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About Jon Beech

I joined LASSN as the Director in December 2013. I've a particular interest in mental health, ethnicity, and helping people make sense of their world and their community.

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Guidance for LASSN Volunteers during Tier 5 aka Lockdown 3, from 6th January 2021

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2021-01-06T17:38:20+00:006th January, 2021|Categories: Befriending, Connecting Opportunities, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Headline posts, Volunteering|

Although we’re all still getting used to what Tier 5 means – it’s clear that we’ll be in it for at least a couple of months, so it feels right to communicate our thinking on things (so far) with a smile and a sigh and to hopefully provide some useful resources to help you in your volunteering. We’re really grateful to everyone who continues to give their time and support to the asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants we know. Your kindness, compassion and willingness to bend and flex are massively appreciated. Thank you on behalf of everyone that LASSN supports, the staff team, Trustees and everyone else who donates their time, money and goodwill. Jon Beech, Director What are the new Tier 5 Rules?  Here are the Government’s “Stay at Home” rules What does this mean for volunteering at LASSN? The Government summarise their current restrictions as message as “Stay Home”. We want our advice to be equally clear and consistent. So we are advising everyone - volunteers and the people they support - to be extremely cautious and to act as if they have the virus, and to avoid meeting up for the duration of the Tier 5 restrictions. The Government rules say I can leave the house for volunteering – so why can’t I meet up? Yes, it’s possible to argue this – but the situation is complicated: different volunteers and clients have different clinical vulnerabilities. (People from migrant backgrounds remain over-represented in the number of people contracting and dying of COVID). The rules for meeting up – even socially distanced and outside – are also not simple. For example, you can walk together, but you can’t sit down on a bench together. The person you wish to meet may not be able to bring children/dependents with them. There are also risks associated with travelling to and from an outdoors meeting place. If you believe someone really needs contact in person, please discuss this with your Volunteers Manager and we will work out how they can get the support they need. This is so upsetting and frustrating. Yes. It is. We are trying to do everything we can to help to support people as best we can, but the new strain of COVID makes it even more difficult than it was in March 2020. We also have a duty of care towards our volunteers and staff – so we cannot and will not ask you to put you (or the people you live with) at extra risk. So – what can we do? Staying in touch by phone is really really important. Texts and messaging are really good ways of staying in touch, and are sometimes easier than awkward conversations. Over Christmas we doubled the amount of support with phone costs from £10 per month to £20 per month. (there are PAYGO SIMs with unlimited calls/data/texts for £20 per month). We will continue to provide all LASSN volunteers and clients with up to £20 a month towards [...]

English At Home – A Review of 2020

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2021-01-06T17:15:14+00:0018th December, 2020|Categories: English at Home|

Each year, we write a summary of what we’ve been up to at English at Home, for our funders at The National Lottery. This year, we thought we’d share it a bit more widely.  It’s full of stories and inspiration.  Thank you and congratulations to all the learners, tutors, volunteers and supporters who make English at Home what it is. We are proud to know you all, and celebrate your immense achievements.  Tina and David 

Guidance for LASSN volunteers, at the end of Lockdown 2.0: 30th November 2020

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2021-01-06T17:16:13+00:0030th November, 2020|Categories: Headline posts, Volunteering|

