Community Engagement

Birstall tackles education and loneliness during pandemic

Birstall tackles education and loneliness during pandemic

Community Sustainability, Global Giving

Young learners, Hasan (L) and Maariyah (R), at Field Lane Primary School, Batley, benefited from the creative activities they could undertake thanks to the resources.

Amid the coronavirus crisis in the United Kingdom (UK), PPG joined forces, once again, with More In Common, Batley & Spen (MIC), an organization with whom they have formed strong links in recent years.

Operating as part of The Jo Cox Foundation, MIC’s vision is for ‘a kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognize that we have more in common than that which divides us.’

This vision became reality when the pandemic struck. Throughout the crisis, MIC has worked in partnership with the local council, charities and voluntary groups to provide a coordinated local response to community members most in need. Donations, made through PPG’s emerging needs grants program, enabled the group to meet some of the most acute needs of vulnerable local people during the early stages of lockdown.

Using resources such as math and science workbooks, puzzle books, coloring books, crayons and paints, and guided by staff from each of the 23 schools in the immediate area, MIC’s representatives and volunteers assisted more than 200 of the neediest families. In addition to this, through connections with the Royal Voluntary Service and a local food bank, over 200 older people who were either self-isolating or shielding, received jigsaws, puzzle books and other activities through a safe yet personal doorstep-delivery service.  

Kim Leadbeater, ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation is pictured with resources and educational materials given to each of the 23 schools in Batley & Birstall to help some of the most vulnerable families.

Kim Leadbeater, ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation said, “Alongside ensuring people’s basic needs were being met, we wanted to provide resources to bring a smile to people’s faces. On behalf of MIC, our volunteers and clients, I would like to thank PPG for their generous contribution to our important community work at this difficult time.”

“I delivered some of the resources to the families I noted had not engaged in the home learning as well as I would have liked,” said Mrs. Sarah Palmer, head teacher, Manorfield Infant & Nursery School, Batley. “The children were so excited about the resources that were given to them. They were of a very high quality and accessible to the younger children.”

Matthew Baines, business unit director, trade, Architectural Coatings UK & Ireland said, “We are delighted to be supporting MIC with their crucial work in the hub of our community. In these very challenging times, we believe that now, more than ever, it is important to stay close and to help support the very neighborhoods where many of our associates live."

As the ongoing effects of the virus highlights the community’s growing concerns around loneliness, social isolation and mental health, PPG’s grant is enabling MIC to fast track a number of programs to assist with these crucial matters.

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