Plymouth Hope

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Plymouth Hope Celebrating 10 years of supporting Refugees, Asylum Seekers and the BAME community in Plymouth.

Plymouth Hope is a charity run by inspirational and dedicated volunteers from all walks of life who all believe in social equality. We have recognised that social interaction and the power of sport and play have positive outcomes on life.

Plymouth Hope’s aim is to promote social inclusion by supporting people who may otherwise have become socially excluded. We provide a variety of programmes for children, young people and families; usually through face-to-face sports and activities led by fully trained volunteers. Our volunteers and staff have adapted their way of working by moving online during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to continue to support and stay connected with Plymouth Hope’s service users.

Our Covid Response

Reducing Isolation

For an organisation that runs face-to-face activities, hosting sessions 6 days a week; the Covid-19 lockdown has been challenging for our participants and volunteers. Our participants access our activities to keep active, meet new people and to expand their social network. This lack of social physical interaction is having an affect on their mental health; to reduce the social isolation, the team of volunteers and staff are making daily contact with those in the BAME Community. Where it has been possible for those who have access to data and WiFi are accessing our online sessions. Our sessions; Activity Communities, Conversation Club, Meet and Greet, and Youth Club. We are working towards the delivery of our virtual homework support club.We currently co-host with PTown Radio Plymouth on Facebook (@PlymouthHopeFC) to discuss Community Engagement. 

A service user who attends our conversation club "I like to attend as it’s friendly space, informal and not rushed”

Live Community Engagement

We are working to make sure that every community member is receiving and understanding the measures implemented by The Government and Local Authorities. Plymouth Hope hosts a ‘live stream’ via their Facebook page, with PTown Radio Plymouth, where current issues in grassroots communities are discussed with other live guests from the different communities we work with.

Connectivity

The biggest challenge is Digital Inequality. There are lots of families based in Plymouth who do not have access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop/computer let alone data or WiFi. This means that children are not accessing learning due to digital inequality. We are working with our partners to reduce the levels of inequality by asking for donations of devices to support children and young people in their learning, to stay connected to friends and family, and to access the latest news and guidance. We are working with the city connectivity group looking at ways in providing data connection to families needing that extra support during Covid-19. 

Social Meet & Greet

Plymouth Hope hosts Saturday Social every alternate Saturday. This gives families the opportunity to come together for a social catch up and to eat together. The women usually take it in turns to cook for the whole group, as Saturday Social is unable to run due to social distancing rules the session has been adapted to run virtually. These sessions are now run with a small group of women and girls, who meet to celebrate culture & diversity through Food. They take it in turn to cook a dish which is filmed and shared with everyone.

Conversation Club

Conversation Club has moved online every Thursday afternoon with one of our staff members and some volunteers hosting, this would usually run either from Plymouth University or Frederick Street Youth Club. The aim is to develop language skills and give confidence to  families with English as an additional language, this is done through discussion of relatable topics and the latest trends.

Family Support

We have staff and volunteers who are supporting families via telephone to access school websites, information and signposting to relevant places for food, resources and advice. They have worked hard in gathering key information to support the distribution of the Family Fun Packs in partnership with ODILS, Red Cross and DCRS (Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support).

Youth Club 

Youth Club at Frederick Street which ran Thursday afternoons 6pm - 7.30pm is now running online with a weekly topic or question to discuss. The group discusses how they are coping during the lockdown period, gives them the opportunity to ask staff and volunteers questions about the guidance which has been implemented, and it allows them to chat and have 'youth time'.

Active Communities
30 minute exercise sessions

Last week we launched our online 30 minute exercise sessions for the whole family to get active via zoom.These sessions allow our returning and new service users to meet others in their community and to get active. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and release endorphins, improving a person’s mood and exercising with others bring a social aspect to life. We have sessions tailored for women only on Fridays at 1pm and for Youth only on Thursdays 6pm. If attendees do not wish to show themselves during the session via video link, we accept this and only ask them to join in at home. All other sessions are available for anyone Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Please register [email protected]

Homework Support Club

Homework Support Club - we are working hard to bring the homework support club back in a virtual way. This also includes setting up a Devon Network to recruit volunteers to provide support virtually.

Plymouth Connectivity Project

Create your own user feedback survey

Internet access has become essential during COVID-19 lockdown as business, agencies and services have moved online, and the free Wifi hotspots have reduced leaving the most vulnerable people more isolated, distressed, and worried. It had come to light that some refugee and asylum seeker (RAS) community members were prioritising data over essentials such as food. Spending £40 on data in order to stay connected with friends and family, accessing online shopping, and keep up with the latest news.

The aim of this project was to get as many of the Plymouth asylum seeking communities connected to internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, for a fixed term period.

Aims and Objectives

  • Better financial management
  • Reducing isolation
  • Greater impact on mental health
  • Increasing communication with friends and family
  • Access to education - child through to adult
  • Access to other online projects and programmes in supporting the RAS community.

 

With administrative and funding support from various partnering organisations we are pleased to say we have contracted 79 WiFi dongles through Vodafone at £33 per month per dongle, and with the help of volunteers these dongles have been delivered to the identified accommodations.

We have a crowdfunding page set up to help continue this project:

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/connectivity-for-plymouths-ras-community

 

Feedback received:

"This is so important for me and my family"

"Really appreciate the WiFi"

"It’s very good to have WiFi so we don’t have to use data for online studying and keeping in touch with friends and family. The WiFi box is nice and compact."

"...it’s really helpful mainly during this covid period and even after why not? Thank you 🙏🏿 for this amazing initiative"

 

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