Social connections are more important than ever at this time and people across the world are turning to technology to help them through the current crisis.
Video chats on platforms such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype and Facebook Live have never been so popular as we all look to connect while stuck indoors.
Thousands of fantastic charities across Britain act as hubs for their communities throughout the year to build connections and stay in touch.
So now many of them are going online to continue their vital work keeping the most vulnerable people in society connected.
Funds raised through The Health Lottery have long been used to help some of those most at risk from the virus right now.
Here we look at four wonderful charities who come up with fun and innovative new ideas to support people…
Skype comedy classes
Headspace Bolton provides stand-up comedy training sessions led by comedy professionals for people affected by mental health issues.
The project aims to use humour to reduce the stigma and discrimination towards people with mental ill-health and improve opportunities for employment in the arts sector.
To get around the self-isolation rules, the group are using Skype to run online podcasting, scriptwriting and comedy writing courses for members.
English lessons over Whatsapp
English for Action London is a project that provides free English lessons to adult migrants who live in in Tower Hamlets .
Due to COVID-19, the group are experimenting with teaching via Skype and Whatsapp and are encouraging educators to share notes and teaching guides.
Project members have also started calling round the students to check in with them and dropping groceries off to people who are self-isolating.
Facebook Live choir sessions – with 4,000 people watching
The Rogues Shanty Chorus, from the Voice cLoud, is a local charity which aims to encourage interest in Suffolk’s unique coastal, cultural and musical heritage by exploring folk music and its associated traditions created by fishing communities.
The project holds music sessions for parents of children in their early years, extra-curricular music workshops for young people, and a choir for local people.
Although unable to meet as many of their members are within the vulnerable criteria, the group were determined that those who viewed the choir as a lifeline, wouldn’t go without. So they’ve been hosting singalongs over Facebook live, with over 4000 people watching.
‘Shed Happens’ show for ‘Shedders’
Men and women of all ages can access the Men’s Shed and She-Shed projects which involve bringing people together for a range of activities that involve conversation, craft and mutual support as well as more unusual activities such as wood turning, use of power equipment, novel crafts and outward community engagement .
Staithes Shed had to close on 16th March but members have been keeping in touch via live video chats and some have even made their sheds available to help the community in any safe way, including erecting a cover at a surgery to protect those collecting prescriptions through a side window.
Project Co-Ordinator Graham Storer said: “The essence of Sheds is not what is made or done. It is the comradeship and family feel. That must/will continue mainly through our online presence and electronically. We encourage our Shedders to keep on doing what they can at home (birdboxes was a recent call on us) and wave to other locked down souls across the street! Sheds are people.”
The UK Men’s Shed Association has also started a weekly two hour programme on Wednesdays 10am – noon called “Shed Happens” using Frome 96.6FM which fans can access via the internet.
Help tackle health inequalities in Great Britain by playing The Health Lottery
The Health Lottery ’s main draw offers a £25k jackpot (Tuesday – Saturday) and players who buy a ticket for a Wednesday or Saturday main draw are automatically entered into a free draw for a £100k jackpot on those days.
Tickets are just £1 and 20% goes to charities that fight health inequality in GB.
You can also play online scratchcard games where players can win money instantly and QuickWin where there’s £25k up for grabs every three minutes.
The COVID-19 health pandemic that we’re currently facing is a once-in-a-generation event for all of us. None of us could have fully prepared for the scope of what we’re experiencing.
You can support the most disadvantaged members of our community – like those featured above – by playing The Health Lottery.
You must be 16 or over to play the Health Lottery or claim a prize. Terms and conditions apply to all Health Lottery Games . BeGambleAware.org
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