on how these had been going, and what changes we had made to help keep our community safe. With a little more freedom in recent times, we’ve been working to get our projects up and running in the safest way possible. Here’s what we have been up to:
Our Digital Projects
Since the start of the pandemic, a wonderful group of volunteers have been running a virtual social club with clients at the Huggard Centre. This academic year, the volunteers have continued to run the sessions each week with the Huggard clients over Zoom. They’ve taken part in a range of fun and engaging activities such as battleships, music bingo and quizzes. The project has been well attended this year and it has been lovely to stay in touch with the clients at the Huggard Centre, even though we have been unable to meet in person. We’ve recently begun working on running sessions in the centre again, through adaptation of risk assessments, meeting safety needs and providing the most beneficial environment.
Innovate Trust New Projects
Throughout the autumn and winter months we continued to develop new digital projects to support our beneficiaries over at Innovate Trust, including a Creative Writing Course, an online talent show called Insight’s Got Talent, and a weekly Netflix Club. All these projects were run by our fantastic volunteers, with the idea for the Creative Writing Course and Netflix Club being suggested to us by those very volunteers – we simply helped to bring them into (digital) reality!
We saw a range of beneficiaries getting involved in these different projects, with the online sessions still managing to provide them with a chance to learn something new, sing their favourite song, or just kick back and relax to their favourite shows!
Also supporting our beneficiaries over at Innovate Trust, two fantastic volunteers led a one-off project focused entirely on Health and Wellbeing over the course of several weeks. The aim of the project was to teach and promote topics such as mindfulness and nutrition. Sessions ranged from guessing how much sugar is in our food and drink, to tips on how to practice mindfulness. We hoped that everybody would come away with new knowledge and skills on how to look after their health and wellbeing. We’ve received fantastic feedback on the sessions, which has spurred us on to do even more work focused on the topics of health and wellbeing.
Digital Projects, Moving to In-Person...
Be Friends Project
Be Friends has been running really successfully in its digital format, with both our beneficiaries and volunteers having a great time undertaking video calls and virtual activities together. We have recently restarted some face-to-face activities with socially-distanced sessions taking place in our beneficiaries’ gardens. These sessions have been highly successful so far and it’s been fantastic for pairs who have only seen each other digitally to be able to meet in person for the first time. We’re looking forward to more of our pairs undertaking these garden meetings and seeing how these sessions develop to make them as beneficial as possible for the young people we support.
Our Digital Befriending volunteers have continued to befriend beneficiaries virtually through phone calls, video calls and also by sending letters. The befriending pairs have undertaken a range of engaging activities such as arts and crafts, games, reading, watching films and even going on virtual tours of other cities and countries.
Now that restrictions have started to ease, we’ve been fortunate enough to put measures in place for our volunteers and beneficiaries to meet up in person. Our befrienders will be able to start meeting up for socially-distanced walks and garden visits. We’re delighted that our volunteers and beneficiaries have the option to meet up in person after only being able to speak to each other over phone and video call for over a year. Here at SVC we do, however, appreciate that some members of our project enjoy the digital aspect, and will continue to run services in this form for those who prefer a digital resource.
...And Some Fully In-Person Projects!
NHS Meet and Greet
Our big group of enthusiastic Meet and Greet volunteers have been working hard at the Mass Vaccination Centres across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan since December! They have been a welcoming presence at the entrance to the centres and assist those who may feel anxious or apprehensive. We continue to support the NHS and are grateful for the hard work that is taking place at Vaccination Centres across Wales. It’s been great for volunteers to be part of the mass vaccination effort!
Our police volunteers started back out and about on the safety bus on 30th April, and have been out every Friday & Saturday night since then. Our Police Project aims to support vulnerable individuals in the night-time economy, by being a welcoming and caring presence available to anybody who may need them. They’ve done a fantastic job and have been kept busy since the reopening of restaurants, bars & venues!
Additionally, they’re about to start a two-month project supporting South Wales Police with a rollout of digital equipment for officers & staff. Our volunteers are excited to begin that in a couple of weeks time!
One of our first in-person volunteering events was a one-off socially-distanced litter pick, held as part of National Volunteering Week on 5th June. We had a small group to start back with, and had three wonderful volunteers show up early on a Saturday to help out, and collected over seven bags of rubbish in the Cathays area – not bad for a morning’s work! The volunteers were brilliant and really keen to help clear up the local area. It was great to be back out in the community again, and we look forward to hopefully hosting more events like this over the coming months.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
While we’ve been adapting to running projects during the pandemic, we’ve also been working hard on various Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters including working on policies, training, events and project activities. Have a look at our most recent EDI blog post for more information on this.