When Leeds exits Lockdown 2.0 later this week, we will enter Tier Three or Very High Alert. Leeds City Council have published a detailed description of the restrictions in place, based on the National Guidance. They have also circulated a summary note here  for third sector organisations. In most respects, the local restrictions will go back to the way things were at the end of September 2020 - LASSN’s guidance to volunteers remains unchanged to the guidance we issued then. LASSN’s advice is Please do not meet up with the person you are matched with until the restrictions are lifted. Please maintain contact with the person you support by phone or by computer Please make sure they are getting the money available from LASSN to help with communications costs If you have worries or concerns about the person you are matched with, or think there is a need to see them face to face, please discuss this with your Volunteers Manager or the Director ASAP. All our numbers and emails are on lassn.org.uk/contact Some Leeds organisations like PAFRAS, Meeting Point and RETAS are partially open for face to face contact. We support them in opening to deliver their critical services. We remain acutely aware of the risks our volunteers and clients may pose to one another, as well as the difficulty and sadness brought about by sustained isolation and loneliness.  As a staff team we are also very frustrated by the inability to see or meet people. We are trying to strike a difficult balance, which does not amplify the risks faced by anyone connected with LASSN. LASSN will be providing all clients (and volunteers) with double phone credit for December 2020 (£20 instead of £10) to reflect the need to stay in touch with others over this difficult period. This is sufficient for unlimited PAYGO phonecalls, texts and data. I am sorry that the end of lockdown will not result in a change to our guidance, or allow for greater opportunities to meet face to face. I know a lot of you will feel frustrated and let down by this. But I feel sure that when Leeds enters Tier two (and eventually Tier one and No Tier whatsoever) that we be in a position to start facilitating face to face meetings once again – and will issue new guidance as quickly as we can. Thanks once again for your continued support and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, queries or comments. We hope you and those close to you remain safe and well Yours, Jon, Director 07845 298047 [email protected] (and Anna, Andrew, David, Emily, Hala, Jo, Rawand, and Tina too.)  

A new Guide to Befriending during the Pandemic

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2021-01-06T17:16:49+00:0030th November, 2020|Categories: Befriending, Headline posts|

Tina Brocklebank, Volunteers Manager writes: Since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, LASSN has been responding to the changing and emerging needs of Befrienders and Befriendees. This booklet is a way of capturing the key things we have learned during this time and to pass on ideas and suggestions. LASSN would be nothing without YOU and the time and care you give. As we prepare for a COVID winter we are really aware of the extra challenges this will present for us all; thank you so much for all you do and we hope this resource will help you in your Befriending role.

LASSN’s Annual General Meeting and Celebration: Wednesday 11th November 2020, 19:00 – 20:00

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2020-10-16T12:32:16+01:0016th October, 2020|Categories: Headline posts|

Although the Pandemic restrictions mean we can't meet up in person, we'd still love to meet with you, to share even more about what we've been up to over the last year. As usual, we hope it will be fun, entertaining, informative, and a chance for us to share some of the challenges and triumphs of the last 12 months. As well as meeting other our supporters, volunteers and well-wishers from across the city, we hope you will find out more about the last year at LASSN, and the progress we have made towards securing our aims, hear about our plans and priorities for 2020/2021 ask questions vote for Trustees to join our Board cast your eyes over our finances and hear about how we've secured and spent money appoint our Accountants for the coming year Sadly due to the logistics of delivering food to everyone at home, it will be self- catering this year.  How to join us Please click on the Meeting link:http://bit.ly/lassnagm20 If you are prompted, the Meeting ID is 816 6912 7820 and the Meeting code is: 12345 If you have not used Zoom before, or a bit uncertain about how things will work, we will be having a practice run at 18:00 that evening, to make sure your camera and microphones are working ok. We'd love to see you, so if you can, please come and join us.

A new Guide to teaching English at Home

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2020-10-14T21:46:02+01:0014th October, 2020|Categories: English at Home, Headline posts, Resouces, Volunteering|

Since the Pandemic  - and the importance of keeping socially distant - we've been trying to get as many of our resources as we can online. You may have seen the huge library of ESOL resources English at Home have produced for teachers and learners of English (we can never thank our volunteers Julie and Clive enough for this.) We've also been busy trying to support our (learners) and volunteer tutors to get online, embrace Zoom, and learn how to unmute and share screens. It's not been easy. A lot of trial and error, and a lot of frustration - but we're getting there, we think. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we now have a small stack of laptops and smartphones we can loan or give away to folks who need them., and we can provide a modest amount of wireless broadband each month to people without. We've tried to capture some of our learning in this new resource - designed for new English at Home Volunteers - but we think - useful to anyone trying to teach English online right now. Have a look and see what you make of it. If you think it's any good, please use it, or forward it on to someone you know. As ever, we're proud to share what we have with anyone who might find it useful. David is responsible for this excellent piece of work btw (although he's far too modest to say so himself.)

