2020 will forever be remembered as the year the world stopped and it couldn’t have been worse timing for our partners at HIP’s Social. Opening just 5 days before the first lockdown, after months of planning and renovation works, they coffee shop was forced to close leaving us all unsure of what this would mean for such a new business.
Determined to continue to serve the community they had grown so fond of, HIP’s Social reopened just two weeks later, making all the necessary changes and taking all government guidance on board to ensure they could operate in a Covid-safe way. Since then their business has gone from strength to strength, from offering a grocery service to launching a evening burger menu, Tom, Lucy and the rest of their team have thrived in their first year in business. And I think we can all agree that if they survive in the a year where many businesses were forced to close for good, then they will survive anything and we couldn’t be more proud to have them as our partners.
Lydney Youth Hub:
Lydney Youth Hub’s sessions were forced to end in March 2020 but determined to continue to support our young people we moved our sessions online, working with local business owners such as Rachel Shilston, Drop the Weasel and HIPS Social to deliver a range of workshops from mosaic making, embroidery and baking. Myself and Rich also hosted various other workshops including quiz nights, arts and crafts and a games night. Keen to keep our young people engaged with Lydney Youth Hub we also hosted live tea and chat sessions via Instagram discuss subjects of interest and future activities. We have also ran a think tank session themed around how the Young People want the new Youth Hub to be designed and what equipment and activities they would like us provide, led by Cassie Nicholas (winner of Interior Design Masters BBC2).
Once face to face activities were able to resume Lydney Youth Hub moved from Lydney Community centre to the new dedicated Lydney Hub building. Still waiting on work to resume on the renovation upstairs, HIP’s Social was used as the base of operation where young people indulged in left over food donated by Greggs, play boards games, listen to music and catch up with friends after a long period apart.
Due to the second national lockdown Lydney Youth Hub's live session have been put on hold as per guidelines from the National Youth Agency, however it is our hope that with the proposed return of schools on March 8th we will see a change to guidelines to Youth sessions, enabling us to resume normal service, our first session back will consist of a free meals menu and craft session.
To further develop the services we offer to the Young People of the town we also advertised a for Youth Development officer, which was filled by Michelle Cutland, childrens doctor and lead consultant for the paediatric sexual assault referral centre. Once face to face activities are able to resume Michelle’s focus will be to help research and deliver a range of programmes related to areas such as health, fitness, smoking, drugs, gangs, violence, relationships and bullying.
Building and Funding:
During the lock-down period we have continued to forge towards our goal of developing the Lydney Hub building, and applied for a number grants in order to help achieve this. We have received donations from the Forest of Dean District Council, FVAF, Thirty Percy, Tesco Bags of Help.
I am pleased to report that we have now fundraised enough money to complete the Lydney Hub build and we are turning our attention to the commencement of the works needed, with a tenacious project manager in place tentative dates are being arranged to start the project so that we can expand the services that we can provide to the Young People of the town, the increased space and facilities will offer a sneak peek of what is to come when the building is completed.
On that note I would like to offer our secretary Rich Robbins our sincerest of thanks. Without his hard work and dedication to fundraising on behalf of Lydney Hub and the Young People we would not be where we are today. He is passionate about making this town a wonderful place for young people to live and his determination is an inspiration to all of us.
I would also like to add quick note about another project we supported this year which was the Christmas meals project. In partnership with Pearl Biddle and Joshuas catering 72 christmas meals were delivered without any issues to vulnerable people on Christmas day, we were passed on this note of thanks:
"Thank you ever so much for everything! To the people who cooked and arranged for everyone who managed to deliver. I was so overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of everyone; and to think the year we've all had and there's still people like yourselves out there that still go out of their way for myself and others to make sure we had a good Christmas. So a massive THANK YOU. I really can't explain enough how much I appreciate every single person that did all this for my children and myself. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope in time that I may be able to repay the kindness."
Looking to the Future:
It’s an understatement to say the last year has been testing on everyone and we would like to thank everyone for their support. Lydney Hub will continue in its endeavor to provide a robust Youth Service to Lydney and surrounding areas, as well as expand opportunities to fulfill our commitment to our charitable objective of benefiting the town. 2020 may have been the year the world come to a stop but for lydney Hub, 2020 was just the beginning.
Emily (Chair & Founder)