Community – Is this a word you would include in your summary for the last 10 months? I think for Phase Trust so many things have changed during this time and I am proud to say it has been a privilege to have had the opportunities we have had within our communities. We are so blessed to have worked alongside so many amazing schools, businesses, charities, churches, parents and, of course, children and young people in this time.

One of my highlights and joys from 2020 was the relationships we managed to build up within our local community. As restrictions forced us to focus more on our own doorstep it opened our eyes to new ideas and dreams for the work we do. We have always been passionate about our local community but the opportunities to serve our area in this time across the whole team has been incredible. 

I want to talk about our Outreach and Detached work. For years we have done youth hubs and Detached work and have seen some incredible things during that time, but I would say we have reached a new level. The engagement we have had over the last 10 months walking around the streets of Halesowen has been heart-breaking on one side, seeing the needs of families in our community but also heart-warming as we have been a part of filling some of the gaps we identified.
So due to our Youth hubs having to close their doors, we started doing outreach work to continue engaging with the young people we had relationships with. We thought it was important to continue the connection where we could and some of this did also happen online. It’s been great that we have been able to continue in partnership with LifeCentral Church through the outreach work. 

Our detached work had already started to develop a more specific focus on engaging and working with young people who are at risk of being exploited. This has become increasingly needed during the pandemic due to young people’s risks increasing. This not only has been noticed by people living and working in the local area but also by our neighbourhood police and local authority. The recognition of the work we have been doing with these young people in this time has grown enormously and we are being asked to contribute to wider conversations which has been a huge privilege. 

We have supported young people that have been missing, hungry, sad, lonely, confused, at risk, frustrated and angry. We have found ourselves in many different situations with young people where we have just needed to be a listening ear, but have also needed at times to step in and help support them.

We have also built relationships with many staff who make our local area function, and it’s been great to get alongside people and work together to make our community a safer place, and not just from COVID!

We are excited about where this work is taking us and look forward to the opportunities and adventures that are coming our way. This really has been a hard 10 months but it is helpful to reflect and look back at what we can be thankful for and remember some of the good that has come out of this time.

Hannah Hughes
Head of Community Engagement