Alternatives Trust East London’s November 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to Alternatives Trust East London’s November newsletter. Please keep reading to hear all about what we’ve been up to over the last few months as well as what we are looking forward to in the run up to Christmas.
Thank you for your continued partnership – we couldn’t do it without you!
Make sure you read all the way to the bottom to see how you can be involved in the Big Give Christmas Challenge where we hope to raise £20,000!
Entering a second lockdown
Alternatives continues to provide emergency support to some of the most vulnerable families in Newnham as we enter into this second period of national lockdown. As you will know most of our families are homeless, many sofa surfing with children in entirely unsuitable shared houses, others in temporary accommodation provided by social services. Temporary accommodation usually consists of a B&B without any cooking facilities or one room for the whole family to sleep and live in along with a shared kitchen and bathroom with other homeless families or individuals.Lockdown in this environment is unimaginably difficult for many of us who have access to cooking facilities, more than one room and even for those of us who are fortunate enough, some outdoor space. We are partnering with other local charities and the local council to again ramp up emergency food and baby supplies to our families during this second lockdown. In the first lockdown we gave out over 700 emergency food parcels.
This lockdown is not as restrictive as the first and we have used the time between them to ensure as many of our families as possible have Covid safe face to face interaction with support staff, utilizing local parks and the garden at Forrest House.
At Alternatives we are aware of the immense emotional stress that this pandemic has brought for not only our clients but for our staff too. We decided to have a focus on self-care with our clients and provided activities in a Covid safe way that were designed to support their mental wellbeing, whilst still providing practical support where needed. The two major activities were gardening in family bubbles, providing much needed outdoor therapeutic activity for families who had been cooped up for so long.
As well as the opportunity to take part in two poetry workshops funded by the charity 4in10 who focus on child poverty in London.
We created a video, please do take a look at the wonderful poetry we created.
We have also used this opportunity where face to fact working is restricted to spend time on staff development. All frontline support staff have undertaken training from Hestia in recognizing the signs of sexual and domestic violence, from 4in10 in speaking to the media about poverty in an empowering rather than patronizing way and three sessions from Praxis in working with Migrant Families and people with No Recourse to Public Funds.
Two of our support staff are also undertaking Level 3 family support training and three of our staff are studying for Level 1 IOSC (Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner) accreditation in order to be able to give the basic level of immigration advice without having to refer on to other organizations who are already oversubscribed and sometimes charge.
This time has been difficult but we intend to come out of it not only having delivered good support to our clients but also having built some resilience within Alternatives and our staff team to be able to support our clients even more than we could before. This moment of enforced stop and reflect has given us the space to think about how we ‘build back better’.
We continue to hold our usual WAF group over Zoom and this term we have focused on parenting, with teaching around keeping children safe, including a three-part session on keeping children safe online.
Although online safety has always been a part of our teaching, we have made a special focus of it this term as online activity has increased nationally since March. Alternatives both supports our clients and their children to access the internet but also teaches parents how to keep their children safe whilst online. It is important that the children we work with have the same access as their peers to education and the ability to socialise. But greater online engagement also increases risk.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) recently reported on a 50% increase in online child abuse images being shared and have reported a significant increase in online grooming of children. Other forms of online exploitation have risen during lockdown, Supt Matthew Davison from Counter Terrorism Policing said ‘extremists were using the pandemic to spread hate and misinformation online, young people were being targeted in their bedrooms’. As well as reports of increased cyber bullying amongst young people.
As children from disadvantaged backgrounds are often more at risk of online harm, we are in a privileged position to be able to support parents in preventing their children encountering and being affected by these increased dangers.
Two of our clients who have received a tablet through our partnership with Skills Enterprise.
The education team have continued working with the young people throughout the last few months. We began in September by welcoming the group back to the office garden for socially distanced sessions. We then moved to Memorial Community Church when it began to get dark and cold. The new Covid safety rules were a challenge but it was so valuable to spend time in person as a group. Due to the new lockdown we have moved the sessions back online and will meet via zoom until it is safe to meet socially distanced again. We hope to introduce more fun games and discussion topics to keep us all connected and having fun.
Meanwhile the team have been contacting schools, offering our lessons and regaining connections, showing local schools we are still available and able to help support their RSE curriculum during this time.
Excitingly, we have also begun planning a new venture with WAND in West London. We hope to help deliver our workshops on self- esteem, friendships and relationships amongst others topics during their girls group zoom sessions and are very much looking forward to continuing this relationship across London soon.
Much of our day to day work continues in a covid safe way, our weekly foodbank continues to provide essential food as well as nappies and baby milk, this month we was able to give out baby and children’s coats as well as blankets to ensure the children of the families we support are warm into the winter.
