How Empower– Be The Change are adapting to COVID-19

We are proud to see how the thousands of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations funded by The National Lottery Community Fund are adapting their services to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recently spoke toEmpower – Be The Change based in Wrexham. Working in partnership with local organisations they adapted their work to go online to continue supporting the needs of their community.We spoke to Jo Clay, Director at Empower Be The Change to find outmore: 

Getting online

“Empower – Be The Change is an award winning social enterprise delivering personal and professional development courses, with Institute of Leadership and Management accredited qualifications and mentoring. We empower people and teams to build positive mental resilience, fully realise their self-worth and achieve their potential!

Usually, we deliver our courses in classroom settings in community buildings across North Wales.  People from a range of backgrounds come together and are encouraged in a safe environment to discover their skills, strengths and how they can use these to take positive actions to transform their lives. 

Young people doing team-building activities

The lockdown put an immediate halt to any course delivery in this way. Within days of lockdown measures being put in place our team created a new online mentoring service that could go some way to supporting people through this pandemic.

We’ve been adapting to replicate classroom-based courses to be delivered online. This new service will continue to be on offer after lockdown through Empower – Be The Change, which will enable us to offer this service across the UK and beyond. The new service has been very easy to set up as we’re using the technology that’s readily available to us and the existing expertise of the team.

Adapting to the ‘new world’

In partnership with Sported, Social Business Wales and AVOW we identified peoples’ anxiety and mental health were being adversely affected by the new lockdown measures. 

It quickly became apparent people were struggling to adapt to this ‘new world’ and struggled to know how to adapt.

In April we were delighted to hear from The National Lottery Community Fund that we’d successfully secured £30,000 to roll out this service to community group leaders. This new service is an adaptation of the 1-1 programme that we were running pre-lockdown. It aims to help people navigate their way through this pandemic by identifying the skills, strengths and opportunities they have available.

We started our new way of delivering the 1-1 programme on May 4th and a week later we had 20 people signed up. The ambition is that over the next few months more than 120 people will benefit from three personal mentoring sessions. We’re going to be making sure to monitor everyone’s progress as well as measure the social return on investment through this way of working too.

The current situation isn’t easy for people but we’ve adapted our way of working to make sure that we can still help people to take back control of what they want as well as to improve their mental wellbeing.

Thinking about the future

I think the current situation is making people, and organisations as a whole, think more objectively and creatively about how they can support their communities and the people that live in them. Lockdown has meant that groups of all shapes and sizes have had to drastically adapt their way of working in a very short space of time, often with limited resources, but I think it’s helping people work out how they can do things differently.

I would like to give a huge thanks to my team members Rhiannon and Dawn. They have been extremely adaptable and creative during this unprecedented time and have worked hard to get this new service set up extremely quickly. On behalf of the team and board we would also like to thank The National Lottery Community Fund for their on-going support and for investing in this new service.

There are so many organisations doing great work and this is having a positive and lasting impact on the communities they support. Now is a great opportunity to take a step back and reflect on what is important and for organisations to be creative in how they can use their existing skills and expertise to best support their communities.”

If you would like to find our more about Empower- Be The Change, visit their website

The additional funding received by Empower- Be The Change is part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to prioritising applications for COVID-19 related activity. To fund out more about our response and what funding we have available, visit our website.

The photos provided by Empower – Be The Change were taken before bringing in social distancing guidance.

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