The Times They Are a-Changin’ – Valleys Kids’ Succession Plan

The Future

Valleys Kids is determined to make sure that this significant change is accomplished successfully. We have been working hard to plan for a new senior management structure and for the process of transition.

A new CEO post has been created. In our opinion, it provides a rare opportunity for somebody who can help maintain a remarkable legacy of community development work while also equipping the organisation with new leadership and ideas.

The Board has moved quickly to agree proposals for a new management structure, to be put in place if additional external funding can be secured. This includes potential recruitment of a Director of Programmes/Projects and a Director of Business Development to assist the new CEO. The plan also provides ongoing roles for Richard and Margaret, enabling us to continue benefiting from their experience, skills, and commitment to Valleys Kids. Initially, they will act as interim Directors in the new posts outlined above. At an appropriate time, the two of them will become Founding Advisors/Ambassadors, working on a part-time basis.

One of our biggest challenges is ensuring that the management structure and our finances are closely aligned so that we can guarantee sustainability. The new structure does provide increased management capacity. This is justified by the need to focus more systematically on some crucial issues (such as forward planning, financial resilience, fundraising, digital working and social enterprises) and greater interaction with audiences and stakeholders outside the organisation.

Bids to potential funders (to provide revenue for three years in support of the transition) have met with an incredibly positive response. This readiness to provide support is testimony to the high regard in which Valleys Kids is held.
The changes in senior management do require us to undertake a major transition programme at a time when many other challenges must be met. Over the past year, the Board, staff representatives, Margaret and Richard have developed detailed plans for the transition. Good progress is being made, despite the disruption to services caused by Co-vid 19 restrictions. Moreover, throughout this period, Valleys Kids has continued to play a key role in providing vital help to families and to our communities. The reports we receive and the direct comments we hear from who receive essential support are inspiring and moving. This gives us confidence that we can move forward together with a shared sense of purpose.

At present, the intention is to advertise the CEO post at the beginning of February and to complete the recruitment process early in the new financial year.

Working with others

Valleys Kids has always recognised that working with others is a prerequisite for effective community development. Constructive relationships with a wide range of partners are at the heart of our agenda for supporting disadvantaged communities to achieve improved well-being outcomes.

Over four decades and reflecting the many activities which Valleys Kids provides, we have succeeded in building up strong partnerships with very diverse organisations, This includes: over 30 funding bodies (including trusts); public service agencies nationally and locally (especially those which have responsibility for education, social care, housing, health, leisure, arts, environment, safeguarding, social equality and justice); third sector organisations; social and commercial enterprises; tenant and other organisations representing service user and community interests; churches and chapels; etc. We have also been engaged very actively in various multi-agency partnerships which seek to promote co-working, needs analysis, the provision of services and effective use of resources. This is an opportunity to express again our thanks for your support.
Our track record in collaboration is grounded in our commitment to openness, trust, shared values, common goals and regular communication. Richard and Margaret have played a central role in formulating and representing the collaborative ethos that we’ve adopted so successfully. As we embark upon a major period of transition, we will be looking to all our allies, colleagues and friends for help and support. You are a key stakeholder in the change process.

The Board and staff representatives have agreed a strategy for communicating with all interested stakeholders. It involves a series of meetings, supplemented by written briefings. If you have any queries, or comments about the material or about the transition programme as a whole, you’re welcome to contact us. We look forward to having further conversations.

Phil Evans, Chair
Valleys Kids’ Board of Trustees

The Magic of Play

2020 was an extraordinary year. No one has been left untouched and some have had their lives turned upside-down. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our communities. Thanks to their donations, Trust support and emergency COVID response grants, Valleys Kids has supported thousands of people over the year and we are still doing it now.

We delivered over 300 parcels of clothes and toys for families and children were struggling before Christmas.

Despite the huge challenges and difficulties, it has been inspiring to see people reach out to offer help. To care deeply about the plight of others, even when some are suffering themselves.

The resilient Valleys’ community spirit remains strong. We will survive, and seeing the joy of children playing, gives us all hope for a brighter future.

Here’s to Peace, Joy and Health in 2021

GoPoolit to Support Valleys Kids

A new social media platform, GoPoolit, has just launched! We are one of the first charities to be on the social network, and we want you to join us.

Imagine if every ‘Like’ you’ve ever received on your social networks was a 10 pence donation to Valleys Kids ?

It’s a simple concept: sign up to GoPoolit and post what you normally would on your usual social networks. Then, just click share!

On each post, you can nominate Valleys Kids – which means your friends, family and followers have the opportunity to donate between 1-10 pence to us if they like what you’ve posted!

