Many Community Sponsorship Groups who are supporting families during the Covid-19 pandemic are wondering how best to help resettled family members stay occupied during this time. With many services continuing to be accessed only online including ESOL classes and other social activities, it can be difficult to know how best to help the family continue to learn English, gain skills, and grow their confidence amid the problems we’re all facing.
Getting in touch with the family you support more frequently in ways you wouldn’t normally, may go against some of the boundaries you’ve set as a Group. Your Group may decide to revisit these boundaries and discuss how they might be changed in order to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances. As life starts to go back to normal, check in with the family and ask what support they feel they still need. After months and months of living in our new normal, the family may be ready for you to take a step back again so it's important to give them a chance to say so.
Ideas for adults
If the family are accessing ESOL tuition from a local college, it's likely that their courses were moved to online platforms or cancelled until further notice. Even if they are beginning to open up to socially distanced in-person tuition, they may continue to rely on online platforms. As a Community Sponsorship Group there are many ways that you can help refugees grow their language skills from a distance. Check out our Covid-19 and ESOL resource for ideas for teachers and students.
Study for qualifications
- If a long-term goal of a family member is to pass their driving test in the UK, now is the time to start studying. They can access videos in Arabic from the Glasgow Syrian Network online. Find out more about how to empower refugees to gain their driving license in our toolkit.
- There are also a number of courses online to gain food hygiene safety certificates for levels one and two. Most have a fee of about £20 and provide a certificate at the end of the course.
- You can still encourage the family to go outside while maintaining a two metre distance from others. If the family are missing face to face time with Group members who continue to isolate, remember that you can still pass a football back and forth while maintaining a two-metre distance!
- Sport England has some recommendations about how to stay active while social distancing.
- Mindfulness in Arabic - this is available on demand and targeted for refugees (access this in English here)
Keep in touch with the family and your Group
- Many people who’ve started to work from home are finding that Zoom is an easy way to keep in touch with others. Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes and it’s simple to download.
- WhatsApp group messages are also a great way to check in with each other and share how your day is going.
- With more time on all our hands, why not start a language exchange with family members over Skype or Google Hangouts? Set times of the day when this can take place to help provide a structure for you and the family
Ideas for children and parents
- CBeebies and PBS Kids offer online games for younger children.
- If Group members have access to a printer they could consider safely dropping off some educational colouring sheets, crayons and pencils.
- If it fits within your Group’s set boundaries about giving gifts, consider ordering some craft supplies that can be delivered directly to the family’s home.
- PE with Joe has quickly become a popular way for children to access free, kid-friendly, PE classes on YouTube.
- "My Hero is You" a children's storybook about Covid-19 available in multiple languages including Arabic
- Parenting in the time of Covid-19- a resource created by the WHO to give parenting tips and ideas to parents at home with their children
- As schools reopen, help the family ask for support from the school, and remind parents that learning happens in many different ways.
Remember that everyone in the UK is in the same position at the moment. Remind the family that you support that this is an extraordinary time and we are all finding ways to navigate the situation.