Young person’s charity to launch post Covid-19 strategy

A Liverpool-based charity which supports young people in Bootle is launching a strategy to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the local community.

Established in the aftermath of World War II by a group of army officers, the original purpose of Brunswick Youth and Community Centre was to support young men in the local community. 

The charity is also launching a homework club to help support young people who have been disproportionately affected by the loss of school time.

Since its formation, the Centre’s mission has evolved to support young people as well as the wider Liverpudlian community and swung into action when Covid-19 struck.

The charity has received two grants of £8,558 and £8,962 from the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which has enabled them to provide a raft of support measures including 7,000 packed lunches; 480 Thursday hot meals; 540 weekend hampers; and £3,650 of school uniform vouchers.

They’ve also given people access to 8.5 tonnes of food, provided 12 key workers with new mountain bikes; supported the Marie Clarke Wellbeing Centre; and contacted families directly with offers of support for their children and young people.

When Covid-19 struck all the charity’s face-to-face activity had to stop but the centre remained open for all the families and vulnerable people in the community. 

This was followed by the launch of their ‘Operation Stay Safe, Stay Well’ initiative, which included distributing packed lunches, food parcels, clothes vouchers and gas and electricity tokens. 

Val Johnson, development manager at Brunswick Youth and Community Centre, said they’ve now moved to stage two of their plan known as Operation Phoenix.

She said: “We’re continuing to develop an online presence offering information, support for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing for at least the next 12 months. We’re providing packed lunches until September and will continue with food parcels weekly, which will be reviewed in October / November. 

“We’ll be launching homework clubs and have secured funding for a few laptops to start help bridge the gap from losing six months of their education.

“We have continued with our young ambassador project and some of them have been volunteering for us during the pandemic.”

One of the biggest initiatives will be the launch of a three-year post-Covid development strategy.

Val explained: “We are developing a post Covid development Strategy. It hasn’t been launched yet.  The strategy will be based on the developmental needs of the organisation and the community over the next three years.

“It will look at our own sustainability and also the changing needs of our community as they deal with the impact of Covid on themselves and their families. We want to make our community more resilient for the future.

“It will put the community and young people at the heart of our service provision, whilst also taking stock of our financial situation in the long-term and how we are going to find ways to address the uncertainty that lies ahead.

“It’s important to bear in mind that our community was already disadvantaged before Covid-19 and has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic so will need far more support to become resilient again. 

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation.”

Jane Harris, director of regional funding of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Brunswick Youth and Community Centre really understands its community and has consistently risen to the challenges of Covid-19.”

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