Another summer has gone by and another project has provided summer fun to local children. The Sports Camp ran two weeks but with two groups of 15 young people each (complying with social distancing rules). It aimed to improve fitness and skill level across a range of activities. In addition, SYCT put on a Drama Camp with Craig Blake as Creative Director, bringing his many years of professional experience. This was also set up to ensure safety by dividing the attendees into two cohorts. Streatham Vale Adventure Playground ran a registration only service with an emphasis on creative play. With the exceptional level of deprivation amongst the Traveller children who live near the site, we find it is especially important to give them the opportunity to enjoy being a child.
Covid -19 has had a profound impact on our work and finances. The immediate financial impact was a net loss due to loss of hiring income. We continued to operate our services over the lockdown period including an online support service for our members and a free meals delivery for vulnerable families. We are committed to not cutting services as our members are from vulnerable groups. We are, however, adapting them to online provision, safe distancing, and new needs. For example, our longstanding special needs group will now be integrated into our main youth work sessions. Most of our staff are back working to cover current projects. We are implementing plans to make our buildings safe for our hirers and have consulted on their future needs.
Our ethos of providing a centre where young people want to attend because they decide the activities means they trust us to help them through the real difficulties which they face. Unlike a school, where they are obliged to attend, a youth centre needs to draw young people to it through a combination of interesting activities and supportive staff who understand through their own experiences. Our Principal Youth Worker and sessional staff are qualified youth workers but also from the local community. This improves their ability to communicate with local young people and understand the barriers they face.
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