Dear parents and carers,
We hope you and your family are all well and taking care at this time. I wanted to get in touch to update you on what MASKK have been doing since we sadly needed to close our doors to children in March.
As many schools are opening wider, increasing their numbers, we have received queries from parents about our After School and Holiday Playcare reopening. As an Ofsted registered provision we continue to follow the advice and guidance from the Department of Education, at present this still means we are still unable to open for wrap around childcare because we are not based in a school. Unfortunately the DfE have not given further details or a timescale when this might be reviewed. The full DfE guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#considerations-for-settings
We will continue to monitor this guidance and we will get in touch as soon as it changes. In the meantime Jo and Kirsty W are researching, completing risk assessments and working out new creative ways of working while implementing social distancing ready for when guidance changes.
As a charity ran provision we have always based our fees and booking policy around what is best for families, this means unlike other providers we fundraise to subsidise our fees, we charge no retainers, we issue refunds for appropriately canceled sessions and we allow families to build up arrears.
This means since 23rd March MASKK’s out of school provision has generated no new income and arrears still stand at over £5,000, creating a significant financial challenge. Therefore to help us through this time we have made changes to our staffing and operations to help us continue to support our community in new ways and sustain the organisation until a time we can once again fully open. These changes include:
- We will be contacting families with an outstanding balance over the coming weeks, once we reconcile all vouchers, to set up payment plans to clear debts. Payments can currently be made by logging in to MagicBooking, bank transfer or via paypal, using the paypal link here you can click ‘make this monthly’ to repeat the payments and spread your debt. Please email me to let me know if this is how you chose to make a payment. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE SECURE PAYPAL PAGE.
- We have redeployed staff so that their wages can be paid from different income streams. I am currently on secondment to Manor and Castle Development Trust as a Healthy Holidays Co-ordinator and some other team members are supporting the creation and distribution of our activity packs funded through grants and donations. A small number of our team remain furloughed.
- We continue to seek grants and donations to support our community work, we are grateful to Matrec, Great Places and South Yorkshire Community Foundation who have helped so far. This week thanks to Aviva we have launched a crowd fund appeal that their staff and public can contribute to. The link for which is here: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/maskk-support, but if we do not reach the target of £1,500 we get £0.
Another important update to share is that we have temporarily relocated. Our landlord, Manor Church and Community Project, have successfully received grants to upgrade the building further. Temple Park Centre will be getting new toilets (and more of them), corridors and a few other improvements that will be fantastic! While we are closed seemed the perfect time to get this work done.
Therefore we have moved our resources and office to MaTReC (Manor Training & Resource Centre) 304-308 Prince of Wales Rd, Sheffield S2 1FF. We have also informed Ofsted in case the guidance changes and we are able to open some provision. MaTReC are an adult training provider that offer provision our side of our hours and so seemed the perfect fit. It remains a maximum of a mile walk from schools and has multiple rooms and a secure back garden to allow us to implement social distancing if we are able to open. Nicky and the team at MaTRec have been really welcoming and helpful and the space is great.
If you have not already done so please check out our online shop where you can order MASKK Activity Packs. It’s taken us a while but new packs will start to be put up more regularly to help you pass the time and be creative. Please don’t let finance be a barrier, if you live in the local area please select a free one and free drop off delivery. Visit https://www.maskk.org.uk/shop/ for more details and to place an order.
On a final note, we know many families are in different positions and situations, but we are still here for you! Jo or Kirsty W can be contacted on 0114 2395739 (it will forward to a mobile) or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything we can do to help. Including food bank referrals or getting some customised activity packs dropped off. Jo and Kirsty W have been planning an online Zoom programme of activities too and you’ll all get an invite once ready, they can’t wait to see the children again.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or queries.