Project Update June 2021
Together In Isolation – playful support groups created between Curbs and the local church driven out of a response to the isolation brought on by Covid in carers and their pre-schoolers on estates.
Together In Isolation is up and running. Although, like most projects, we had a delayed start thanks to Covid, on the 21st April we were finally able to start our first group at St Etheldreda’s church in West London. It’s been wonderful to team up with St Eth’s to create our first group and see parents and children coming together after the numerous Covid lock-downs.
A volunteer from the church who has a heart for this type of ministry is leading the group alongside Curbs. She has been the key in reaching out to the families that the group could be of a support to.
Each week Curbs and St Eth’s creates a safe, friendly space for the group to meet where toys and crafts are laid out. Themes are followed each week where the focus is on the children and their world, focussing on the importance of who they are and what their world looks like around them. So far we have looked at; ‘hello, who are you?’ – creating paper dolls of ourselves, making name tags and dressing up; ‘what tastes good?’ – thinking about our favourite foods, making them in our play kitchen with playdough and drawing menus; ‘our house’ – creating big with colourful windows that we design and stick on. Each activity is very relaxed with the aim being the process not the product – it does not matter if the den gets immediately pulled down, or the paper doll only ends up with one eye, it is the process of the children creating and socialising together that is the important part of this project.
Half-way through each session there is snack time for both the children and the parents. Even though more of the focus is on the children in terms of structured resources, what is happening with the adults is just as important and the volunteer from the church has been very important in ensuring conversation is taking place, things that are going on in the families lives are remembered week to week and they are welcomed through the door no matter what their week has been like.
Our main challenge has been to make the group intentionally small as it would be very easy to open it out to a wider circle but the families we want to reach are those who would not voluntarily come along to a larger group.
We are very excited to start up our next group this coming week with another church in West London. The next group will follow the same structure to start with but we are happy to adapt this to suit the needs of the group as and when they arise. We look forward to seeing how the project continues to develop.