Our Roots Inner City Lives

Our Roots Inner City Lives

Our Roots Inner City Lives is an organisation offering youth services for young people in the inner city of Wakefield. Our Roots Inner City Lives offers recreational and instructional activities in Wakefield.

When Covid-19 struck, we acted quickly to support children and young people via an online platform. We contacted parents of the young people that we support and set up regular Zoom meetings, offering educational sessions as well as fun activities such as quizzes.

Local parents were worried that their children were missing school and learning, so we began to offer maths, science and English sessions and then P.E also. Around Eastmoor we have lots of contact with the BAME community; we provided support with the language barrier. Our Roots helped to translate guidance to make sure that everyone knew the latest updates and rules during Lockdown etc and helped with signposting around Wakefield to places that could provide support for the families.

I am most proud of the online activity sessions that we set up with the children and young people. They want these sessions to continue and have found them extremely educational and fun. Word quickly spread about the support we were providing, and we soon had families reaching out to us from places like York, Leeds, Birmingham and Redding, asking if they could join the sessions. It has helped the children and young people to make new friends and enjoy themselves during a difficult time. We also started to teach the History of Africa, we made the lessons personal, so that the children were learning about their ancestors and their family tribes. We have even done sessions about respecting our communities and health.

We always teach the young people about bringing down their sugar intake, which they respond well to and regularly keep us updated about how they have made healthier choices. It is now an ongoing competition, whereby the weekly winner takes home a medal.

We knew what help people needed because we quickly got in contact with families. Providing translated forms for families to fill out, asking what help and support we could provide to them. We used our regular contacts and feedback from parents of the group. The local children need community groups to gain the confidence and skills to practise the English language and support each other in learning it- we ensured that this continued throughout the Lockdown period.

Going forward, we will continue to support both online and in face to face sessions following the current Government guidance. We have recently started a few outside activities with social distancing and hand sanitizing etc in place. The under 12 group are extremely happy to be back outside playing football in the park again. We also learn from other local groups and organisations and how they have responded to help communities during this time and going forward. Before Lockdown, the BBC were recording some of our sessions, as we were running swimming, boxing, running and basketball sessions with over 50+ young people involved; we hope that we can resume these again when it is safe to do so.

Kebba Manneh