Revised guidance for LASSN volunteers, following the additonal social contact restrictions 25th September 2020

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2020-09-30T14:57:26+01:0030th September, 2020|Categories: Headline posts, Volunteering|

As you will be aware, Leeds City council announced new restrictions on Friday 25th September, in an attempt to slow the further spread of Covid-19 They said “In order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus you must not: host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas unless they’re in your support bubble” LASSN's advice is Please do not meet up with the person you are matched with until the restrictions are lifted. Please maintain contact with the person you support by phone or by computer Please make sure they are getting the £10 a month towards their communications costs from LASSN If you have worries or concerns about the person you are matched with, or think there is a need to see them face to face, please discuss this with your Volunteers Manager or the Director ASAP. All our numbers and emails are on org.uk/contact We remain massively grateful for your support and your patience through this difficult and confusing time. It is hugely frustrating not being able to see folks we care about: but we owe it to them, and to you, and to everyone in Leeds to play our part in halting the spread of the virus. We will be in touch as soon as the restrictions are lifted about the possible ways of seeing people again in person. Thanks once again and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, queries or comments. Yours, Jon, Director 07845 298047 [email protected] (and Andrew, David, Emily, Jo, Rawand, Riley, and Tina too.)

LASSN, volunteering and the loosening of Lockdown

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2020-07-25T15:01:00+01:0025th July, 2020|Categories: Volunteering|

We have been tremendously touched and impressed by the way LASSN volunteers have changed and adapted the way they offer support under social distancing. We’re particularly grateful for their flexibility and willingness to embrace new ways of volunteering  - phone, video and so on – even when it has not been easy. With the loosening of lockdown measures, we are concerned that you are no volunteers are exposed to any unnecessary risks in the course of their volunteering. The virus has not gone away, and still poses a danger to everyone. We still think Volunteers are best placed to decide how they want to volunteer We want to reassure volunteers that it is completely fine to continue to volunteer in a virtual non-face to face way. There are no expectations from LASSN that volunteers will want or need to meet with the person they are matched with. We will continue to try and support people to volunteer in the way that feels right and safe for them. Similarly, if a volunteer wishes to meet up with the person they support, we are happy to encourage this too – so long as volunteers have considered the following questions before they arrange to meet the person they are matched with. We’d prefer to have a conversation with volunteers about their answers before they make contact. Volunteers can do this by phoning your Volunteer Manager, or by attending one of our Monday Zoom Meetings. This conversation is the way we will support volunteers to manage the risks of meeting face to face (or side by side). It will be unique to them and their match. If a volunteer is unable to speak with a Volunteer Manager, or Jon (the Director), or they are unable to attend the Monday Zoom meetings at 11am (pw: 627340)  – we would like them to email and confirm that they have read and thought through the answers to the following questions. It is really important that we have a note of our conversations with volunteers, so that we can assure ourselves, our Governance and our insurers that we have taken reasonable steps to protect the people who volunteer with us, and the people they support. If volunteers choose to meet with the person they support without speaking with us first, this may cause difficulties for LASSN, if something goes wrong. Finally, LASSN recommends wearing a facemask when in close proximity to others, to help control the reduce the spread of c-19. We have mailed out an emergency pack of face coverings to all the people we currently support, along with instructions on how to make a face covering. We ask our volunteers to use their expenses to claim back the cost of buying reusable fabric facemasks for them and the person/people they support, up to the value of £3 each (They can be bought cheaply on ebay or made at home). Some questions we'd like volunteers to consider, before deciding to meet up Consider your health and the health of the person [...]

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