In the build up to the Kent Charity Awards entry deadline of 12 April, we asked our 2019 winners how they have coped during the past 11 months.
First up is our 2019 Children’s Charity of the Year winner, the fantastic Maidstone based The Young Lives Foundation. YLF provides mentors, friends and resources to motivate, inspire and encourage young people in need; thereby building resilient young people, who enjoy new experiences, gain new skills and have the opportunity to improve and maximise their potential in life.
Q: How has your charity adapted to the current pandemic?
We have been able to continue the support and deliver all the services the charity provides during 2020 even under very difficult circumstances. We are really proud to have maintained our key work services throughout this time and we are incredibly proud of our staff and volunteers who have been on the frontline supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic. We have also learnt new and innovative ways of communicating with young people. We have needed to move some support into the virtual world which has been a new challenge for us and the young people we support. Staff, volunteers and young people have adapted well to the restrictions and we are all proud as a Charity to have still maintained the level of support that we have done throughout 2020 in turn supporting many families and young people in Kent with care packages and food parcels. I am pleased to say that we were able to deliver over 2000 Christmas boxes to care leavers across Kent over Christmas. We did this with the support of staff, volunteers and great supporters.
Q: With the absence of face to face fundraising events how have your managed to fundraise?
We have expanded our online fundraising strategy and our bid writing has increased, taking advantage of Covid related grants and this has proved successful. Supporters of all kinds, businesses and individuals alike, have also fundraised online and this has really made a difference in the absence of events. We have had more individuals fundraising for us during 2020 and this we believe is going to carry on and grow over the coming months with proof that already emerging. New ideas have been explored and we will be taking these ideas forward when life starts to resume back to some sort of normality.
Q: When the UK returns to a new normal what will be the first thing your charity does?
Well for some our staff and volunteers we have carried on regardless – so one of things we would like to do is come together as a charity and show our gratitude to these amazing people. We will also be knocking on the doors and visiting the young people we may not have seen as much of (except through a PC Screen) and enjoying their company. We are experiencing increases in demand around youth mental health so have prepared to offer more support in schools and the community to meet this demand. Finally, we will be really excited to resume our Legends Youth Work programme and have some very ambitious plans for the young people who missed out on so much last year – we will be making up for lost time for sure!
Q Will you be entering the Kent Charity Awards this year?
Yes – we have some amazing volunteers who have shown the most incredible dedication as key workers – so many who deserve recognition for what they have achieved in the most challenging circumstances.
How to enter
Entries into the 2021 Kent Charity Awards will close on 12 April 2021. If you know of a charity that you think should be entering these prestigious awards, please ask them to get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or download the entry form here.