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Supporting our community through Covid

John Boyle, Chief Executive, writes:


Over the last few months like others we have been slowly emerging from lockdown and thinking of how we can adjust and adapt to open our centres  and offer some degree of face to face service which some people desperately need. Things are still very uncertain in the middle of an international pandemic and we are expecting new peaks to arise in future. 

Apart from the threat of the threat of the Virus itself we are already witnessing other impacts such as increasing unemployment, social isolation, digital exclusion, deteriorating health and well-being, food poverty and opportunities for young people narrowing. We expect these negative impacts to increase over the next period.

In response we are planning a blended approach of delivery offering face to face where possible and safe but with online options built in to reach people who are still isolating and offer contingency should we need to adapt to tighter lock down conditions.

Below you can read more about what we are doing all of which employ our traditional approach of offering support, skills, opportunities. connecting and enabling people to overcome the increased difficulties they face.


ARC Youth Club Summer Programme


ARC youth club was delighted to be able to open back up this July. We ran a 5 week summer holiday programme, attended by 47 young people, exploring activities such as arts and crafts music, music recording and a wide range of sports activities including visits to Talacre community sports centre, football, tennis, trampolining and cricket. Working within National Youth Association guidelines to ensure the safety of all our staff and participants we were able to offer young people a fun and engaging summer. We offered 480 meals, two per day and young people also created their own events. This included a fruit eating competition, indoor games night, Tik Tok dance competition and a treasure hunt. From evaluations 83% of young people attending said the project had made them feel happier. Quotes around what had been learned include: "creating home decor", "playing piano" and "how to be kind".

Tackling Food Inequality


SHAK have stepped up its efforts to tackle food inequality during the pandemic initially by offering free meals to help supplement food supplies for families and individuals in need. In May we delivered food distributed via Camden from the "Ivy Restaurant".  We have since secured more funds and have now launched our own service offering high quality frozen meals. We are working with other groups in the area to co-ordinate efforts. Other ideas in the planning are healthy eating and cooking on a budget sessions (online and face to face where possible) with supplied ingredients to build skills and capacities which will sustain into the future.

Autumn Term at the Shell Centre 


We opened again at the Shell Centre from the 7th September for face to face activities by appointment only. We have reduced capacity, carried out risk assessments and put "Covid Safe" procedures in place to ensure social distancing and learner safety is in line with current guidance.

In Autumn we will be offering support with Job seeking and employment preparation, digital skills from basics upwards, healthy cooking on a budget, English for speakers of other languages, health & well-being and craft sessions. We are looking at ways to make these activities available online too continuing our learning from the lock-down using online meetings and channels.

Community Champions Project

SHAK have been commissioned to deliver this project to engage with residents in Kilburn particularly on the estates of Kilburn Vale, Kingsgate, Web Heath and Sidings. The project has been delayed due to the lock-down but now we have recruited a coordinator who is busy getting things off the ground. The aims of the project are to recruit volunteer Community Champions, who will help create stronger and healthier communities  through training, running activities and having some fun along the way. Cookery and gardening projects are about to begin, with the opportunity to win a Golden Gnome! 

Behind the Scenes
During lock-down we have been busy updating and improving some of our facilities. With help from Camden Community Infrastructure Levy we have installed at new Kitchen at the Shell Centre and re-configured our Music Studio at the ARC Youth club. Both now ready for use by our beneficiaries.
Your Support is vital
We would like to give a big thank you to everyone who has volunteered with SHAK to support our work without which we would not have been able to do what we have. Big thanks also to organisations and business who have donated financially, food, their expertise and in a variety of other ways including Camden Council, Pears Foundation, Waitrose, Asda, Alexandra and Ainsworth TRA and all our grant funders and partners.

If you wish to support us financially you can donate at Emergency COVID Appeal  or why not volunteer click here to register.
Copyright © 2020 South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Partnership, All rights reserved.

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