It’s an easy way for you and your network to support our vital work every day – without breaking the bank. The power is in your pocket change. We believe that the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact.

By signing up to GoPoolit today and nominating us to your posts – you will be joining thousands of others who believe that our social media posts can be a force for good in the world.

Don’t forget – if your post goes viral, it could pool a huge amount of small donations for us!

We’re so excited to be on the GoPoolit platform – but we need your help.

Sign up today at http://www.gopoolit.comand download the GoPoolit app – which is available on iOS and Android devices.

We can’t wait to see you on GoPoolit!

Puddle Jump Webinar: Therapeutic Storytelling with Families. Thursday 26th November 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Here to Register.

This webinar is for everyone with an interest in supporting children and families through the therapeutic power of storytelling. Whether you are an arts practitioner, health professional, teacher, parent or you are simply interested in supporting the well being of children and families, this webinar is for you, so welcome.
We are so excited to share our Puddle Jump project. It is a therapeutic storytelling project, which supports families in a creative and imaginative way especially at this difficult time. It combines storytelling sessions, well-being and story-based craft activities with online story resources.
Thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Wales’ Covid-19 Stabilisation Fund, Sparc – Valleys Kids Youth Arts Project has joined forces with our Future Families Team, to launch this innovative and timely intervention in July 2020. Since then we have been working with a team of specialist practitioners and storytellers and exploring feedback from the families who have been involved throughout.
You’ll have the chance to hear from the team who have been creating and delivering this work, the families who have taken part and local mental health and well being professionals who have contributed to the work. This is a pilot project but we think it has huge potential and we want to look at next steps in how it develops in the future.
Come along, listen to our story so far and be part of the conversation moving forward. How can we work most effectively with children and families, finding creative ways to engage support and empower them during this challenging time?
Accessibility
Live transcription by a Palantypist (Speech to Text Reporter) is provided for this session. Transcription will be available on Zoom captions, and on StreamText.net.
British Sign Language interpreters are provided for this session.
If you will be using the transcription or BSL interpreters to access the session or have any other accessibility requirements, please let us know in the booking form. We ask that you book at least 7 days in advance of the session so we can make adjustments.
The session takes places on Zoom. Read Zoom’s accessibility FAQ’s
https://zoom.us/accessibility/faq

Click Here to Register.

COVID 19 Crisis – Valleys Kids’ response

Valleys Kids support over 3,000 people every week. We are doing things we have never had to do before. The demand has been overwhelming and humbling. From single parent families with 4 children who have no opportunity to leave the children to collect food, through families with very sick children who are terrified to leave the house and risk bringing infection home with them.

Valleys Kids has been part of the community for over 40 years, but we haven’t seen anything like this. Our buildings are beginning to reopen, staff are refocussing on trying to return to some kind of ‘normal’ having made superhuman efforts to respond flexibly to the needs of a community in lockdown and struggling to make ends meet and feed their families.

The legacy is high levels of anxiety, stress and depression which is affecting children, young people and adults across all age groups.  Like Long Covid, the impacts on wellbeing, emotional and financial resilience will not be a quick fix.

We have always tried to offer what people told us they need. We are committed to continuing to help local people help themselves overcome the obstacles they face.

Our endeavours during the period of the lockdown, reflects the high levels of need and what we were able to achieve.  We need to secure further support to safeguard this provision into the future.

Community is Kindness 

Community is Kindness – We are now providing:

Spanning the Digital Divide

Each year Valleys Kids works with around 2,400 disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.  They have been hit hard by the lockdown restrictions.  No respite from sometimes, stressful and fraught family life cooped up with no escape or social interaction with their peers.  They miss their friends, they miss the social activities they usually attend at Valleys Kids each week.
During the pandemic we continued to support young people as best we could.

Virtual Youth sessions:   327
Youth Packs provided:   199

We were able to provide iPads to families, who had no means of connecting to the internet, supporting them to ensure they could speak to relations in isolation and helping children to keep up with virtual school lessons.

Sparc, our youth arts project, worked digitally with our teenagers running virtual groups online and offering a weekly opportunity to talk together and respond collectively to this crisis. Become a Friend on Sparc Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wearesparc/

Check out these films made by young people from all our hubs and in Riverside as part of the UK wide CoronaVirus TimeCapsule Project:

Week 1 – The Beginning 

Week 2 – Home Life 

Week 3 – About Us

“This space is very important, not just for me, but for everyone. It gives us opportunities to be able to talk to people, especially for people who suffer with anxiety, depression or disabilities. It keeps us sane and our feelings whole and warm. It gives us a place to grow as a person.”    Young person attending online group

Continue reading

Communication Lifelines

Through each of our Community & Family Hubs in Penygraig, Penyrenglyn, Rhydyfelin & Dinas we are reach out to 3,000 people every week.

