Dear Parent carer
Following on from our update on the 29th December, I’m writing today with a further update about Extratime’s response to the latest COVID developments.
I am deeply sorry that the worsening COVID situation in Brighton & Hove and West Sussex means we have made the difficult decision to pause Extratime clubs until after the half term break. This is because we can’t be confident the ‘COVID safety control measures’ that were enough to keep children and staff safe enough from original virus (even most clubs during the November lockdown), are enough to stop the new variant of the COVID virus.
Unfortunately this new variant needs a different response. Last week we were reassured to learn that the risk to children is no higher than the original virus, which is positive. However the local transmission rates and subsequent Major Incident declarations last week by Brighton & Hove and West Sussex Councils are very concerning. This is why we have taken the very difficult decision to keep the usual clubs closed for the remaining weeks of this half term.
We will review plans for February half term holiday schemes over the coming days and contact the families affected about these separately.
Alternative Extratime support
Although we all know that nothing replaces the break you get when you child is at a physical club, we are working hard to set up alternative ways to help your family through the next few weeks.
Joint working: Again, we have begun to work with the schools, social care and others across the city/county to find creative ways to support the most vulnerable (and key worker) children and their families. We are still figuring this out but will contact families affected as and when these plans take shape.
Portslade Village Centre: Opening Portslade Village Centre for individual households to get a change of scenery and a safe space to play. This includes the sports court, garden, indoor halls and equipment (table tennis, Wii, sensory room, outside etc).
[email protected] (Virtual offer): This new programme has been shaped by feedback from families and staff in the summer and has been created by the team to offer children the chance to see the familiar faces of friends, staff and favourite activities through this difficult time for them.
As you know, last year’s [email protected] activities were set up quickly by the team in response to the immediate crisis. This time we want to offer you a more personalised approach for individual children and young people. With this in mind we’ll be circulating a (short) questionnaire so you can help us adapt the ideas below for your child. This means we can target our limited resources to areas that will be more useful for you.
The programme includes;
- Extratime YouTube Channel – Videos of Playworkers reading stories, playing favourite games, arts and craft activities for families to follow at home
- Extratime & Friends Live sessions – old favourites and new workshops with our holidays scheme friends (magic show, animals, cookery, music)
- Virtual After School Clubs – this will be new this term
- 1:1 Zooms with individual children
Activity Packs: A physical or online pack of sensory activities and / or arts and crafts for children to do at home.
Once again Covid has placed us all in a rapidly changing situation. As it can be challenging to keep up with the advice and guidance I hope you find the links below useful.
- West Sussex Short Breaks Wiki
- [email protected]
We’ll continue to work hard to find ways to support your family through this very difficult time and in the meantime I hope you and your family can enjoy some of the alternatives we’ve come up with.
As always please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for us at Extratime. Please also get in touch if you need any help with anything. I’m in constant contact with lots of support groups, the local councils and others who will be able to help, even if I don’t know the answer.
Best wishes and take care