28 May 2020

The spread of Coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic has forced charities to change the way they operate, and many have been forced to temporarily stop the services they offer. Here at YMCA Newcastle we have been striving to adapt our service offering to ensure we can continue to support young people throughout the pandemic; we have launched a new youth services website, SPACE2…CONNECT, many of our groups have moved online and onto social media and we have been delivering meals and activity packs to vulnerable members of the community, ensuring to always follow Government social distancing guidelines.
Over the last 3 weeks 8 staff from Commercial Maintenance Services (CMS) UK Ltd. who are on furlough leave have been volunteering to help a YMCA Newcastle to overcome some of the challenges that have occurred because of the Covid-19 pandemic. CMS allowed the volunteers to use their vehicles, tools and equipment to undertake 2 projects.
YMCA Newcastle runs Holly Hill Nursery in Felling, Gateshead. The CMS volunteers have helped us make physical changes to the nursery so that we can make the nursery a safer place for our children. They have installed new sinks for the children in the classrooms so the children can wash their hands frequently without moving around the building, new easy use taps in the main toilets, new easier to clean work surfaces in the classrooms and they have installed a new kitchen to reduce the need for staff to move around the building. These adaptations will help to make the nursery a safer environment for our children, staff and parents when children of non-key workers return.
YMCA Newcastle has also had to change the way it delivers its youth support services as many the buildings we use are too small to follow correct social distancing guidelines. CMS volunteers have started the work required to convert our youth centre on Welbeck Road in Walker into a 6 bedroom house, which will be used to provide good quality supported housing to young people. Our youth centre will be relocated to our Walker Park Centre where social distancing guidelines can be adhered to.
By providing skilled volunteers for 3 weeks, CMS have reduced the costs to the charity of making the changes we must make to keep the people who use our services safe over the coming months. Without their help we would have had to divert our funds away from supporting those in greatest need of our support right now.
We are very grateful to everyone at Commercial Maintenance Services and the volunteers and are looking forward to reopening our services next week.