Supporting Falkirk Schools at Easter
Falkirk Community Trust, through Active Schools, Sports Development, Arts and Library teams have helped to provide activities to children of front line family workers who had attended one of the 8 Key workers Childcare Hubs throughout the Easter holidays. The number of children attending these community Hubs varied on a daily basis and typically the number of pupils varied from between 5 – 25 depending on the venue. The age range also changed daily but for the most part the pupils that or teams have been working with are between 4 – 13 year olds.
We have been able to provide a wide variety of fun, sports and physical activity as well as music, drama, arts and craft to name some of the activities, all the while these activities have been delivered whilst adhering to the social distancing guidelines laid down by the government.
Our enthusiastic and professional staff have been delighted to support the teaching staff who are already working with these children and have really enjoyed being able to provide some new and entertaining activities for these pupils throughout the holidays.
Our Libraries are so much more than a place to choose a book!
In addition to supporting local schools, over the last couple of months our Library Services have expanded their online offer of e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines. Through national partnerships, we have succeeded in attracting new free digital offers such as Ancestry to encourage people to take up genealogy. Additionally we’ve been using our blog to share what staff have been doing at home e.g. crafts.
Claire Davis, our Care Words Co-ordinator has been keeping in touch with the care homes by making videos for them to watch and discuss, including one she did about the peace garden near her home for VE day.
We have also been keeping in touch with our Home Library Service users – who are most in danger of isolation. We’ve been having a chat with them and, where necessary, signposting them to other agencies when they need help. This have been an absolute life line as most of these customers have no digital access. We’ve also provided withdrawn books to support the Community Hub being run by Stenhousemuir Football Club, so they can give out books as well as food parcels.
Externally Funded Programmes
Sportscotland is the main funding partner for both the Active Schools and Community Sport Hub with FCT supporting both and Falkirk Council supporting Active Schools. Both national projects have just entered the second year of a 4 year funding agreement.
#WeAreHere – The Active Schools and Community Sports Hub staff continue to work hard to provide support and guidance during this period of lockdown. The team have embraced the virtual way of working and have been delighted to be able to continue providing support during this period. With the entire team completing a Mental Health awareness course during lockdown. They have been very active on social media, producing challenges and highlighting suitable online resources for parents to keep children active.
As schools adapt to the new way of working the team are supporting several schools run ‘Health Weeks at Home’ and ‘Virtual Sports Days’. They have been providing support and reassurance to partner clubs and directing them to volunteering and funding opportunities.
Our Youth Music Initiative (YMI) is externally funded, year on year, by Creative Scotland. Ordinarily, the programme provides music activity for children and young people in nurseries, primary schools and after school hours. Since lockdown, the YMI team have moved quickly to ensure that where feasible regular contact with pupils has been maintained.
For school hours activity, direct contact has mainly been through providing music activity in schools for the children of key workers during the Easter school holidays. For our out of schools YMI activity – the Trad project (for pupils P4-S6), tutors have been working with parents/carers and pupils to set up weekly on line music tuition in order to continue the pupils’ learning in their chosen instrument. In addition, as with many other service areas, the team have also been establishing their social media presence to keep pupils, unable to access classroom activity, engaged in music.
They have been producing short films (Music Slice) offering opportunities for participants and the wider public to find out more about the tutors and the YMI programme. As lockdown continues, all our YMI tutors are involved in developing and delivering music resource learning packs, on line backing tracks and links to music activities for our YMI pupils to work through.
Our parks – a place to exercise now and always
Falkirk Community Trust looks after Callendar Park, The Helix Park, Kinneil Estate and Muiravonside Country Park and our staff are maintaining these spaces so they are safe for everyone to visit. During lockdown parks are one of the few community resources still available to people of Falkirk.
The weather has been glorious and the community have been out daily taking exercise in line with the guidance from the Scottish government. We know that access to parks is good for our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as being fantastic spaces for wildlife, an important resource to mitigate the impacts of climate change and beneficial to the economy of the local area.
While the pandemic has had an enormous impact on our visitor numbers and income, we are in no doubt that our internationally renowned attraction will be a popular destination again once social distancing measures have eased..