• Abdul Aziz Toki

Celebrating CLYD's 25th year of dedicated community service

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

In our first blog post of the new website, we reflect on developing a holistic approach for our community while celebrating a rich history of commitment with hope and gratitude.

We had imagined celebrating entry into our 25th year by bringing together the hundreds of people we’ve worked with in our lifespan but in the context of COVID, as with all our projects this past year, we’ve had to respond with an immediate change in approach, protecting the community we’d love to be with in person by celebrating and communing from afar. We owe a wealth of debt and gratitude to those that have been consistently supporting us throughout the years and we look forward to many more, growing and strengthening with all of those around us. We hope to continue to do as much as we can in the coming years to best serve all of you, and we hope you continue to come with us as we do.

This past year has been a challenge for us as it has been for many. For the network of more than 300 young people in our service, we’ve seen heights of difficulty with many of the struggles we’ve been facing in our everyday lives being compounded upon by rising unemployment, debt and hunger. In distributing our COVID packs earlier this year with the support of pot funding and also in putting together collections of ingredients with recipes for families to cook at home, we’ve tried to help address the practical realities of a lack of material resources while also contributing to the formation of healthy relationships at home where we’ve been spending much more of our time recently but there is still much more to do to. Where funding has been limited and contact has been constrained, we’ve adapted our approaches, formed new policies and changed in line with government guidelines to meet the challenge but we’re not out of it yet and we truly do appreciate all the help and support you’ve given us.

As we do go into our next year, we take much of what we’ve learned with us into a more holistic approach than the focus on young people we began with in our early years. Through informal consultations with professionals across psychology, education, the medical profession and experts in design and communication, we’ve formed a broader approach that supports families as a whole and across generations in our wider contexts. In the coming year, we’re more intimately targeting mental health in long term projects that seek to create long term benefits in a meaningful way.

Our innovative, new Family Mentoring project leads the charge with help from our committed network of professionals to provide a layered service with a range of highly desired outcomes that not only strengthen the individual family unit but that also help to connect families, widening the support networks that those in our community have become distanced from in these times of lockdown and isolation. As we look to piloting our original program, we hope that our reflections and analyses can help us in making the project a leading venture going forward into this new year, and we hope too that our funders and our supporters will be impressed and comforted by the outcomes of our services.

We are also looking proudly back at the achievements not only of our last year but also of the last 25 years with a brand-new website that we’ll be updating throughout the year. Our new blog will celebrate the range of projects we’ve run over the years and many of those that continue to run including our separate Bollywood Dance classes for women and children, our healthy cooking sessions for children and families and our emergency support provision in times of need. Both the website and its blog will keep you updated on our developing approach to the mental health needs of our community and we hope that we are able to represent the holistic work we do, celebrating the growth of our community and the tireless commitment we have for one another.

Although we haven’t been able to come together in person to celebrate, and although we are having to postpone any communal gatherings to a time when it’s safe for us to do so, we do hope that we can do what we can to help our community feel proud of the many years we’ve all spent together in trying to do what we can for each other. Many thanks and an eternal appreciation are due to the volunteers, staff and trustees without whose support, we would be unable to sustain our services.

With gratitude,

Abdul Aziz Toki

Director of Central London Youth Development

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