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CCT Update | Collaboration, Co-operation, and Community

For Exeter City Community Trust, 2020 was a year of collaboration, co-operation and partnership.

Along with so many people and organisations we were dramatically affected by coronavirus and the majority of our income-generating activities, such as running events and holiday clubs, were brought to an abrupt halt in March.

During the first lockdown we joined the city council’s Exeter Community Wellbeing campaign and began collecting and delivering shopping, prescriptions and emergency food parcels to shielding and vulnerable people across the city.

Over the last nine months we have;

· Spent more than 2,500 hours working to support the community through the collection and delivery of food, prescriptions and emergency food parcels.

· Collected more than £17,500 of shopping

· Distributed 981 emergency food parcels

· Collected and delivered more than 100 prescriptions

· Delivered 800 free activity packs to lonely or isolated people in Exeter.

Jamie Vittles, chief executive of CITY Community Trust, said: ‘We have continued to support many people from the initial work that we did during lockdown delivering food and prescriptions. It quickly became apparent that we were providing more than just a delivery service, for many we may have been the only people they saw from one week to the next, and our team would often stop for a chat and to check in on them.’

The charity went on to deliver the Tackling Loneliness Together project, in partnership with the EFL Trust and the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The programme saw us connecting with 796 lonely or isolated people across the city, through phone calls, activity packs and a cross-generational pen pal scheme linking school children with older people.

In the summer we were pleased to open up our holiday clubs and were so impressed with how all our young participants understood and complied with all our covid-safety regulations and still had lots of fun! We also delivered our NCS programme, although it did look a little different this year, but it was fantastic to work with Exeter College and deliver programmes for their students.

We embraced virtual delivery with Aaron, Callum and Tom keeping youngsters occupied on a Saturday morning with Football Fun live and we held our first virtual running event, Take Five, which even saw participation from HMP Exeter.

The Santa Run became virtual this year as well and we had an incredible number of people signing up – more that 1,500 – and sharing their experience over social media. It was a brilliant reflection on our community.

In a true spirit of collaboration, we have been working with Exeter City Futures, the Ted Wragg Trust and the Exeter Learning Academy Trust to identify children who may be at risk holiday hunger this Christmas. We’ve received amazing support from local, regional and national organisations, including Mecca Bingo, Amazon, Tesco and the Co-operative Group. Crediton Community Bookshop even donated books, so we could give every child a book.

And we are very hopeful that our running events will go ahead later on in 2021. Our popular half marathon will be virtual this year, it takes place on the weekend of February 13 and 14, but we are hopeful our other events, including our flagship Exeter Marathon will go ahead in person.

Pete Ferlie, race director, said: ‘The Exeter Half Marathon is always a popular event in runners’ calendars and continuing to support our running community is extremely important to us. Because of the uncertainty around covid restrictions we took the decision to make this event virtual; we’ve already seen lots of sign ups and look forward to seeing even more and giving people something to train for over the coming winter months.’

We’ve also introduced a new race, the 10k river run. Have a look here at all the events in our calendar for the year ahead.

Looking ahead, we are progressing programmes to support the community as it continues to rebuild following the effects of the pandemic. We are developing projects which support people with retraining and education, as well as mental health support and reducing isolation.

We would like to thank everyone for their support this year, we have seen so much genuine collaboration with people working to a common goal and are proud to have played a small part in this.

Jamie and the team from CITY Community Trust

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