We’ve been determined since the beginning of the pandemic to continue running our projects and supporting our beneficiaries as best we can. However, due to the lockdown, and not being able to safely run our projects in person, this has meant being creative with the way that we can help, often moving to running sessions digitally.
In June, we updated you on how our projects were changing and adapting in response to lockdown. Since then, we’ve done even more to get our projects up and running again in new ways. Here’s what we’ve been up to since then:
We’re still running digital befriending sessions
We’re continuing to run digital sessions with the Huggard centre every Tuesday over Zoom. This has been a great success – we’ve done karaoke, music bingo, quizzes and even a live music performance from local musician Chris Kelly. We’re also planning more sessions for the near future including live comedy!
Our Digital Befriending Scheme has also been running since March and is still going strong, supporting adults with learning disabilities. Our volunteers have been having weekly catch-ups with beneficiaries over phone calls, video calls and letters. Some have been playing games online and sending their artwork in the post. The scheme has been instrumental in combatting isolation, loneliness and boredom for beneficiaries and volunteers alike.
Wally Walsh ran a sing-along club for us for four months over lockdown, before going back to his normal day job. His sessions were much loved by those at Huggard, and additionally the disabled adults we support through our partnership with Innovate Trust. One of the highlights was a beneficiary requesting Beyonce - Single Ladies. True to form, the following week Wally learnt it, and gave us a wonderfully unique rendition! Thanks, Wally, for providing these wonderful sessions for us!
Kate and Stef at Shiny Happy People have also been running weekly sing-along sessions for our adults with learning disabilities, which have been full of joy and laughter, and for those at Huggard who have also enjoyed some upbeat sing-along sessions. Thanks to Kate and Stef as well!
We’ve been able to run even more of our usual projects digitally
Our Social Club was a popular weekly session in Talbot Green, where adults with disabilities and or/mental health conditions could get together and enjoy activities such as arts and crafts and video games. Now, we run the social club over Zoom – which has transformed into a weekly quiz club. Every Tuesday afternoon, we have a wonderful group of keen quizzers join us for a different theme each week, and will soon be recruiting some volunteers to take over the reins!
Also, our projects working with young people have all now been adapted so that we can support our beneficiaries digitally. Our Young Carers volunteers used to run day trips once a month. Now, we’re running group activity sessions for our young carers once every three weeks, doing activities such as online escape rooms, virtual zoo tours and group baking.
Our Be Friends project usually matches volunteers with young people with disabilities so that they can plan outings and activities around Cardiff. Since the pandemic the project was paused – but now, in its place we’ve set up a Digital Be Friends project, with a volunteer being matched with each young person and contacting them once a week over video call to have chats and play games together online.
Our partnership with EYST, which previously tutored young Black and Minority Ethnic people aged 11-25 through homework clubs, has moved to a digital setting and are now starting to run one-to-one tutoring sessions over Zoom.
We’ve had the chance to start new projects
Over summer we’ve developed a range of new digital activities alongside our partner Innovate Trust, and one of these is our new Drama & Wellbeing class with the wonderful Izzy Rabey. Izzy is an experienced drama practitioner, and brings her love of theatre and creative writing to her weekly Zoom sessions for adults with disabilities and/or mental health conditions, where activities can range from group games, collaborative storytelling, show-and-tells, and of course the occasional sing-a-long!
We’ve also worked with local charity Tŷ Krishna Cymru by helping recruit volunteers to provide food deliveries to those who are self-isolating, elderly, on a low-income, or experiencing mental or physical health issues. In line with social distancing, volunteers help with preparing food, delivery driving, or donations.
And we’re starting to run face-to-face projects again…
We’re even starting to recruit for our Police Volunteer Project again. Adapting to the pandemic, we’ve put in a few extra safety procedures to make sure the project will be as safe as possible. We have PPE for the volunteers, including masks and face shields. The number of volunteers on the bus at one time is being restricted, as well as the number of people volunteers can support at any one time. We’re also making sure that the logs of who’s picked up by the safety bus are completed fully to comply with track and trace.
Thank you to our funders
A lot of our new digital projects are funded by WCVA and Welsh Government, so we’d like to say a huge thank you for allowing us to continue to support our beneficiaries throughout lockdown!
If you’re interested in volunteering in any of the projects above, or any of our other projects, take a look here and get in touch: https://www.svcymru.org/projects