A County Durham learning service has adapted during the coronavirus outbreak to continue to reach hundreds of adults and children. The home delivery of learning packages means that, to date, 274 adults and 414 children have continued to engage with East Durham Trust, which delivers community learning on behalf of our Adult Learning Skills Service. As well as helping families and individuals develop new skills and enjoy learning together, the packages also include a meal.
The sessions target vulnerable families and are usually delivered throughout the school holidays, when school meals have previously not been available.
The coronavirus outbreak put a hold on classroom activities and communal meals. However, with more vulnerable families needing extra help, new ways of providing services and reaching the community have been introduced.
Home deliveries have seen families receive arts and crafts learning packs with accompanying resources and information, such as rainbow mosaic making and bunting in celebration of VE day. To ensure learners can do activities without the help of tutors, special instructions have been provided, and activities matched to their needs.
Debbie Watson was referred to the project by a Durham County Council One Point family worker. A single parent of two children, aged 11 and 13, she received an activity pack that the whole family could get involved with. Debbie said: "We enjoyed participating in the learning activity as a family and it provided a good opportunity to do something positive together during this period of uncertainty. "Once lockdown is over, and some type of normality resumes, I would like to learn some more new skills including sign language. I also would like to take part in a walk leader course and volunteer in the local community." As well as activity packs, the service has been providing a meal of pie, peas and potatoes, along with cake for dessert. A total of 688 meals have been delivered so far.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children's and young people's services, said: "We are so pleased that families and individuals can continue to grow in skills and in confidence despite the unfortunate circumstances the pandemic has presented us with. Whilst face to face interaction cannot be replaced, the home deliveries are helping us all stay connected and keep learning."
East Durham Trust
T: 0191 5693511