Baraka Providing Activities & Support During Lockdown
Lockdown hasn't stopped Baraka from providing activities & support to the community
Despite the arctic weather, Baraka has not frozen its activities and has continued to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and the lockdown and to find new ways to support our members and the local community as a whole.
Over the Winter months, Baraka introduced Sunday Brunch Youth Mentoring sessions at the Canalside Centre on Ladbroke Grove, to give extra emotional and practical support to young people in challenging and uncertain times. Applying strict social distancing rules, Baraka staff are able to provide hot meals and support to young people in North Kensington who are suffering from mental health issues and at times acting out with anti-social behaviour. These sessions are supported by young volunteers.
Unfortunately, due to the stricter lockdown, these sessions were temporarily paused, but are now going ahead again under strict adherence to government guidelines.
Despite some face-to-face work being stopped, Baraka is carrying out ongoing, daily outreach in the community. We are providing hot meals for those stuck at home in isolation and free Personal Protective Equipment to all those in need. The team have delivered electronic thermometers to low-income families in the local area.
Youth work has carried on outdoors, with Baraka staff engaging with young people on the streets, making regular phone calls, and interventions where necessary, to vulnerable youths and offering nutritious hot meals.
As well as the tragedies and hardships caused by the COVID crisis, there has also been a spike in gang-related violence in recent weeks. Baraka’s team has been on hand to provide advice to young people about staying safe on the streets and to support the bereaved.
Baraka is working with the local health authorities to raise awareness of the worrying spread of disinformation about vaccines. Some unfounded conspiracy theories about both the COVID and ‘flu jabs are deterring members of the community from taking the opportunity to receive these vaccinations. In response, Baraka is carrying out targeted work to inform people of the importance of making an appointment as soon as possible to receive a jab.
Baraka’s work expanded over the Winter and is being supported by London Sports Trust with a collaboration on a bicycle project and magnet fishing, which was something very new for our young members.
Youths who completed Baraka’s bike safety and maintenance course are rewarded with their own bike to keep. The sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Canalside Centre. Demand is very high, so please contact the Baraka team to register.
We are also in need of more bikes, so if you have one that is under-used, please consider donating it to us so it can benefit a young person.
Baraka’s Youth Mentor, Mo explains the benefits of the cycling project: “We’ve seen the young people have increased confidence when they realise they can fix a bike; they learn new skills and really enjoy the team work aspect of the project.”
Baraka is focusing on the mental wellbeing of its members. A mental health awareness project will include a poster design competition, with wireless headphones going to the three individuals who produce the most inspiring work.
The COVID crisis has worsened difficult situations for many families and Baraka has been supporting people with a range of issues, including family conflict and suicidal thoughts.
Another new project has been funded by Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, which has generously provided laptops for an IT literacy programme, which will commence as soon as government regulations allow it.
To access any of Baraka’s programmes, please contact Mo at Mohammed.senhaji@baraka.London or Abdullahi at firstname.lastname@example.org.