Open for Business - YMCA Key College
The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge disruption to the economy, impacting businesses of all sizes across every sector.
Despite the seven Connect Derby buildings being closed for 10 weeks, our enterprising tenants have stayed open for business, finding different ways of working and promoting their goods and services. Here's a snapshot of some of the great work they’ve been doing.
What products and services do you offer?
We offer training and education to young people in Derby City and Derby county. We offer a variety of courses and full-time study programmes and provide alternative provision for school children across the city.
How are you doing things differently during lockdown?
Although our catering business and catering provision at Marble Hall have been closed since the lock down and has had a big impact on us, we have continued to deliver training to our students through Zoom meetings and on-site support at our other centres.
We have continued to support all our learners, offering limited time slots on-site to catch up with work, supporting with home deliveries of unit work and collections. We have also offered our learners food packages to support them and their families too.
Many of our students found the initial lockdown extremely difficult and this began to have a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing early on. Since adapting our timetables to incorporate safe social distancing and working patterns and through the introduction of new technologies, we have slowly begun to provide our learners with a sense of normality and routine.
Despite not being able to complete practical cooking sessions we have delivered numerous sessions via email and social media platforms. We have set up a new secure, private Facebook page for our students to join and interact with College and their peers and have even provided students with laptops and phones to support them with their home learning.
What have you learned about yourself and your team during this time?
We have learnt how truly dedicated our team are in supporting our young people. We have learnt to adapt to new ways of working and how useful social media and technology can be even when trying to communicate with the hardest to reach students.
We have also learnt how truly important routine can be for general mental health and well-being and how some form of normality and regularity can really help in supporting someone’s mental health.
What positives (if any) have come from working differently?
We have learnt how we can support our learners better outside of the main college campus and have increased the support systems we have in place for students who cannot attend college for whatever reason. Our team has been excellent in going above and beyond to support our students through these tough times.