Lockdown Round-Up

Life at Sanctuary in Chichester has been busier than ever during lockdown! We’re all working from home, but our dedicated volunteers have been making sure everybody stays connected.

We want to say a massive thank you to our volunteers who have put in so much time and care since lockdown, to make sure nobody is feeling isolated and that everyone has enough contact, help, language lessons, IT support (in Arabic), counselling, school work support, toys, children’s books and groceries. Many of our volunteers are also regular donors, so we want to say a double-huge-thank you to them as well!

We have lively weekly Zoom video conference calls for the children – ZOOM INs – full of activities designed and led by the children, volunteers and parents. They do show and tell, songs, quizzes, spelling, reading aloud, crafts and dances together. It’s such a great success with the kids, we’ll carry this on indefinitely. Thank-you to our ZOOM IN team for making the calls happen and be fantastic! Our 10th ZOOM IN was celebrated on Friday 12 June – the above image was a beautiful thank you card from one of the children.

After getting permission from the children and their families, we shared photos of ZOOM INs with some of our treasured Children’s Corner volunteers, who we and the children normally see every week at the drop-in, but who have been unable to join us remotely during lockdown. This was really touching and helped everyone feel connected.

Tony our Chair has been working hard on fundraising, which has helped us be able to be responsive to any needs that arise – he secured grants to buy new tablets for those families who didn’t have any kind of computer, and the tablets were delivered two weeks after the start of lockdown. This has made language learning and school work support during video calls possible.

Our Founder Roger Pask has been dedicating much of his time to helping a young family from Afghanistan in numerous ways, including support with a successful visa application (that took many years) and an appeal to get carpets and furnishings for the family’s completely empty flat. The incredible response to the appeal meant that all the much-needed furniture, white goods, curtains and carpets were either supplied by donors or paid for by donations. Now the couple and their baby can begin to make a real home here.

Other volunteers have donated and delivered all sorts of things during lockdown, including Halal meat to celebrate Eid for every Muslim family in Chichester and the surrounding area, children’s books, toys and even a computer. We’ve also linked up with other local groups – parish councils and the Chichester Food Bank – to arrange food deliveries.

The Article 12 art project for the young refugees and asylum seekers in our area has moved online and has evolved into an ongoing creative programme.

We’re very grateful for our whole Sanctuary in Chi community, including those we support, our volunteers, supporters, trustees, donors and the other organisations we work with. We’ve really felt the love, care and compassion from the whole community during lockdown ❤.

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