Oldham youth charity Mahdlo Youth Zone has confirmed some changes to the way its supporting young people amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Mahdlo is a registered charity and state-of-the-art Youth Zone in the heart of Oldham for eight to 19 year olds (up to 25 for young people with a disability) which is open seven days a week.
A number of businesses have already had to shut their doors completely while schools are closed to the majority of pupils from today (Monday) with social distancing measures in place.
In a detailed statement outlining its plans, CEO Mike Doran says: "In light of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we want to let you know how Mahdlo Youth Zone will be adapting our offer to be able to continue to support and respond to the changing needs of our young people and our community.
"Our key objective is to ensure Young People and staff are safe and help reduce opportunities for the virus to spread while recognising that with school, college and many young peoples’ activities closed or restricted some young people may have nowhere to go. From Friday 20th March we’re changing the way in which we organise our activities for young people to a more structured and targeted programme ensuring we continue to give young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.
"From Friday 20th March we’re changing the way in which we organise our activities for young people to a more structured and targeted programme ensuring we continue to give young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.
"We will work with young people every day between 12pm – 2pm as a Lunch Club, during which our members can come in, chat with staff, and grab a bite to eat. This will be by invite only.
"We will also be running an evening session which will run during our usual times for Juniors and Seniors however our gym, sports hall, and other high risk areas will not be accessible for the time being. These sessions will be invite only. We hope this will ensure we are able to continue to provide a service to our members in a safe and structured environment.
"We also continue to provide a district based service as well as 121 mentoring and counselling. We have been busy coming up with many exciting and innovative ways in which we can use our online presence and social media platforms to keep young people and their family entertained with a variety of games and challenges to do at home. So please keep an eye out for these on our social channels.
"We are working closely with Oldham Council and other local charities to coordinate community support. This morning our team have been picking up supplies from across the borough in support of Oldham Foodbank.
"With this in mind we wish to draw your attention to our appeal for any kind donations of non-perishable foods, sanitary products, hygiene products, toilet rolls etc. to support our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people & families who are struggling in this unprecedented national crisis. To find out more please click here.
"Finally, we want to say a huge thank you to you. Your support for Mahdlo means so much and during these unprecedented times, it is valued and appreciated now more than ever. We are incredibly grateful to everyone for your patience and understanding and will be updating you as the situation changes over the coming weeks."