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There With You: Dagenham youth centre supporting members through pandemic

PUBLISHED: 12:37 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:37 29 April 2020

Future Youth Zone can't provide its usual activities during the pandemic but is supporting members in different ways. Picture: Ken Mears

Future Youth Zone can't provide its usual activities during the pandemic but is supporting members in different ways. Picture: Ken Mears

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A Dagenham youth centre is continuing to support its members through lockdown with online sessions and family challenges to complete at home.

Future Youth Zone, on the edge of Parsloes Park, is unable to hold its regular activities due to social distancing restrictions, so staff have been forced to change the way they work.

A Future spokeswoman explained that the centre had been collaborating with partners to see how staff can keep young people active and engaged during the lockdown.

They have called 200 members in the space of a week to check in on them and find out how they can be helped during the pandemic.

“We have started running some of our sessions via Zoom with groups of young people taking part and our youth workers hosting it,” she said. “This has worked really well and we are hoping to grow this further over the next few weeks.”

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The online sessions range from cake baking to chats with the East Area police gangs unit, the latter part of an ongoing project to 
build a positive relationship between officers and young people.

The spokeswoman added: “We have been busy creating lots of exciting and entertaining challenges and quizzes for young people and their families to do from home.

“We are doing lots of online live streaming, on our social media, with our staff members who have been able to engage with young people through this as well as teach them something new.” Future has also become a trusted partner of the BD Can initiative, which is being run by the council to support vulnerable people in the community.

It operates as a food distribution hub.

The spokeswoman said: “We have a team of Future staff members and volunteers all working hard to put together food packages and get these delivered to those in need.

“Some of the people we have delivered food to have been members of Future which has been great, we get to check in on them but also help the family with anything they might need.”

So far, the centre has delivered almost 100 packages of food and medication to those in need, with that number set to increase as the lockdown continues.


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