Maintaining business as usual during COVID-19 has not been without its challenges. But, as a charity, rooted in the Hull community, it has brought out the best in our staff, volunteers, children and young people and reinforced our commitment to our work.
Many of the young people and children we support do not have an adult they can rely on in their lives or a secure place to call home. They often lack a routine or structure as they try and find their way in life. All our work is developed and delivered with these children and young people in mind. The spring lockdown created rapid change across our themes of work.
Our nurseries had to remain open, in order to be available to key workers and vulnerable children
Our nurseries had to remain open, in order to be available to key workers and vulnerable children. Our parent mentor service, family support and services for young people quickly adapted to home working and found innovative ways to remain connected to service users. Telephone and ‘virtual’ became the new way of working. However, these are not options for everyone. Many people need regular face to face support, and practical help. In response to this we provided food parcels, activity packs, and welfare ‘checks,’ working closely with equally stretched statutory services. Over the summer as restrictions eased, our teams adapted again. In resuming much of our ‘prelockdown’ provision we responded to the increased demand for services as problems and issues, hidden in lockdown, soon emerged. However, the onset of autumn gave us the greatest challenges. In November 2020 Hull had the highest infection rates in the country. We had a number of staff self-isolating at the same time and saw the first positive cases in our workforce. All of which impacted on service delivery, especially in our nurseries.
In November 2020 Hull had the highest infection rates in the country
Financially, we implemented a range of actions to mitigate impact on both the long and short term, including revised budgets, use of the Job Retention Scheme and applications to specific COVID-19 funds. Impact continues to be felt on our trading income, specifically income from day-care and room hire along with reduced fundraising activity. The financial impact fluctuated throughout the year and will continue to do so going forward. All that said, the resilience, camaraderie, commitment, and sheer determination shown across our workforce and by all those using our service, demonstrates that people really do want to help and be there for each other.
Caroline East CEO, Child Dynamix