22 June 2020

Before lockdown, our community hubs at YMCA Derbyshire were growing healthily with multiple community meals organised every month. We are thrilled to look back and see how our relationships have blossomed with the community.

Of course, when lockdown was announced, we had to ensure we were putting our staff and supporters’ safety as a top priority. We closed all cafe’s, cancelled community meals and shut down campus to visitors.

However, that didn’t stop our incredible community from offering the same huge amount of support they always do! We’re so thankful to have grown some valuable partnerships over the past year that have helped grow and support our communities by offering their time, spaces and skills to help one another (and vice versa).

We’ve been in close partnership the Age UK, using their community hub to help reduce loneliness and social isolation through a community meal.

The concept was created before lockdown to ensure anyone who is struggling and having issues accessing hot meals could be helped. We have also offered essential “crisis” bags, which are made to ensure vulnerable/elderly people have sufficient necessities to keep going.

Dianne (Age UK Derby Manager) has worked extremely hard alongside our Community Connector, Matt, to keep this initiative alive.  For many, it’s the highlight of the week as their lives have been turned upside down. It’s an emotional roller-coaster talking to some individuals who some are in good spirits but some are struggling – we know what we’re doing is making a positive difference to them.

As charity shops begin to open gradually, Age UK has been around Derby collecting non-food donations from the wider community. We’ve been fortunate enough save some items for our young people on campus and for Key College students/families.

Work with the community continues

In May, we also started collaborating with Head High to begin a food delivery service for the participants from one of our Community HUB locations. This takes place on the 3rd Sunday of the month whereby we’ll be delivering fresh home cooked nutritious meals for the community and delivered the Friday before.

Members of our community work so hard to support us, our young people, and other members of the community who are struggling during these times. We are incredibly grateful.

Everything we distribute is gratefully received in the community and it’s really making a difference to those in need.