We are extremely grateful to The Elizabeth and Prince Zaiger Trust for their very kind donation of £7,000 which has been used to benefit our South Somerset residents in our supported housing projects in many different ways. The funding has enabled a great deal of happiness, learning and life skills. Here is an example of some of the ways we have spent the money in supporting our young people:
- Kitchen equipment and learning to cook nutritiously on a budget – Cooking is an essential life skill that many of our young people simply have not had the opportunity to develop and something that they are key to learn. We are just as keen for them to take this opportunity to learn how they can improve their nutritional intake and budget effectively and so we encourage batch cooking and freezing and adding extra vegetables to recipes whenever possible! Some of the most popular dishes have been omelettes with a variety of fillings, curries and of course traditional Sunday Roasts.
- Clothing, haircuts and travel – Some funding has been used to pay for haircuts, which instantly improves wellbeing, and also clothing for interviews and safety boots for training in HGV mechanics. Some funding was also used to support a young mother with travel arrangements to enable her to retain contact with her daughter who does not live with her.
- Items for education and training – Some funding has been used to buy pencil cases, water bottles and stationery for young people starting education and training so that they have what they need from Day 1 and don’t feel different to the other students living in a home environment. If the start to college is positive, continued engagement is more likely.
- Identification – Some young people move in without having any identification and we have been able to get them birth certificates/citizen cards which they need for registering with Homefinder, applying for college and the suchlike.
- Computer monitor and Amazon Fire Tablets – With the Covid pandemic continuing and restrictions ebbing and flowing with the emergence of new variants, communicating virtually continues to be essential and a trend that doesn’t look like going away. This equipment has enabled residents to attend meetings with support services and education providers and participate in online learning too.
- Arts and crafts – It is well known that arts and crafts are not only great fun but that they also increase mental wellbeing and social interaction. Our residents have had numerous opportunities to be creative; from tie-dying to clay modelling and painting bright canvases to personalise their rooms.
- Garden makeovers – In the summer projects ventures outside for some messy Pollock-style splatter painting and also cleaned and renovated the garden areas. One of our dispersed houses benefitted from a fairy garden (with toadstools magicked from concrete!) and another from a Peace Garden in which residents painted their own stone to add to the water fountain.
- Connecting with nature – Spending time in green space is an easy way to benefit physical and mental wellbeing and also connect with your community. This is something we regularly encourage and there have been Winter walks followed by mugs of steaming hot chocolate, picnics in the park and al fresco support sessions.
- There have also been film and board games nights – Battles to become the Jenga master! – and seasonal celebrations and activities at Easter, Halloween, Remembrance Day and Christmas.