SkyWay in the Community: A New Focus

Portrait of Fiona Fay
Written by Fiona Fay on May 28th, 2021
SkyWay's Community Development Manager

It’s been one heck of a year for us all with so many endings, confusion and uncertainty. A year in which adapting to a new world has not been easy for the most of us. This is the reason why, for all of us here at SkyWay Charity, serving our community is now more crucial than ever.

New Beginnings

During the national lockdown we went from providing essential care packages to 20 families a week at the start, to over 153 families come the end. During this process, we were able to quickly identify members of our community that could benefit from other services we had to offer. We created a community WhatsApp group which started with 20 participants. By the end of it all, we had 4 different groups, with a total of 134 participants, all taking part in at least one of our services.

“I believe this service at the Blue Hut has been very useful to me and my family because it’s helping us to survive the coronavirus pandemic in different ways. It allowed us to obtain food to keep going during these difficult times. It is very difficult to obtain food online which you have to wait weeks for a delivery. Furthermore I have a 7 months old baby and I cannot go to the supermarket and be waiting in long queues with my little girl. That will put her and me at risk.”
– Begona, Community Member

Communication is KEY!

As well as regular phone calls we began to use these WhatsApp groups to communicate regularly with our community. This was done by sending out vital information during the pandemic, as well as motivational messages to lift everyone’s spirits during hard times. We also made sure to check in on everyone’s mental wellbeing, by asking them how they were, and letting them know that they could request a call, or message privately for a chat or to seek advice if needed. In the end, the groups became so busy we had to create additional groups and put people into more specific ones such as our ‘Family Group’ – which is for our members with school age children – and our ‘Turkish Community Group’ – where we have a translator in the group who helps with the language barrier.

“I am so thankful for being a part of SkyWay and their supporting network. It is so great and all the team are very friendly and helpful to us all.”
– Sangeeta, Community Member

ENgagement

With most of the group members living near each other in the community, people quickly started to form healthy relationships as part of the groups. Community members started sharing information and ideas, and also using the groups to donate children’s clothing and toys. With the groups becoming so active, we used this opportunity to set challenges for those who wanted to take part. These challenges were a way to boost morale and give the families something to look forward to while many were still having to self-isolate and shelter during the pandemic.

Our first challenge was the Weekend Meal Challenge, where all families with children received an extra bag of groceries during one of our essential care packages pick up days; they also received a recipe card for a main meal and dessert. Those families who made the meal at the weekend and sent photos to the WhatsApp group were then given a prize, and we promoted them – and their tasty meals – on our social media platforms.

Young girl eating a meal that she's prepared as part of the weekend meal challenge

These noodles look delicious if we do say so ourselves! #weekendmealchallenge

This was a great hit – and with the success of the first, we had to continue with other challenges which soon turned it into a monthly event. Our challenges were based on significant celebrations including Mother’s Day – where the community members did a self-love challenge (all participants received a personalised Mother’s Day chocolate box, with the winner receiving a luxury beauty hamper), and a reading challenge for World Book Day – where 300 FREE books were given out to members of the community.

Even Spiderman decided to turn up to the World Book Challenge

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from our families and community members. We now have a strong team of Community Champions who started off using our services and now want to give back by volunteering their time at SkyWay.

Claudia, one of our Community Champions

Claudia lives in the local community and became known to SkyWay when she attended our Christmas grotto in 2019. She then found out about our lunch club and started attending each week before the pandemic. Claudia has benefitted from essential care packages, coaching and our online services. She is now a very much valued Community Champion and helps deliver our women-only brisk walking club.

As they continue working with and alongside us, we aim to develop our volunteers by working closely with them to reach their personal goals while encouraging others in the local community to do so as well.

To see our full list of community activities, check out our Community Timetable.

For more information on our community projects please contact Fiona on:

Email: fiona@skyway.london
Phone: 07741 900 112