There are many social problems in the area, including mental health concerns and our charity has been preparing and delivering videos for the schools to deliver as part of their virtual schooling. As family engagement is at the heart of our programmes, families are invited to get involved too. All coaches have completed Mental Health training and part of the funding will be used to enhance this training programme to provide the highest level of Mental Health accreditation.
It has been identified by primary schools that the children will benefit from kit and ideas for practicing outside exercising e.g. football dribbling drills, home assault courses, fitness programmes. We are looking to have available a range of kit items for families e.g. small size 2 / 3 footballs, cones, hoops etc, as many of the primaries have set aside 1 day per week for children to "move away from the computer" and attempt well being exercises. We have introduced ideas to get parents involved too, encouraging them to consider volunteering,
We are also working closely with St Machar Academy to support their Masterclass sessions - promoting initiatives such as Leadership, Motivation and Self Esteem, Volunteering and Work Placement opportunities. Whilst this has already been in place for the past school terms, we are preparing new project material to be rolled out when the school returns after the summer.
Whilst the activities such as at Cornhill were previously being delivered before lockdown, we have tried to replicate this via social media. As measures start to relax, we will increase our range of free outdoor exercise facilities for families and we anticipate that we can support up to 250 children and their families per week, easily adapting to the social distancing issues. The most important thing is that our Attainment Gap initiative will continue long after the COVID 19 pandemic and our weekly free fun coaching sessions for the children will become a regular feature for children and families to attend.
The main issue for our charity is that all fund raising events have been cancelled until Spring 2021 and we are using capital reserves to fund kit and equipment, salaries, expenses etc.
The award of the grant from the Lord Provost's Hardship Fund was perfect, as we were working at the time to provide the local Food Bank centres with much needed supplies. It was identified that there was also a lack of support to provide children and families with items of equipment to allow then to participate outdoors and to stimulate fun activities.
The attached photo shows some of the Russell Anderson Foundation team dropping off such items, along with food supplies.
In excess of 100 families have already benefited. The numbers will increase considerably when we start working with the schools again, as part of phase 2 of the project. The good news is that the donated equipment will be used for many months ahead, as it will form part of the virtual schooling coaching, especially for vulnerable groups. As mentioned previously, the whole focus is to prevent further Mental Health issues and to stimulate exercise and activities.
COVID-19 has caused real anxiety across the city, negatively impacting our mental health. Being in lockdown has been psychologically challenging for many families.
Support is still required and our priority going forward is to help the schools proactively, by paying attention to how the children are feeling and looking at initiatives which trigger happy thoughts.
Part of the funding from the Lord Provost's Hardship Fund will allow us to focus on helping the school environment to cultivate positive habits and ensuring that the children feel more confident and happier.
Thank you giving us this opportunity to expand our programme, especially during a period of recent events. It has allowed our charity to build on existing strong foundations with the St Machar community groups, as well as planning new future initiatives.
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