The Christian peace-making charity CHIPS has launched an emergency response and crowdfund appeal to help Brixton’s vulnerable families and young people during the coronavirus crisis.
It will offer urgent practical and emotional support to struggling families and provide young people and schools with activities to support mental health and keep them connected to their community.
This will include:
- Listening, mentoring and support with employment, financial, emotional and other issues through regular phone check-ins.
- A programme of online activities to help young people combat isolation, including group challenges, fitness and creative activities developed in partnership with young people themselves.
- Practical help for families for their most urgent needs, from assistance with shopping and prescriptions to food and fuel top-ups when there is nobody else to help.
- A service to direct vulnerable people to the right places for specialist support from partner charities, community groups and local authority teams.
- Provision of resources to help young people continue their learning while schools are closed.
CHIPS is working closely with several other community organisations and with schools to maximise the reach and impact of the programme.
The charity will repurpose money from existing grants to fund it and has launched a public crowdfunding appeal for £10,000 to help make up the shortfall. Donations can be made online at crowdfunder.co.uk/brixtonresponse until the end of April. The appeal has already raised more than £1,000.
Paul Maxwell-Rose, co-director (programmes) at CHIPS, said the crisis is placing a strain on Brixton families “like never before”.
Every day charity staff are meeting “more parents who’ve lost their jobs, households struggling to afford the basics, young people feeling isolated and frustrated, and teachers concerned about the wellbeing of vulnerable students while schools are closed.
“That’s why we’re putting in place a programme of support to help struggling families to get back on track and young people stay connected, positive and healthy during a time of significant disruption to their development.
“As peacemakers, we’re truly inspired to see the huge outpouring of goodwill in our local community right now.
“So many people are pulling together, new partnerships are being forged and new volunteers are engaging for the first time.
“So, we’d ask our neighbours who are able to give generously to our appeal. Even a small donation will make a big difference to a vulnerable family or young person and could help them make it through this crisis. And together, we can help our community to build the strong relationships that it will need long after the crisis has gone.”
CHIPS youth worker Rishan Walker said: “The months ahead will be tough for everyone, but particularly so for those teenagers who lack strong family and community support networks during lockdown.
“I’m really excited about the ideas we’ve been developing with our local young people to help them stay connected and motivated, from online challenges to virtual fitness and dance sessions and creative activities.
“I’m confident this will support strong relationships, mental health and wellbeing and give Brixton’s vulnerable young people a real helping hand towards a positive future.”
CHIPS (Christian International Peacemaking Service) has been at the heart of conflicts from Brixton to Ghana for more than 50 years and has., the charity is invited to join communities and help build a sustainable future free from violence and division. Inspired by the life of Jesus, CHIPS believes that the best way to bring about lasting peace is to take sides.
CHIPS was first invited to Angell Town by the Reverend Les Isaac OBE, of the Ascension Trust – and the pioneer in Brixton in 2003 of the Street Pastors movement – to establish a peacemaking project in response to youth violence there.
It also backed Ashton Gibson and his organisation The Melting Pot, which provided hostels and counselling for young Black people in Brixton in the 1970s.