The Hull and East Yorkshire Children's University team are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Team Impact award at this year's Hull and East Yorkshire People In Business Awards (HEYPIBA) for our work during the pandemic.
Lockdown brought major concern for the welfare and safety of vulnerable or disadvantaged children. We were inundated with calls for help for thousands of children whose circumstances do not meet the threshold for social services intervention but who are vulnerable and would be greatly impacted by school closures. In addition, there were concerns for children of key workers who were showing signs of emotional stress because parents where at the front line. So, we redesigned our services to respond to the crisis and set about putting together educational resource packs including books and games to support learning, paper, pencils, crayons, and games which were then hand delivered by our volunteers to thousands of children who are at risk.
Over the past 12 months we have secured, packed, and delivered -
2,266 educational packs to children in KS2 who were falling behind in education and were unlikely to have learning materials at home because of household poverty.
3094 wellbeing packs to children in KS2 to support their mental health and wellbeing including children of key workers such as nurses who were showing signs of worrying about their parents who were on the front line. These packs were designed to support their emotional resilience.
1,182 Letter Box parcels to children in KS1 to support their education and development.
Hundreds of food parcels at Christmas to families living in poverty.
So, whilst this is not what we normally do, working with dozens of volunteers, we received, packed, and delivered over 6,500 educational and emotional support packs to children across Hull and the East Riding. This included over 45,794 individual books, games, learning materials and resources which without HEY Children’s University, would never have been purchased and delivered.
And then we went into a third lockdown in January with all children sent home for months with a national outcry about disadvantaged children who do not have access to online school learning resources because of a lack of IT and access to the internet.
We took up the mantel again after cries for help for 850 children in Hull and launched a campaign to harness the spirit of the community to help. Through the campaign we secured all 850 devices through grants, donations from the public both of cash but also donations of devices and from business. We raised £62,000 in six weeks to help with this, and all 850 children were given brand new or cleaned and reconditions devices and over 100 children also received dongles to give them internet connection. Volunteers drove all over the city collecting the devices, delivering them to the IT company and then delivering them to children.
We have kept thousands of children safe, engaged, fed, and learning during lockdown despite not being able to deliver our usual programme of experiences.
The HEYPIBA awards will take place virtually on the 9th July. Wish us luck!