Easing out of lockdown and supporting our communities

Easing out of lockdown and supporting our communities 

Although lockdown measures due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) are no longer in place in Leeds, there’s still some government restrictions and guidelines on how we now navigate our day-to-day lives. It’s still vital to look after our mental wellbeing and maintain community spirit during this time. Thankfully, here at Space2 we’ve managed to sustain our work with local communities, with men’s groups, zoom sessions, and creative wellbeing packs amongst other things still underway! 

Our popular ‘Get Moving’ Tuesday class has continued throughout the pandemic online, and is recorded for those who feel more comfortable exercising alone or who can’t make the session time. As one participant said 'I am really enjoying the classes on Zoom. Half an hour is just the right time for me. It has really helped me to stay focused in lockdown, as it has given me something to look forward to each week. I really enjoy seeing the attendees, the support and energy given by the instructor and her friendly smiling face'. Despite newer more relaxed rules, time at home has become more and more the norm. Exercise sessions such as these are vital during this time. Not only do they keep participants physically active in a friendly, low-pressure environment, they’re a great way to create a sense of routine and to get socialising too. 

Our long-running Meanwood Men's Group has also moved online! It's a great start to the week for the men who join us at 12 noon every Monday. Lawrence, who facilitates the group, says, 'The group has developed while we have been in lockdown and we have definitely found out so much more about each other through the games and activities we have been enjoying. It has been great that one of our regular participants can now use an iPad to join in, another calls in to access the group and we have just welcomed a new man into the group, too'. 

 We are committed to continuing to engage with our communities via our online presence, and we launched a Therapeutic Clay Session on the 13th August. The guided art session with our community development worker Sally was open to all abilities and we offered free clay for the session. We also had a Yoga at your Desk Facebook Live session with our Yoga teacher Camille, full of gentle, easy to follow exercises to show your back, neck and shoulders some much needed love. 

Despite recent measures there’s still been some moving and shaking up of things in our local communities and people are as enthusiastic as ever to get stuck in. The St. Luke’s Community group is part of our  long-running Fork to Fork project, a gardening and cultivation project that creates community gardens across East Leeds. Although Space2 have been facilitating the use of St. Luke’s Community garden, Swarcliffe, St Luke’s Community Group are now taking on this responsibility  as  a proudly self-led independent group. They are now able to take on the booking of the hall, the use of the garden space, making general wider management decisions and of course continuing to meet every Tuesday and Thursday for a good natter and a cup of tea!  

We have also recently extended the work we do for the Leeds Cares Volunteering Scheme, which co-ordinates volunteers with recipients in the city. Space2, in partnership with The Old Fire Station, Zest, Health Watch and GIPSIL are now also running the scheme in Gipton, funded by the Community Fund C-19 Response.  This similarly works with dedicated volunteers to do shopping, pharmacy collections and food parcel deliveries, meeting demand in the area and returning to working within our usual local community. 

In other news, the relaxing of some rules has meant that this month The Old Fire Station is back in business. It’s offering teas, coffees, delicious homemade cakes and a great place to relax - at a distance of course! Around and about The Old Fire Station our lovely dedicated team at Gipton Growers have been ensuring the garden has been well tended to in lockdown. A full tour of the garden will be shown on Facebook Live on the 25th August 2pm. They’ll be a chance to check out Gipton in Bloom, what flowers have been blossoming and food cultivated, how the team are still managing this, and some friendly chats from the growers!  

Our creative wellbeing packs are continuing to head out to families all over the city, with our last few weeks having the theme of ‘My Town’, ‘Space Adventure’ and ‘Life as a Masterpiece’, designed and curated to inspire families and incorporating a range of activities and resources to have fun with. Our Postcard Project has also received some fantastic and creative responses - it’s great to see that even during this precarious time people are still able to create their own pieces of art that serve to inspire. 

We hope that through our activities and continuous engagement with our local communities we can remind everyone that although a time of social distancing, this can still be a time of social connecting. 

With very best wishes, 

The Space2 Team