One of the organisations supported through the Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund was Gospel Oak Community Centre. They are based in Birmingham and support their community through a variety of different services.

Their grant, of £1,485, will support 25 carers throughout the pandemic by providing educational activities, practical and proactive advice over the phone. Those benefiting have already praised the service.

Marie Evans is one of those beneficiaries, she cares for her son who has complex needs so finding a group that works for them is vital:

“We attended a session with a friend of mine and her son, they were so warm and welcoming. The environment was safe and fun. I could just leave my son to run, jump and scream, they had a big bouncy castle in a hall and this broke the ice for the children.

 

“Since then we have enjoyed events that have been put on. We went to the snowdome on the sledges for the first time, it was amazing as I was able to join in too.

 

“My son does not do well with others, but because of Dave’s kind accepting nature he felt at ease. Don’t get me wrong he had a few melt downs, but we were supported all the way through rather than having the horrible looks from strangers, they helped me to realise it doesn’t matter what others think as long as me and my son are happy and safe.

 

“They have put so many things on for new experiences which has boosted my son’s confidence.”

The services provided by Gospel Oak are lifelines to those who are involved. Dave Crathorne, Centre Manager, said:

“Without the support from the Coronavirus Resilience Fund we would be unable to provide the vital resources to support the mental stimulation and wellbeing of our vulnerable families.  This grant will be the base from which we will rebuild our community and support them through this very difficult time.

 

“We’re already seeing the detrimental effects on Mental health and the strain of families as they cope with isolation or quarantine.  We are living in an unprecedented time and this will enable us to maintain our connections and to forge new ones in this new challenge to our community.”

Since the Government enforced stricter restrictions across the country grassroots organisations like Gospel Oak have really come into their own, Marie continues:

“On the first week of lock-down we were asked if we would like an activity pack for our children and Dave dropped it round, he asked how we were and if we needed anything – we didn’t but I really appreciated being asked. The pack contained everything you needed. 

 

“They also started these ‘Boost’ groups online to keep you motivated and well for example setting yourself a goal every day and giving you different things to think about.

 

“Next we had a surprise knock on the door a week or so later and it was Dave with more things for Sam, I was overwhelmed when they got me something too! I had a coffee cup and a mindfulness book this meant so much knowing that someone is thinking about us! Once again he asked if we were ok and if we needed anything! They are such kind and selfless people checking in on others; it actually brought a tear to my eye.

 

“I know Dave has done this with other families and his efforts are really appreciated, they really have made a difference to our lock-down. I’m extremely pleased and think it’s a very important roll they are doing for the community.”

The Foundation is still taking donations for our Coronavirus Resilience Fund here.

If you’re a organisation seeking funding in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic please click here.

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