Many called COVID-19 ‘the great leveller’ but children’s charity Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) knew this could not be further from the truth.
The pandemic and resulting lockdown caused everyone huge concern, but for many vulnerable families it was just the start of their worries. With important support structures that provide food, childcare and emotional wellbeing affected, families were left without the critical support they rely on.
TLG acted quickly, along with its partner churches, to adapt its three programmes and ensure no child was left without vital support.
Andy’s family had no income so never knew where their next meal was coming from, until they were invited to TLG Make Lunch in Luton where they were fed hot and healthy meals and learned how to cook on a budget.
The family now volunteer at the club, to give back to the place that helped them so much.
TLG Education Centre staff, the teachers at TLG’s Alternative Provision schools for children at crisis point in their education, conducted lessons remotely and paid socially distant doorstep visits to ensure the physical, emotional and educational wellbeing of their students. TLG Early Intervention coaches, who support children with one-to-one coaching sessions for an hour every week, moved to virtual coaching sessions which included the children and their wider family. TLG Make Lunch clubs, a form of holiday provision, delivered ‘Boxes of Hope’ throughout the crisis – emergency care parcels full of food, essential items, activities and support.
One of the most significant consequences of this pandemic has been on mental and emotional health. In response to this, TLG has launched its brand new Emotional First Aid and Emotional Rollercoaster resources. These will equip churches up and down the country to know how to spot the signs of emotional distress in local families they are supporting and respond to them effectively.
Summer struggled to follow instructions and so would become angry, no knowing how to express her frustrations.
Every week during lockdown, Summer’s Early Intervention coach Ryan would phone the family, partaking in activities that helped Summer learn how to express her feelings. Summer is now a lot calmer and able to manage her emotions.
COVID-19 has had a particularly disproportionate impact on the UK’s black community. This, along with the unjust killing of George Floyd and the shocking statistics that Black Caribbean children are twice as likely to be permanently excluded than their white counterparts, has raised awareness about the racial inequalities that are entrenched in our society.
Traumatised and unable to express his emotions after losing a close friend in the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, Troy struggled in mainstream school and was referred to TLG’s Education Centre in Lewisham.
The staff showed him unconditional love and helped him process what had happened, as well as supporting him academically.
Leaders at TLG are all too aware that they need to not just help the children but also stand up to these injustices. That is why TLG is teaming up with both the New Testament Church of God and the One People Commission to campaign for the school curriculum to fully reflect today’s multi-cultural society.