We are drawing close to Christmas, an extremely busy time for us with are big annual fundraiser as well as providing presents to nearly 250 children and 80 mothers. Christmas is a great time for you, our partners and supporters to get involved with supporting our work! As in previous years we are doing the Big Give Christmas Challenge where any donations you make between 12pm on 1st December and 12pm on 8th December will be doubled by our lovely pledged donors and The Childhood Trust! This year there will be two main ways you can get involved. Firstly, you can get on your bike and cycle for us! Secondly, you can give and encourage others to give too.
Counselling continues to be an important element of our work, both around pregnancy choices and baby loss as well as more general counselling for parents who have experienced trauma. We are now able to provide counselling via zoom, over the phone as well as in person and on average have been providing between 40-50 hours of counselling a month.
Thank you to all those who support us, this work really cant happen without you.
Between the 1st and 8th December we are asking people to use a tracking app on their phone and go for a bike ride, take a selfie and a screenshot of your final distance and we will add all the miles ridden by all the people and aim to collectively travel the distance from Forrest House to Edinburgh Castle! (hint: if you go with a household group your time can be multiplied by however many people you cycled with)
Sign up to be a bike rider by emailing email@example.com and we will send more information.
Poland, Oct 2012
Italy, Cividale March 2013
Turkey Amasya September 2013
Germany , Kassel December 2013
UK London March 2014 Featured a Conference –Big Society –Lessons to be Learnt
Portugal Lisbon June 2014
With a well documented history of 7500 years Amasya is a typical Turkish City. It is a beautiful City with artefacts belonging to time span of thousands og years, a place of historic buildings, cultural legacy and artistic elements that have survived time and space
Host in Amasya Organisation responsible for Orphans under the ministry responsible for Family and Social Policy
AMASYA İL MÜDÜRLÜĞÜ
Food for Body, Mind and Spirit – Gathering Europe Around the Table
Amasya Meeting, September 10-14, 2013
September 10th Arrival day
Introduction activities for other participants
Visits to traditional handcraft centers
Workshop (Cooking traditional Turkish foods)
Picking up fresh vegetable
08:00-10:00 Breakfast at the hotel
10:00-10:30 Introducing participants and meeting program.
10:30-11:30 Project coordinators meeting
11:30-12:00 Coffe/tea break
12:00 Departure to Amasya
12:30-14:00 Lunch (Amasya Şehir Restaurant)
18:00-19:00 Free time
19:00-21:00 Dinner (Ali Kaya Restaurant)
21:30 Back to Hotel
07:00-09:00 Breakfast at the hotel
09:15 Departure to Suluova Boğazköy (a farm)
14:30 Departure to Amasya
15:00-18:00 Cultural visits in the city
18:00-19:00 Project coordinators meeting
19:00-21:00 Dinner (Eylül Buğusu Restaurant)
21:30 Back to Hotel
07:00-09:00 Breakfast at the hotel
09:15 Departure to Boraboy lake
10:30-12:30 Walking in the nature (Boraboy lake)
12:30-14:00 Lunch (Boraboy Restaurant)
15:00-18:00 Cultural visits in the city
18:00-18:30 Free time
18:30-20:00 Dinner (Lalehan Otel)
20:00-21:30 Turkish art music concert (Bimarhane)
21:30 Back to Hotel
Free time for other participants
September 14th Departure day
Intergenerational and diversity in Turkey
Group at Governor’s Palace
Beauty of Amasya
Talking to an orphan boy
Gathering Europe around the table
WAND’s Cook and Taste workshops demonstrate:
Chicken Tikka Masala
3 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
2 tsp fresh garlic, crushed
2 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
1 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tsp red chilli paste
2 tbsp coriander,chopped
450g skinless chicken breast, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp fenugreek leaves, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1tsp garam masala
11/2 ground coriander
2 tbsp half fat crème fraiche
1 tsp oil
Prep 20mins cook 20 mins Serves 6
Mix the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, black pepper, chilli paste, juice of 1 lemon and half the fresh coriander and spoon this mixture over the chicken. Allow to marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin and chopped onion and cook on a medium heat until brown.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and add the chicken to the pan. Cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the fenugreek, tomato puree, garam masala and cumin and coriander powder.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the crème fraiche and coriander before serving
Why not try..?
Serving in wholemeal pitta bread with lettuce and sliced cucumber and tomato
Serving with steamed vegetables e.g. broccoli, or adding vegetables into the pan with the chicken e.g. spinach or peas and serving with basmati rice
Replacing the chicken with white fish fillets
WAND UK is in partnership with European organizations based in:
Food For Body Mind and Spirit: GATHERING EUROPE AROUND THE TABLE Project GREAT: Aims to improve poor health, reduce loneliness, poverty, give opportunities for self expression, learning and teaching new skills and change negative stereotype attitude of the elderly as a burden in society.