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iiChild supports Brandon Estate children with computers, food parcels and activity packs during lockdown

Since the end of April a community project working in the Brandon Estate and surrounding area has delivered food parcels to 79 adults and 76 children, along with activity packs to help keep them entertained and busy during lockdown.

“We have found many families do not have a tablet or laptop at home for the children to complete their homework or access information online,” says Elaine Joseph, iiChild’s founder.

“Another point is that with the children staying at home longer than usual the use of gas and electricity has risen dramatically for some families.

“One family with three children ran out of gas and electricity so we have supported them until their Universal Credit allowance resumes.”

Grant funding only covers a small proportion of iiChild’s cost.  As the lockdown is lifted Elaine is also focused on finding opportunities for young people whether through work experience, training or mentorship.

In the immediate term is looking for three tablets for families without computers, and arts and crafts materials for around 200 children in the Brandon Estate and nearby.

Longer term, they hope to find a a large hall in Southwark they can use for holiday camps in July and August. These will be run in a slightly different way than usual to follow social distancing rules.

iiChild runs holiday camps throughout the summer break for children and young people aged five to nineteen from Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm.

Their approach is based on supporting them to reach developmental milestones as youngsters, and then provide work experience and skills training for older teens.

Elaine hopes volunteers will come forward who can teach and offer advice on getting into careers with Adobe photoshop, marketing, filming, radio, television and architecture – all areas teens have expressed interest in.

She also had a message for those continuing to make their work possible despite the challenges of COVID-19: “I would like to thank Jack and Pelier Hall TRA for the use of their building to deliver food, Nicole Smith for delivering the food parcels, and Holly, aged fifteen, who is one of our young people who helps with packing the parcels each week.”

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