Who knew that Zoom would become such an integral part of life! Meetings, Training, Counselling sessions- what would we have done in 2020 without it?!
At the very beginning of the Pandemic in March 2020 Knowle West Health Association set about implementing an adapted approach to our services.
Normally we have members of the Community accessing the lovely outdoor space at the allotment site , enjoying the mental and physical health benefits of being outdoors. Normally we have a vibrant Kitchen with 6-8 participants at a time from Primary school age to Golden age! Normally we are seeing Counselling Clients 12 people per day in person! This all had to adapt very quickly.
The Friendship group and Footcare has sadly been on pause as the most vulnerable age group and we look forward to a big welcome back at some point we hope in the next few months once we have confirmation from the government that it is safe.
The Allotment is outdoors so some 1:1 work as well as food growing has been able to continue and the team were able to deliver fresh produce to our most isolated members. The Allotment is a huge part of the outdoor space element of nurturing mental health and community involvement.
The Community Kitchen responded by using their time and resources to contribute t the feeding Bristol initiative though Knowle West Alliance and Sarah Our Kitchen Tutor has been instrumental in preparing 40-50 meals a week for the community. We were able to start some 1:1 kitchen work in the summer/Autumn of 2020 but this has to pause again once the tougher winter lockdown came back in. Our Kitchen classes are usually in high demand so we look forward to hopefully having our groups back soon.
The Free as long as needed counselling service is a core project. The team adapted quickly to offer their existing clients a remote option to continue therapy so they could be safely held during the pandemic. This was by way of either phone or Zoom counselling sessions. Counsellors were given a new policy and training to equip them for remote counselling and it has been a huge success during the toughest time for Volunteers and client. We were able to offer extra CPD to volunteers and in particular looked at unintentional racism in counselling as well as Christmas time potential experience of grief, trauma, loss and isolation considerations for our clients in a tough year.
Over the summer of 2020 we increased our services as a response to the need in the community and saw 56 people per week across our Counselling Volunteer team.
We are all looking forward to welcoming our in person elements back hopefully in the not too distant future.
KWHA in the media
Volunteering at the Allotment
In February a group of Occupational Therapy students from the University of the West of England help us get the beds ready for crop sowing. Twenty four students from this course helped us over 4 days and what a welcome support they have been in getting us ready for the busy growing season
TURNING NORMAL INTO SPECIAL
In a normal year the produce from the Knowle West Health Association “Let’s Grow” Allotment would be used for cookery classes at our Community Kitchen and sold to outlets in Filwood for local residents.
But, just as the growing season had got well underway last spring, these usual avenues ground to a halt as the pandemic overtook us all. In just a few weeks, however, the Feeding Bristol initiative came on to the radar and no sooner done, than Sarah our Cookery Tutor was baking up to 50 meals per week ready for collection and distribution to isolated folk in various parts of the city.
And now, one year further on, meals for Feeding Bristol are still in weekly production but with real light at the end of the tunnel we are expecting cookery classes to resume in June/July and for hundreds of little seedlings to be fully grown into fresh vegetables in our kitchen and finding their way into the homes of Filwood residents.
Sad Farewell-Graham Blacker
We have an exciting new project underway! Working in collaboration with local youth groups, we plan to set up a woodland space in our allotment suitable for Forest School sessions and other therapeutic nature activities. Through this project we aim to support young people who are struggling with their mental health. We hope to do this by helping them to form connections with each other and with nature. For more details and to help support this project, please click the link below to our funding page. We are hugely grateful for any support!
With thanks and we hope your are all keeping safe and well!
Knowle West Health Association Counselling Service Update:
Another project that is needed now more than ever is our FREE counselling service. We have been able to continue this service remotely with our fantastic volunteers. The counselling service started in 2015 when our Manager Rhianan set up the service as a placement starting with no funding -1 counsellor and 3 clients! This has now grown to 12 counsellors seeing 3 clients each a week- completely free and long term rather than a few weeks. All our counsellors are volunteers and either qualified or students on placement and are all still ethically continuing conducting their weekly client sessions by phone or Zoom.
We do have a waiting list but please do send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call/text: 07340 079316 if you wish to be added to it.
Rachel our wonderful Counselling Coordinator will assist with your queries.
We hope you are all keeping safe and well,
From us all at KWHA
Statement from Knowle West Health Association:
We are sad to announce that we will be temporarily putting all our groups on hold until further notice due to the Coronavirus official advice from the government this week. we have also made the difficult move to close the office and work from home to do our part to social distance. There will be attendance by a few staff members on a weekly basis to check messages , emails and to contact our most vulnerable to check in. While this is a time to social distance as a life saving measure for those most vulnerable in society we also want to be able to serve the community, so we have been able to continue the counselling service by telephone/Skype which is so important at such a challenging time for those with depression and isolation already. We will also be ensuring the most vulnerable among those we engage with in our groups are supported. We want to also work with our neighbouring organisations to offer support and will do this to the best of our capacity. For now we would like to say – stay safe, and take care of those you have around you that are most in need, we all need to pick up a dust pan and brush each and do what we can but also not burn out as this will be a marathon and not a race and we must all preserve energy between us. One thing that can manifest from the fear and panic and overload of information is the sharing of unconfirmed medical advice. It is well meant but please ensure that whatever you share is official guidance so we can be helpful not harmful. For any enquiries over the coming weeks please email email@example.com or call 01179639569 and we will pick up messages and get back to you as soon as possible. Wishing you care and safety until we are all back on track again- which we will be.
Rhianan Lowes – Manager , Knowle West Health Association
Welcome to the Knowle West Health Association website.
We are a voluntary organisation working to promote, protect and preserve good health and wellbeing in and around Knowle West.
We offer a range of projects and services to support physical and mental well being, these are primarily plot to plate healthy eating with food grown at our allotment and cooked up in cookery sessions in our community kitchen. We also provide a free counselling service – please browse around this site to find more details.
With Thanks to our funders;
- Tudor Trust
- Henry Smith
- John James
- Van Neste Foundation
- Merchant Venturers
- Bristol City Council