As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we look back at just some of the wonderful work that has been continuing at our regeneration schemes throughout the pandemic to support residents.
Early in lockdown our Aylesbury Estate regeneration team were worried residents would be struggling financially due to the restrictions and possible job losses. They sent a postcard to each household detailing the services we were able to offer during this difficult time. One resident, who got some help from our bursaries scheme in the form of a voucher for food shopping and some toys for her children, said:
When I saw the postcard I was so glad. It’s good to see people out there looking out for each other; it really helps. I knew about Notting Hill Genesis as a house builder and landlord but I didn’t know about the services you offer. The support has been great. It has helped in so many ways.
The Aylesbury summer programme of events runs over the school summer holidays and is a key point in the year for the community to come together, make new friends and re-engage with old ones. The team at Aylesbury felt it was more important than ever that the 2020 programme went ahead despite the pandemic.
With the help of three young residents from the estate the team organised a mix of online and socially distanced activities including jewellery and puppet making, games evenings, cycling and dance and fitness sessions. With so few opportunities in recent months for residents, particularly young people, the chance to connect with others in a safe space and enjoy themselves was priceless.
At Woodberry Down, Manor House Development Trust (MHDT) and Berkeley Homes turned a once-vacant restaurant into an emergency food hub to feed vulnerable residents on the estate. Skyline Food Hub was run by a dedicated team of MHDT volunteers who prepared healthy meals from surplus ingredients and delivered them daily to vulnerable households and those struggling with financial pressures.
When the pandemic began, Active Within moved all their exercise classes online. Since then more than 200 people a week have been staying active and lifting their morale during these difficult times. One Woodberry Down resident said:
The online classes are keeping me active and mentally strong. Thank you for continuing to deliver during these difficult times. The coaches are super friendly and welcoming. Thank you so much.
There’s also been significant support from foodbanks on the Grahame Park estate and wider Colindale area to prevent food poverty during Covid-19. At the height of lockdown Colindale Foodbank were supporting around 400 people a week from Trinity Church on Grahame Park Way with essential items like tinned food, bread, milk and toiletries, while Bread N Butter have been delivering 250 healthy frozen meals a week to residents. We donated funds to both projects to support with their amazing work.
Throughout lockdown Youth Realities, Art Against Knives and FUSE Youth Project – part of the Grahame Park Universal Youth Offer – provided digital support to young people living on the estate and beyond. All projects utilised their social media platforms to provide guidance and deliver live streams and sessions including webinars, creative workshops, exercise classes, mentoring and more
Early on in lockdown Tutors United moved their English and maths classes online. This has been very useful for residents, especially when schools were closed. We’ve received some really positive feedback from parents, one Grahame Park parent said:
My son really enjoyed his lesson. Thank you very much for the support you are giving to the children we really appreciate it; you are doing what the schools couldn't do.