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UPDATE FROM UNITAS CEO, TONY LEWIS 

It is with huge pleasure that all the team at Unitas are able to welcome young people back through our doors from August 3rd. Since Lockdown we have worked incredibly hard to support the most vulnerable young people and the wider community; Zoom calls, one to one chats and online activity have all been developed as well as establishing the centre as a food hub. That will continue. But now, in line with Government guidance, we can welcome young people back once more. 

However, the centre will seem different. Like any charity or business we have had to adapt our provision and our building in light of social distancing guidelines. This means that the way in which young people access our services will be new. We call this Unitas 2.0. 

Unitas 2.0 comprises of new models of delivery for our team and young people and includes:

Unitas – bookable activity at the centre, capped turn up on the door sessions that we all know and love and invite only sessions. From 3rd August.
Unitas Outreach & Community – a programme of Unitas activity in Montrose Park and the wider community (tbc)
Unitas Satellite – delivery of Unitas provision in hubs and other centres across the borough (tbc)
Unitas Mentoring – 1:1 mentoring support for young people (tbc)
Unitas Digital – a ‘ YZ at home ‘ providing an online programme of activity for young people 7 days a week (tbc) 

A number of the strands above are still in development, such as Outreach & Community, Satellite and Mentoring, but watch this space for news on these. 

In the meantime from 3rd August our bookable roster of activities across Junior , Senior and SEND Club (#Limitless) can be found here. More activities and slots will be added daily and weekly so do check back regularly to see what’s on. You must be a Unitas Member to take advantage of the activities. Also, keep your eyes peeled for our open access ‘ turn up on the door’ sessions that we will deliver over August and into September – please look out on our social media for dates for these. From September and the return of all young people to school we will return to provision post 4pm Monday – Friday and through the weekend using a pre-book system, invite only and turn up on the door. 

I am also pleased to confirm we are delivering a Holiday Club this from 3rd August , Monday – Friday 8am – 12.30pm including breakfast and lunch for just £6. In line with Government guidance there are restrictions on this, details of which and booking can be found here. 

I would like to thank all the hard work of our staff team, Trustees, support from the Community and others in helping us re-mobilise . For all, Lockdown has been hugely challenging but I could not be prouder of all associated with the Charity for rising to the challenge. There is much more work to do. 

We realise that you may have a number of questions so please find our FAQs below. We have also put together our Covid19 Risk Assessment to make the building, staff and young people as safe as possible and that can be found here.

 Finally, I must say thank you to all our young members. We have missed you all. Thanks for your patience, diligence and eagerness to get back in the centre! We have thought of you every single day through this global pandemic. Your voices have not been heard enough over Lockdown. Your voices are your power. Unitas is for you . Your Voice, Your Power, Your Unitas. Always. 

Tony

FAQs

What is our Unitas 2.0 plan?

During lockdown we have been providing remote support and maintaining interaction online and via telephone calls, in group Zoom sessions and 1-2-1 sessions with as many young people as possible.
We are planning the re-opening opening of the Youth Zone building on 3rd August for the delivery of pre- booked activity, invite only sessions and capped ‘ turn up on the door’ sessions.

Strict capacity management, social distancing and hygiene measures will be in place that are in-line with guidance from the government, Public Health England, the NHS, Health and Safety Executive and wider stakeholders including Barnet Council. Measures may involve staggering and rotating attendance to maintain safe capacity levels, increased outdoor activities where possible and a limit on the amount of time young people spend at the Youth Zone.

The National Youth Agency guidance allows us to work with groups of up 15 people, with multiple groups using different parts of the building and outside space.

All plans will be closely monitored and maybe adjusted in response to any learning and external factors.

Unitas 2.0 also considers a blended delivery of provision for young people including Outreach work, Satellite hub delivery, Mentoring and online activities.

How are services and provision going to change?

The key matter to bear in mind is that most activities now need to be booked in advance through our booking portal. For young people that cannot do this, they and their families can drop by Unitas and speak to our reception team who will be happy to assist booking them on.

When will the normal Youth Zone programme resume?

We are constantly reviewing the situation, taking advice from the government and Public Health England and are hopeful we will be able to operate our normal timetable with maximum capacity in the near future.

With your plans, who will be able to access invite only and how have you arrived at that decision?

We will be working with young people and their guardians to understand individual circumstances and this will inform who will attend. For some young people may be invited to attend our Young Leaders programme or our United Youth group.

Young people, parents or guardians can also request to attend the Youth Zone by contacting: enquiries@unitasyouthzone.org or DM’ing us over our social media and we will get back to you.

How many young people will be able to access face-to-face provision (indoor or outdoor) at any one time?

National Youth Agency guidance allows us to work with groups of up 15 people, with multiple groups using different parts of the building and outside space.

