OCTOBER 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.

Hemlington mums ‘Linx Families Together’ –

As a lot of you may know, over lockdown last year we were very popular with our online bingo sessions. This was well received not only by the young people, but also the parents and guardians who were getting involved too. When lockdown lifted, and Linx staff were able to go back into youth clubs – the parents and guardians felt like they were missing out as those bingo sessions through Linx allowed them to have a bit of fun and a catch up – which was particularly important through such challenging times. After a number of conversations with a couple of the mums whose children have been involved with Linx for years, we were able to work together and were successful in receiving a small grant from Middlesbrough Council to fund their activities! The group is called ‘Linx Families Together’ and will be a safe and welcoming place for local people to come together for a chat and cuppa. The first coffee morning will be held at Hemlington Recreation Centre on Thursday 4th November at 10am – 12pm. We hope to see you there!

Photography Project Award

This month, our fantastic photography group were invited to Middlesbrough Town Hall by The Hope Foundation as their photos from numerous trips which took place over summer were entered into their photography competition. Their photography competition was seen to have over 100 entries and included some amazing images. However, with all of this said – one of our young budding photographers was awarded with the ‘Best Newcomer’ award! Take a look at Lily’s photo on the link below.

https://www.hope-foundation.org.uk/photo-competition-winners/nggallery/image/lilly/

She received 2 hours free training with professional photographer, Neil Bankhurst Photography, and a printed canvas of her photo which now proudly hangs in her entrance hallway.

Burns Family Holiday to Primrose Valley

After last months Civic Community Awards, we were inspired by some of the projects within Middlesbrough and enthused by the local generosity that there is to offer for families in need. We approached Teesside Families Foundation who offer short breaks in their mobile home at Primrose Valley for families who simply would not get a break as we recognised a family who is always willing to get involved with Linx and deserved time away to relax and spend quality time together. Not only were we able to organise the stay, but they were also offered free bus travel and food shop vouchers from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation. This was a wonderful surprise for the family and they were hugely appreciative to get this opportunity. The family said:

“We were lucky enough to be chosen for a weekend away to Primrose Valley. Everything was included and we had a fantastic time. We took full advantage of the pool and the night-time entertainment. The girls tried laser tag, too. We had lots of laughs and spent valuable time together as a family.” Mum – Mandy

“The holiday was really fun and it allowed me to take time out for my mental health.” Sarah, 15

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to get up early and go and watch the sunrise as a family.” Lily, 14

“I really enjoyed sleeping and going out in the evening to watch the entertainment. I also bought bubbles.” Annie, 13

Carbon Awareness Training

Linx staff members attended a 2-day carbon awareness training course presented by Dave (MEC) took place at Linx Hemlington on the 20th and 21st of October 2021. Actes, Linx Youth Project and Climate Action all took part in the training.

The training started with everyone becoming acquainted with important climate topics such as ‘carbon footprint’, ‘greenhouse gas’ and ‘greenhouse effect’. Dave continued by explaining the four types of greenhouse gases including CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), N2O (Nitrous oxide), and F-gases; these gases are emitted from various sources including petroleum by-products (plastic-based material, petrol/diesel for car and engines etc.), livestock, land waste, industries, agriculture, transport, and food we consume to name few. We all as individual contribute dramatically to the emission of these greenhouse gases; these gases have a serious impact on our environment and climate change.

There are various ways we can reduce our carbon footprint including promoting the usage of renewables (solar energy, hydroelectric, wind energy, biomass), limiting the use of petroleum-based materials we use, reducing land waste, using electric vehicles, and cycling, promoting reusables and recycling.

Obituary

Sean Murphy was a Trustee of Linx and Board Member for as long as I can remember. He died in October 2021 aged just 54.

I can’t remember when I first met Sean except that it was a long time ago. I met with him many times at Teesside University, then mostly in committee and other meetings. I liked Sean and respected him. He was a friend, not close, but a friend nonetheless.

Over the years he became woven into the fabric of Linx. Sean is part of who we are, and why we are,  as an organisation. He’s also mixed in the DNA of many other organisations that care about those on the margins, who could maybe make something of their lives if only for a bit of help, given some hope, encouragement and guidance.

At his funeral, I learned a lot about Sean that I didn’t know. As a family man, a fun-seeker, musician, romantic, activist and campaigner for social justice – and a Leicester City supporter! Sean was a much respected academic, educator and mentor.

No doubt Sean would have relished being born as he was into a time of innovation, of protest, the struggle for equality and the explosion in youth culture. I never got the opportunity to have a conversation with him about how things are now, half a century on.

You see, I didn’t know enough about that side of Sean but it makes knowing who we have lost, so abruptly, all the more tragic.

The song that played at the end of Sean’s funeral service was “Let it be” by the Beatles. I understand why but I must admit that it didn’t wholly chime with how I came to know and understand him. Sean had an enquiring and analytical mind. I don’t think he was always inclined to ‘let it be’.

Looking for an answer seems more in keeping with how I knew Sean. It was one of the many reasons he was so good to work with and made him such a good friend of Linx as well as an enthusiastic supporter of ours. He wanted to work things out with us, to find answers. Sean wanted Linx to succeed.

In her eulogy, Sean’s daughter spoke of a father who, no matter how hairbrained her ideas, he encouraged her, working with her to get it done. That’s also how I found Sean to be – open to possibilities, wanting to change things, an inventor of solutions, willing to take a risk if necessary and confident that we could make things happen together.

“Passionate” is a word that always appears in a sentence with Sean’s name in it. Passion, though, also needs belief and Sean put his energy were he had belief it would make a difference.

Let’s face it, we’re in youth work. If you’re not a believer you’re in the wrong place. If you’re expecting to find a simple answer then you’re mostly going to be disappointed. But if you’re passionate about trying, if you believe, then you’d be on the same page as Sean.

Sean has come a long way on a journey through life that I’ve come to understand hasn’t been easy. Thinking about Linx he helped bring us a long way too. And that hasn’t been easy either – but I suppose nothing worthwhile doing is.

As individuals, his students, as colleagues, as a friend he’s been a guiding light, a coach and an example. Sean was someone you could trust, who I trusted, who could help you think things through, that it was all going to be worth it in the end and when it was difficult, try to find a way.

All the things that have been said about his selflessness, his generosity of spirit, good nature and tolerance are all true. Sean could be challenging too, but not without a reason and always to good effect.

His wife Helen talked about “the hand he had been dealt”. That seems to have been a difficult one but from what I know,  I can be certain he played it out to the best of his immense abilities.

I would have preferred Sean to have more time with us but the finality of his death means he can’t. That’s in a mortal sense. While I think you can never fully know people or walk in their shoes, you can follow in their footsteps.

The many young people who have come to Linx over time will not know of Sean, what he gave of himself, his commitment to them and his expertise to make sure their youth club was there for them. Also that their youth leaders, volunteers and his fellow Trustees were informed, capable and professional so their lives and the lives of other young people in our town could be enriched.

We are all better people and Linx became a better organisation because of Sean. He touched many people’s lives directly and indirectly including my own. For me, for many, he was extraordinary. We will miss him such a lot.

Ours, though, isn’t the greatest loss. We must reach out with our most sincere condolences to Sean’s family and friends as they look for closure and grieve his loss.

As we say our goodbyes, I’m sure all of us at Linx will carry Sean’s memory in our hearts and make sure everything he stood for and gave to us has a fitting and lasting legacy.

“There is a light that never goes out” (The Smiths:1992)

RIP Sean Murphy (1967-2021)

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.