Eggy The Eggsellent Eggsplorer

By Sam Dixon, Community Organiser

Easter was around the corner and our project wanted a fun activity for families to engage with. We came up with the idea of having an Easter character joining the Rotherham Federation team, who would go out on an adventure during the Easter holidays.

We decided that the first part of our project would be a design competition, young people were given the incentive of receiving a free prize for submitting a design to us. We had 19 entries for our design competition.

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Swinton Mobile Farm Visit

Rotherfed worked with Councillor Wyatt, Councillor Sansome and Brookfield Junior Academy in Swinton to fund a Mobile Farm Visit, which was provided by Ian’s Mobile Farm (www.iansfarm.com). The aim was to provide a fun activity in what has been a difficult year for the pupils.

Lauren Moore, the Inclusion Manager at the school said ‘I just wanted to write to say a huge thank you on behalf of the whole Brookfield Junior Academy family – staff, pupils and their families for funding the mobile farm visit. The mobile farm visit yesterday and was a huge success. Thank you for making happy memories and experiences for our pupils.’

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Laptops For Kids

By Sam Dixon, Community Organiser

As I started in my new role for RotherFed, we got instantly put back into lockdown as a country. Schools were closed and children were yet again unable to access their education. On the national media I noticed that there was a push starting to close the digital divide for families. Learning was quickly becoming an online entity and some of the most vulnerable families lacked the resources for their young people.

I knew that action needed to be taken, and that it had to happen quickly. I contacted Sheffield based charity Laptops for Kids who were already engaged with Learn Sheffield. Working together they were in the process of taking donations of devices and distributing them to schools who could get them those who needed them most. Part of their remit was initially to extend their support to all parts of South Yorkshire, so I arranged, with the support of Rob, a meeting to discuss how we could start working together.

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Mindfulness and Health & Wellbeing

By Rachel Cole, Projects Officer

The last 11 months have been very different and difficult for many people and for different reasons. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness. To try and help Thurcroft investigated doing something to help towards mindfulness and health & wellbeing.

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Jo Workman

By Rob Gooding, Community Organiser

Rob nominated Jo for the volunteer of the month award in Wickersley Ward in December 2020.

This is a project run by RMBC staff and local councillors Jo is has run the local SEND youth club for children with additional needs for the last two years and was looking to expand this to other areas of Rotherham until Covid struck.

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The Great RotherFed Pancake Off

By Dan Barron, Community Organiser

For Pancake Day 2021 Rotherfed decided to create we decided to create a “flipping fun” competition for our communities in order to help keep families engaged and entertained during lockdown. The event managed to engage with over 126 unique members of the communities over the events duration. The competition awarded a winner for each category that was voted by the
Rotherfed Good news online community. So let’s go through the winners!

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Zoom Santa

By Rob Gooding, Community Organiser

The project began when Winston contacted RotherFed saying he wanted to make the community feel better at Christmas. This was because of the pandemic and children would not get to see Santa Claus at the local amenities and festive attractions due to the COVID restrictions at the time. So we worked with Winston to create a Santa Grotto Online that would be free for all families to enjoy. We sourced Santa a fancy new red suit for the occasion and supported him to catch up on his IT skills. This is because Santa was okay at using technology but needed some support from RotherFed to adapt to the task at hand.

The project had adhered to strict safeguarding procedures and we worked with Winston to ensure that these were followed throughout the 3-day project. We were pleased that there was no incident where the procedures had been broken throughout. Winston’s performance as Santa Claus was great and he really enjoyed playing the part. He was very enthusiastic on each call and he just pleased that he had been able to make some families happy by seeing Santa Claus before Christmas.

This was Winston’s second Christmas event with RotherFed and will probably not be the last. Overall the event managed to engage with 46 individuals in total across East Dene, Dinnington and East Herringthorpe. Most of the community members who participated in the event were all new engagements for the area. The event managed to engage with 12 people from the East Dene area, 21 from Dinnington and 13 from East Herringthorpe. Families enjoyed the online experience and had thanked Santa and his helpful elves for a Christmassy event when Christmas didn’t feel quite the same. A massive thanks to Winston and all his enthusiasm to cheer up his community.

Sheila From Swinton Crafty Ladies

Shelia has been involved with Rotherham Federation for many years now and although I have heard Shelia mentioned in passing until recently, I have not had any direct contact with her.  Since moving to the North of the Borough at the end of October 2020 I have spoken to Shelia on many occasions and have now got to know her much better.

Shelia is a very active member and volunteer who is part of both Swinton Community Focus group and Crafty Ladies. She does a great deal for others despite sometimes suffering with her own health. Shelia has just re-engaged with the Housing Involvement Panel meetings and has expressed an interest in becoming involved in the Housing Hubs and with coffee mornings.

During the summer months of lockdown Shelia started chair aerobics outside in the street for people to join in with her, this was very successful, and everyone enjoyed it.  Shelia is now working with Active Dearne to deliver the chair aerobics online. RMBC are running a piece on wellness in the next edition of Home Matters and Shelia will feature in this.

Swinton Community Focus Group ran a Christmas Give A Gift for the underprivileged children in the area and not only were they overwhelmed by gifts, they also received over £1000 in donations. As all this money wasn’t used, they will now do a Easter egg hunt at Easter and purchase Easter eggs with the leftover money to give out as prizes.

Shelia also has weekly contact with other members of both groups where they do crafts/play games etc online, making sure everyone is well and keeping in touch with each other where possible.

I am looking forward to working more closely with Shelia and getting involved in her area, especially when the lockdown has eased more.

Christina

Christina first became involved with RotherFed through the RotherSteps project, this was to help her lose weight and improve her fitness. During the project she has regularly input her steps and posted pictures of her walks. So far over the seven weeks of the project she has entered an amazing 315,882 steps so far in the project and came in third place in the first month with a massive 242,108. During conversations with Christina, she has mentioned how difficult it is as woman to walk in local beauty spots alone due to the dark nights at this time of year and has spoken about starting a walking group in Greasbrough when COVID restrictions ease.

As Christina found out about more of RotherFed’s projects she became interested in the befriending calls and has since signed up as a befriending volunteer and will start making regular calls to lonely and vulnerable people as soon as her DBS has returned. This is an ongoing project to tackle loneliness in Rotherham where we match volunteers to people that have requested a friendship call.

Christina has expressed an interest in getting further involved with council services and I am currently discussing options on how she can get involved in Housing Involvement Panel meetings and putting community projects ideas into RMBC through the housing hub suggestions.

Dinnington SEND Group

By Ian Huddleston, Community Organiser

Dinnington SEND group are a group for young people who are very active in the community, providing support for many families in and around Dinnington. I met with Jo from the group in early March to look at ways in which we could work together and to try organising events for their young people.

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