AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER – PROJECT DELIVERY UPDATES

Hello and welcome to another one of Linx’s monthly newsletters!

This month’s newsletter is informing you all on our changes to delivery with Covid-19 restrictions easing and to share with you our successes over the month.

Vaccinations

COVID-19 is still a threat to us all, with those who get COVID-19 being at risk of becoming seriously ill or have long-term effects. An effective way to reduce our chances of becoming seriously ill and spreading COVID-19, is by having the vaccine.

This month, the government announced that the COVID-19 Vaccinations would now be offered to those aged 16 and over, meaning that 16 & 17 year olds that were previously not able to get their jabs, will now be contacted by their GP in order to make an appointment for their vaccine. At Linx, we believe that this is fantastic news for young people and the whole community as we strive to get back to normal life.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available are given in 2 doses. You will receive your first dose, and be given an appointment to come back for your second between 8-12 weeks later. Some people do suffer very mild side effects such as a sore arm from the injection or feeling tired, however these do not last long.

If you would like to find out more information, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people

If you would like to attend a walk in vaccination hub, you can find the dates and locations here: https://teesvalleyccg.nhs.uk/where-and-when-you-can-you-get-a-walk-in-covid-19-jab-in-tees-valley-2/

Summer Trips

After the challenging 18 months that we have all faced, Linx Youth Project wanted to give young people a Summer to remember. A summer jam packed with fun, friends and thrills! And we think it’s safe to say that we succeeded in our mission.

We ran two trips, one to Flamingo Land, and another to Light Water Valley, taking a combined total of over 80 young people from different wards in Middlesbrough. Thanks to funding from the Department for Education, we were able to take the young people on the day trips free of charge, and provide a nutritious packed lunch.

Staff and young people really enjoyed being able to let loose, and it was so refreshing to see everyone have such an amazing time. Both days were filled with laughter and excitement, with one young person even saying that it was the best day of their life.

HAF and Food Provision

During the 6 weeks school holiday, Linx have been collecting food from Middlesbrough College to give out to young people during our summer activities, the aim of this is to give young people who would usually benefit from school meals the opportunity to still have a hot meal every day during the six weeks. The meals are varied, well thought out and filled with all the nutrition that a young person would need to keep them going throughout the day. The young people were also provided with a range of healthy side options to go with their hot meal, from fruit to yogurt and the occasional cookie to keep their energy levels up. We give these out in our Youth clubs, Outdoors works and half term trips away. We have been able to do this through the HAF Fund 2021 (Half term activity fund) with the aim of keeping young people healthy and energised, and taking some of the financial strain off local families during the school holidays.

The food has had a very positive reception from both young people and staff. The young people have really enjoyed and appreciated the food and have on multiple occasions come to staff and said ”The food is amazing”, “thank you for the food” and lastly “This is the first meal I’ve had since breakfast”.

Girls’ residential

After the boy’s residential, it was finally time for the girls to have fun and go on their residential. We took nine young females, all from different areas across Middlesbrough, to Kingswood in Hexham, for a one-night stay. The residential was a joint project with Breckon Hill Community Centre, who secured the funding in order to offer this activity. This was a fantastic opportunity for young people to get together, make new friends, improve skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve behaviour/respect.

We used this opportunity to offer a reward-based youth provision that allows young people to earn rewards and experiences, which they would never have the chance to experience otherwise.

The girls took part in exciting activities such as high ropes, 3G swing, laser tag, nightline, and leap of faith which they all really enjoyed and gave each other a lot of support around. They also took part in team building activities where they worked together in small groups to achieve a collaborative outcome they are proud of. During the trip they all developed skills such as communication, negotiation, teamwork, motivating, and listening. They all also developed personally by improving their self-esteem, confidence, and resilience by taking part in activities which they had fears about or struggled with, but they continued to encourage each other to not give up and continue until they’ve all achieved. A lot of our time as a group was spent reflecting on the past 18 months, through lockdown and with Covid-19. The young females felt that this trip illuminated a lot of social and emotional aspects which they have missed, and how differently they feel they can deal with difficult situations now. Overall, the residential trip was a success, and we believe that the young people gained a lot from the experience and have strong working relationships with Linx staff.

Litter pick

During the 6-week holiday, the Linx team and some of our devoted young people came together to organise and get involved in community litter picks to help keep their communities clean. The main areas focus on were Grove Hill, Newport, and Hemlington, some of which were attended by members of the community, partner organisations, local Councillors, young people and even the Deputy Mayor of Middlesbrough Mieka Smiles!

Several of litter picks finished off with a picnic which was enjoyable for all young people that attended. The events were very successful and allowed young people to take part in having an increased positive contribution within their community. The young people and community members expressed interest in making the litter picks a regular event.

Please keep an eye out for our next community litter picking events in your area to get involved with.

Progress on Greenshoots and what’s next

Green Shoots is a great opportunity for young people to contribute to nature preservation and protection of wildlife in Middlesbrough; it’s also a great opportunity to develop new skills and meet many fantastic local people.

During the month of August, young people, volunteers, Green Shoots trainees and staff carried out various interesting activities at several locations around Middlesbrough; these activities include clearing pathways, building homes for wildlife, removing invading plants (such as the Himalayan balsam), removing bushes and shrubs to clear the soil and cultivate biodiversity to name few…

Moreover, Green Shoots held a Water vole Awareness Event on the 17th of August 2021 at Middle Beck; more than 50 people attended, from very young children to adults (the event was successful, and everyone had a blast).

More events are still on to come, as the team is putting lots of effort into getting everything in place.

We are always thrilled to welcome everyone (especially young people aged from 16-24) to join us and help make our community a better place for human and animals.

Boys’ residential

We had a very exhilarating and invigorating residential trip away to Kingswood, with a group of boys from our local youth clubs.  This was a joint project with Brecon Hill Community centre, who secured the funding in order to offer this opportunity.

The one-night stay offered team building, critical thinking, and developing new skills, with a side of adventure, raising self esteem and earning a big boost of confidence for everyone involved.

We took part in some high adrenaline activities such as laser tag, Jacob’s ladder, leap of faith and 3G swing. The boys also sampled archery, learning about stance, hold and most importantly safety. Finally, we had a competition to see who could accurately hit the target the most.

Not all the activities were so fast paced, and we enjoyed some more relaxed time. Drinking hot chocolate around the campfire was a firm favourite with the group, and a great time for reflection.

To our valued young people, families, communities, and business partners, at this time, we would be interested in any feedback or comments that you would have in relation to our service delivery during lockdown and for future delivery.

Please stay safe and if there is anything we can support with then don’t hesitate to contact our team who would be happy to help.