All plans will be closely monitored and maybe adjusted in response to any learning and external factors.

What hours will the face-to-face provision be available, and where will it take place?

Youth Zone opening hours will be the hours listed for our activities on our booking portal, however there are often staff in the building working either side so do drop by or call if you have any queries.
At this time it will not be possible for parents, guardians and young people not signed up for sessions in advance to come into the Youth Zone, unless it is for a ‘ turn up on the door’ session.

What activities will young people be able to take part in?

Whilst the offer will be different to accommodate social distancing, young people will still be able to thoroughly enjoy a varied and fun offer each time they are welcomed into Unitas from arts, sports and recreational activities. Their favourite spaces such as our sports hall, rooftop pitch, music studio , gym and more will all be bookable.

Will my child be able to attend with their friends?

This will be possible if your child and their friends have been contacted to attend the Youth Zone and/or they have booked on for the same activity. However, they will need to maintain social distancing.

Is it still 50p per visit, and will you be accepting cash?

No. We appreciate that it is a difficult time for many families and will therefore be waiving the 50p entrance fee until further notice.

We have also frozen all £5 membership renewals until further notice. However, new members will still be required to pay £5 membership for the year.

What measures have you taken to ensure your plan is safe and how will you be managing social distancing and hygiene measures?

We have conducted a detailed Covid19 Risk Assessment which can be found HERE and modified aspects of service delivery and building use in line with restrictions and guidance.
We have marked out 2-metre spacings within the Youth Zone to help young people and employees maintain this distance. We will remain vigilant and enforce this rule as best we can.

A screen has been put in place at reception. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building and regular handwashing will be encouraged.

There will be regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by young people and staff. Deep cleans are scheduled daily for when the Youth Zone is closed.

We will continue to follow guidance from the government, NHS, Public Health England, Health and Safety Executive and wider stakeholders.

All plans will be closely monitored and may adjust in response to internal and external factors.

What will be the process for my child who is coming in to attend a session?

Juniors attending holiday provision will be invited onto the programme with set entry and exit times, confirmed prior to attending. Parents can utilise the drop off zone outside if travelling by car. Collection will be from our side gate.

We ask that parents and carers take responsibility to ensure young people are well before coming to the Youth Zone.

If desired we will be providing PPE to complement social distancing and coronavirus measures implemented within the building.

Young people will leave at staggered intervals, with collection and pick up by parents taking place through our side entrance. A member of the team will be available to support young people

Will young people be able to or be required to wear masks?

In-line with current government guidance, young people can choose to wear a mask if they wish as long as they do not have any health conditions that would prevent them from doing so.

Have you made changes to the building and how it is used?

We have put screen up at reception and have mapped out 2 metre markings within the Youth Zone to help young people and employees maintain this distance.

We’ve also stopped free roaming of the building and young people will be kept in their groups with specific break and lunch times and allocated toilets. There will be hand sanitiser available throughout the building.

Who has been consulted regarding the plan?

The plan has been created using guidance from the government, National Youth Agency, NHS, Public Health England, Health and Safety Executive and our wider stakeholders including our Trustees.

Have workers and volunteers received additional training?

Yes. All staff and volunteers have received additional training and are aware of our Covid19 policy addendums.

Will workers and volunteers be wearing PPE such as masks?

In-line with government guidance, workers and volunteers can choose to wear a mask if they wish as long as they do not have any health conditions that would prevent them from doing so.

Will workers and volunteers be regularly tested?

In-line with the current government guidance staff do not need to be routinely tested.

We request that staff, volunteers and young people do not attend the Youth Zone if they, or someone in their household, display any Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. They should follow government guidance on self-isolation, using the track and trace service and being tested.

What will you do if someone involved in a face-to-face session or one of their family members/guardians is showing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

You should self-isolate in line with government guidance and not attend the Youth Zone in any of the following scenarios:

· you have any symptoms of coronavirus(a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
· you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
· you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
· someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
· you’re told by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with a person with coronavirus
In line with government guidance the Youth Zone will maintain records of all people who enter the building and will share these with NHS Test and Trace where requested. We will work with all relevant bodies to decide on appropriate actions should it become apparent that someone involved in a face-to-face session or one of their family members/guardians is showing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Q: Who should I speak to if I want more information about Unitas’ 2.0 plans?
You can contact our Head of Youth Work Kyle Blackwood on kyle.blackwood@unitasyouthzone.org or our Deputy Head of Youth Work, Nathan Tuft on Nathan.tuft@unitasyouthzone.org. Alternatively drop us a line on 0208 075 5888

Additional useful guidance links:
NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Government guidance and support: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The Mix: https://www.themix.org.uk

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