During the lockdowns we maintainied our weekly contact with isolated families and older people who would normally come to our support groups, but are stuck in their home and often lonely and frightened.

We made 4,908 Wellbeing calls, provided 588 Adult Care Packs and made 201 shopping trips,  which helped isolated adults to feel that they mattered and  someone cared.

“Taking part in weekly video chats and the one to one phone calls really helps me with my mental health and I do not feel so isolated”
Isolated older person

Continue reading

Food Poverty

The impact of Covid 19 on people’s ability to feed their families has reveals the challenges of living in an area of high deprivation in the South Wales Valleys.

During the pandemic, staff and volunteers in each of our Community & Family Hubs in Penyrenglyn, Penygraig, Rhydyfelin & Dinas, have stepped up to respond to the needs of our local communities; we’ve been donating over 1,000 free meals each week to vulnerable children in the Rhondda Valleys who normally rely on free school meals.

The Play Yard – Valleys Kids’ social enterprise in Treorchy utilised the facilities to respond to exceptional demand from families who are under tremendous pressure. Many have suddenly lost their primary source of income for an indefinite amount of time. Many rely on free school meals to provide a meal for their children, or have lost their job, or are unable to leave the house. The resulting stress and anxiety is an ongoing problem for many.

Valleys Kids’ Factory in Porth also in lockdown, but staff are working hard to support local families providing up to 50 food parcels a week. These are a lifeline for vulnerable families, more than 36% have 4 or more children.

Over the course of the lockdowns, with the support of  diverse sources of funding and local business support, we were able to provide:   21,254 lunches to disadvantaged children & families and deliver 1,970 food hampers.

“The support we have received from Valleys Kids with the food parcels has been brilliant. We really needed it at this time.”
Family receiving food parcels

“James has been having a hard time lately being stuck in isolation. He has ADHD and usually attends at least three groups at play centres a week and is always doing outside activities to burn up his energy. He is used to routine right now he’s over tired from not being able to sleep and yet still has energy to burn. He is tearful and sad Valleys Kids Play Yard has been bringing sunshine to his days by delivering special lunches for him and the three girls.

Today he received a very special birthday lunch that included a present of passes ready to visit the Play Yard when he can go to play. He also had lots of special treats in his bag. He smiled so much he now has something to plan and look forward to. Thank you so much to everyone at the Play Yard and all the delivery drivers. You really are fabulous people.”                    Family receiving children’s lunches

A Royal start to the day

Valleys Kids and ArtWorks could not be any prouder of two of our wonderful Young People Nadine Hussein and Zoe Arundell. They have both been on amazing journeys with our organisation and have both recently been appointed as young apprentices to our Board of Trustees. Last week they went to Cardiff Castle with our Operational Director and Founder Margaret Jervis for a meet with HRH Prince Harry and his beautiful Fiancé Meghan.

As Nadine writes

“Three weeks ago I was in London for New Years, when I had a dream that I met Prince Harry in the strangest of circumstances.  Fast forward two weeks and I get a text asking if I would be willing to represent Valleys Kids as a young person who had been given the chance to be immersed in theatre and culture in South Wales and if I would like to attend the Royal Visit at Cardiff Castle.  Today, I feel privileged to have met his Royal Highness Prince Harry and his beautiful Fiancé, Meghan, on their visit to Cardiff.

They were the sweetest couple and I was taken aback by how amazing they were, hearing how being a part of ArtWorks, Valleys Kids saw me write and direct my first Theatre production last summer.

I feel so blessed to be part of such a incredible organization and to have been given this truly astonishing opportunity to meet such a special couple

I genuinely feel on top of the world right now and my forever motto is going to be Dreams really do come true.

Comedy and Improvisation Workshop

Yanc Cymru Youth Arts Network Cymru are very pleased to announce that the very wonderful ‘Flossy & Boo’ will be running a Comedy and Improvisation Workshop for our South Wales event.

Flossy and Boo will guide you through elements of Clowning, comedy, Physical Theatre, Storytelling and Audience Interaction to generate new ideas and push your creativity further.

Where: Sherman Theatre.
When: February 12th
Time: 6.00pm-8.30pm
Cost: YANC members – £15 full price, £10 concessions (student/unemployed)
Non members – £30 full price, £20 concessions (student/unemployed)

This event will be BSL Supported

Any further information or to book please contact jain.boon@ntlworld.com

For all our young people who are emerging artists / interested in creating story and theatre. Book up for what promises to be a wonderful workshop, contact Jain