21st May 2020 Update – COVID-19
We’re really pleased to say that although most of the team were furloughed, one of our coaches Kennedy Schmidt is still working, reaching out to the young people who have been part of Spear for the last year.
She is actively working to connect them with resources, coach them on job opportunities where needed, and often just providing a listening ear during this challenging time. It goes without saying that this virus has really impacted vulnerable communities and many have lost jobs, have had mental health challenges and have struggled to access support. The need for Spear is more important than ever, and it is frustrating not to be able to provide it the way we would like.
However, amidst it all, there has been some good news, and we would like to share some stories of hope from Kennedy’s ‘reach out’s’.
“I called a trainee the other day who was quite down, facing some mental and emotional difficulties and just needed someone to talk to. I offered a listening ear, a place to think and vent and hopefully some advice and by the end of the call he seemed a lot lighter. After the call he texted me back and thanked me for being there, which does not happen often.
Through these calls we’ve been able to get a better handle on some peoples’ situations – one trainee in particular is struggling with her housing and finances. We are supporting her now with practical basic needs such as food, toiletries, some furniture and bedding that she cannot afford at the moment.”
Although this is a challenging time we are comforted to know that we have been able to make these young people feel less alone in a very lonely time, as well as make sure they are properly supported whether that is through us or connecting them elsewhere.
Monique* completed the Spear Programme at Camden recently. She has had an incredibly hard few months. She was not able to live with her parents, and ended up moving in with an elderly neighbour who she worked for (running errands, cleaning and caring) but she felt taken advantage of so she left and became homeless.
We were able to connect her with another charity who got her into supported housing over the Easter period. On top of that, she has also secured a job from an interview last week! She said “All I kept thinking about during my interview were the things I learned at Spear and I wouldn’t have got the job without them.”
We’ll be ready to re-open Spear Camden as soon as restrictions allow but Resurgo, our partnering charity are also taking this time to develop an online version of the Spear Programme, which will be piloted next month. This will be a combination of group and one-to-one coaching sessions, three or four times a week, delivered via video conference. We look forward to be able to update you on this in due course.
30th March 2020 Update – COVID-19
During this challenging time the Spear coaches have been working hard to keep the training going with the current cohort online and by telephone, and they have done a great job so far. They even managed to arrange phone mock interviews last week for the young people which was a great success with our interviews being conducted over Zoom. Thank you to our mock interviewers who rose to the challenge and adapted so well to the online session!
In lieu of our usual Thursday Celebration, this cohort’s Celebration will be available to watch online from Thursday 2nd April 2pm onwards! Please click the link below to watch it and support the achievements of this current cohort.
The team have also been spending significant time reaching out to Spear alums checking in during this challenging time. One such young person had lost her job at a leading hotel chain moments before and was deeply encouraged by the call, which included some practical direction about areas that are hiring right now.
As we look to the immediate future, we have concluded that it will be very difficult to recruit, engage and run our next cohort due to the group-based, highly relational nature of the Spear Programme. Therefore, we have taken the difficult decision that from this Friday the Spear coaches will be furloughed until we are able to recruit and run the next programme. The Spear Camden alums will continue to be supported by a dedicated Resurgo team. We will be back to full strength as soon as we can at a time when Spear will be needed more than ever! In the meantime our fundraiser has also been postponed until 8th October.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement, particularly during this challenging time. We know you are being flooded with requests to give and we do hope that the decision to furlough our coaches will allow us to continue to support young people through the Spear Programme when lockdown is lifted. However, we do not know how long this period will last and if would like to support us financially, you can donate via the link below.