Just 4 days after having to postpone its face to face activities due to the coronavirus, on Monday JLGB goes virtual by offering activities through its new, free virtual weekly groups. The online sessions are open to different age groups every evening Monday – Thursday.
“They’ll be fun, games and creativity for the younger ones, skills and masterclasses based for Years 6-9, and discussion groups and leadership training for Years 10-12,” said chief executive Neil Martin. “Our committed volunteers around the country will switch to become online hosts and moderators to ensure great quality programmes and the highest level of safeguarding.”
With 80 sessions to fill, he said the charity had had offers of help from professionals, performers and celebrities. “We’re working on it now to fill every slot. They’ll be accessible to every Jewish young person across the UK.
“Sessions will include learning magic tricks, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training such as first aid and map reading, alongside sessions on photo-editing, app-design, coding and mindfulness” he said.
Speakers include rabbis, communal leaders, industry experts, footballers, puppeteers, and “a couple of celebrities” but Martin said it was open to “any young person or parent who has a skill to offer, or who may be a known figure, stuck at home climbing the walls, please consider giving us half an hour to teach life skills and inspire thousands of children”.
Reflecting on the wider situation, he said: “At a fundamental level this is going to help with loneliness if young people are stuck at home for weeks and it’s going to give parents some respite, we may even offer parent sessions.
“It’ll be evening sessions to start with, but we’ve already been called upon to also offer activities during the day. Cutting edge conference technology enables us to make it interactive, creating facilitated break-out rooms, for example… It’s all happening as we speak.”
He added: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It’s amazing how quickly our staff and volunteers have been able to do this. It’s a worrying time for people right now, so we hope to give a bit of fun, inspiration and skills, so kids can connect and still have a social life.
- JLGB virtual groups start this Monday from 6.30 and you can register at www.jlgb.org/virtual.