St Mary’s Church works with those living with dementia, stroke survivors, the bereaved and children with complex learning difficulties and/or autism spectrum.
Thanks to a grant from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund, St Mary’s Church were able to cover the staff costs of reaching out to members during the pandemic and organising the team of volunteers. The volunteers were therefore able to run FaNTA, following government guidelines on social distancing, which was a big success and the only youth group still meeting in an area covering 3,500 people!
Part of the funding was used to purchase a video camera and microphones in order to create videos, which covered topics such as exercise from home, mental health mindfulness, casual chats, cooking in lockdown advice and Sunday Service videos. These were edited and then uploaded to the organisation’s newly created YouTube Channel and emailed out to 253 subscribers, first on a daily basis and slowly decreasing to weekly after feedback from followers and the ease of lockdown restrictions.
St Mary’s Church also produced videos for nine local schools, suggesting ways for parents, pupils and teachers to manage their anxieties related to lockdown and Covid-19, a leavers and prize giving video for one school who approached the organisation for help and filmed weekly assemblies. Headteachers asked for assemblies and collective worship services that key worker children and home-schooled children could all watch at the same time to try and build common experiences and bring the pupils together even whilst they were apart physically.
We have nothing but positive comments about the Foundation. The communication from them has been wonderful and always helpful. If we haven’t completed something properly, we have been contacted and helped so that our application can be processed. The help we have received from Suffolk Community Foundation has been amazing and literally life changing for some of the people that we support.
I just wanted to thank you on behalf of the school and staff for the videos about anxiety and relaxation techniques and assemblies you provided during lockdown, and that continue today. These have contributed so much and played such an important and valuable role in the children’s continued education and kept families and pupils together. We hope they continue, as invaluable in these very difficult times