Nurture@Kentmere Helping Families in Boggart Hill

Nurture@Kentmere are a parent led community support group that aims to break down the barriers of isolation that often come with parenthood. They have created a safe, non-judgmental environment for parents and carers of young children to be able to engage and share. They run regular groups and community events such as crafts, educational groups, clothes exchange and other services that are needed in the area, including helping people to get online.

Before the pandemic hit they were working from Kentmere Community Centre in the Boggart Hill area of Seacroft, Leeds.  This is a priority area for 100% Digital Leeds and the wider Council as it scored highly on the national Indices of Multiple Deprivation statistics, based on measures such as health outcomes, crime rates, income and education, making it in the top 1% of most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK.

Anita Goodman and Vicki Gibbs run the group with help from other volunteers and they contacted 100% Digital Leeds in January 2020 asking to borrow two iPads to help them with their operations as well as being able to use them for digital inclusion with local families.  In the following year they have been used extensively and had a real impact in the local community.  As a busy mum herself Anita has been using one of them with her own family too and talked about how it has been great for the group, as well as for her personally, during the pandemic.

“There were several reasons we applied to borrow iPads, such as to run our Nurture peer support group, our Facebook page and group, designing and creating our marketing material, researching activities, finding support for people, emailing and keeping in contact with service-users.”

“In our face-to-face sessions we allowed users of our group to access the tablets if they needed it for any purpose. For example one member used it to look at her housing options as she wanted to move, and they were very useful to let the children have a little play or watch a YouTube video if their parents or carers needed to speak to us.  It’s a great option for giving the adults a bit of time out to relax and chat to other adults.”

“Another positive experience was when we used them in a listening project, both to read and share the questions within the group and also to make notes so that we could write up what had been discussed.”

“Obviously everything changed with the pandemic and we were no longer able to run face-to-face groups, but thanks to the connectivity we were able to adapt to running an online support group so people could stay in touch, as well as running separate Zoom sessions.”

“Vicki is working full time on the front line at St James’ Hospital, and due to the pandemic she changed her hours to do twelve-hour shifts at the weekend so that she could home-school her four children and still put everything into running and promoting Nurture during the week.”  

“Due to the pandemic I’ve not been able to loan them out, my colleague has one and I have had one at home with me and it has been a lifesaver to be able to use it with my children.  We’ve been using it for homeschooling and as a wind-down tool which has been a big relief in a very stressful time.” 

“My children either take turns to use it to complete work, or, as they are twins and in the same year, do work together.  My son especially did not cope well with lockdown so we used it for him to be able to make contact with family through video calls, games, videos and music.  It was very beneficial, it gave me more options for keeping the children entertained as well as up to date with their learning, and in the evenings I could still keep up with my Nurture work and manage my emails and the Facebook group.”

“We have been able to run a few face-to-face sessions. I use the iPad as a register to keep up with who attends, how often etc. which enables me to reach out if people have disengaged to check that they are ok.  We do a lot of work on the iPad, emails being a big one, and having the 4G data gives us opportunities and peace of mind.”

“We have taken part in several campaigns, most recently we took the lead on the White Ribbon Domestic Abuse 16 Days of Action.  This involved many Zoom meetings with our local councillors, children’s centres and other stakeholders, as we ran an online campaign where we would use our social media platform daily to relay key information.  It’s been really helpful to reach out to people and let them know we are able to support them or at the very least signpost them.  I even did a radio interview with East Leeds FM and had the iPad to hand with all my key talking points and relevant information on.”

“Hopefully when we can run face-to-face sessions we can once again allow group members to use the tablets, but they know they can message us in the meantime and we will do what we can.  We had a member contact us as their friend had no food or warm clothes, so we were able to coordinate with our local charity shop to organise some clothing, as well as making a referral to a food bank and getting as much information as possible.  The outcome of this was that we were able to provide the person with some donated clothes to keep them warm, food, and information on next steps.  Without the iPad this would have been very difficult and it is this kind of thing that makes a massive difference to people’s lives.” 

“The tablets and the help we’ve received from 100% Digital Leeds has been fantastic and it has made what we do so much easier at a time where everything is more difficult.  Vicki is working full time on the front line at St James’ Hospital and due to the pandemic she has been working twelve-hour shifts at the weekend so that she could home-school her four children.  It’s the sort of punishing schedule that is the reality of so many mums and families in this area so any assistance is massively appreciated and the tablets have been a huge help.”

“Even though we only borrowed two iPads the impact they are having is invaluable to families in Boggart Hill, many of whom are living in precarious situations and have barriers such as debt, health problems, housing issues and a multitude of other needs, to be able to avert crisis situations and get the help that they need.” 

Anita Goodman, Nurture

You can find out more about Nurture via their facebook group.