Life goes on at King's Arms youth charity in Alton

Saturday 4th April 2020 12:00 pm
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Keeping a safe distance: Roofers Mark and George (in the cap) continue work at the King's Arms

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ALTON’S King’s Arms (KA) may have taken the decision to suspend in-person youth work in the town because of the lockdown, but it still aims to stay in touch.

The KA team has redesigned the charity’s website to create new online content for all young people aged 11 to 18 to join in with while they are at home.

The KA at Home section of the new site will feature a daily blog with funny videos, inspirational content, activities, exercises and much more. Visit the site at www.thekingsarms.org.uk/blog

KA youth workers are also keeping in contact, subject to safeguarding protocols, with their more vulnerable programme participants, particularly those in the young carers Aspire and mentoring projects.

According to KA operations manager Caroline Aeschliman, the charity’s funders, particularly those providing grants for youth work, support the changes to how the group is delivering its programmes.

While the pressure is still on to complete the conversion of The Tannery – formerly Bartlett & Butcher – at the bottom of Vicarage Hill into a new youth hub for Alton, it is proving a challenge.

According to Alton KA services manager Lisa Hillan, scaffolding has gone up and Jones Bros Roofing (pictured) has been making necessary repairs to the roof, which has severe leaks that must be repaired before any more electrical work can continue.

Workers have been following social distancing advice, arriving in separate vans and using their own personal ladders and equipment while maintaining two metres between them at all times.

Mrs Hillan said: “Importantly, it’s their understanding that until there is an express mandate for them to close and cease work, they are not eligible for any government compensation reimbursement – so they are carrying on!”

KA is, however, still struggling to procure materials needed to complete work inside the building. Mrs Hillan gives as an example lino flooring for the two toilets: “We must obtain and lay very specific flooring required for public-access toilets. This flooring must be in place before the plumber, who works alone, can install the toilet fittings and fixtures.”

The challenge is not only to find the flooring required but someone who can install it. But the KA team is battling on.

Mrs Hillan added: “Within our KA team, we have individuals and families who are unwell and those who are directly and severely impacted by coronavirus.

“We are supporting each other so we can go on to support young people during this difficult time.”

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