Update from West London Zone – January 2020

2021 has brought West London Zone (WLZ) another challenging environment in which to support local children and young people.

Each child is different, and each family’s situation changes daily in these circumstances, requiring WLZ to constantly adapt to support in the way that is needed. WLZ’s experience and learning throughout the last year has set them in good stead to pivot quickly and shift the online and face-to-face balance of their support again as necessary, family by family. Feedback from parents and young people after the first lockdown provided the insight WLZ need to ensure they respond as best they can to families’ needs during this time.

“WLZ has helped me develop strengths and skills that I wouldn’t have been able to with the pandemic happening. I think that WLZ has really helped me keep happy during this time and no matter how I felt, my Link Worker was always there for me” WLZ Young Person

While around half of WLZ’s Link Workers are still in school given the higher numbers of children in schools this lockdown, the remainder are providing intensive online support to ensure stable wellbeing and prevent further learning loss. During this time:

WLZ continue to support children’s engagement with what their school is doing – and generally, schools have more online provisions and resources for online learning this time – while also providing additional academic catch-up sessions, therapeutic support and other activities

More of WLZ’s charity delivery partners have a comprehensive online offer than previously, including both our academic and therapeutic partners, so WLZ are able to offer more specialist support on top of Link Worker support than they could previously

The morale of WLZ delivery staff is good. Link Workers going into school having a strong sense of purpose and those supporting remotely being confident that they can make a difference having learnt from last lockdown

WLZ continue to help families to access food through schools’ voucher systems, supermarkets and food banks

While schools’ online learning offers have expanded and improved, the digital divide is a massive and growing barrier to children’s learning. There is an urgent need for laptops and devices for children to access online learning. WLZ are working with a number of companies to source reconditioned laptops for WLZ families greatly in need. If you can help WLZ to provide the 388 laptops families need, please get in touch

Louisa Mitchell, CEO, WLZ says:

“In addition to our adaptations to delivery, we have adjusted our data collection again, to ensure we continue to track our delivery and impact on the young people we work with. We have also stepped up internal communication, added additional supervision and management support, and created a calendar of wellbeing activities for the team to combat isolation and promote positive wellbeing.

“We are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support, which has enabled us to help our community during the pandemic. However, as we move into 2021, there are further challenges to face, and they are going to continue many months and years into the future.”

If you can support WLZ further or would like any more information about their work, please do not hesitate to contact Louisa Mitchell (lmitchell@westlondonzone.org) – www.westlondonzone.org and 020 7998 4044