Giving Strength: CDEC continues to support schools and communities through COVID

Giving Strength: CDEC continues to support schools and communities through COVID

Jan 6, 2021

Through the summer lockdown and into the winter, CDEC has continued to provide resources, like our weekly email of activities for teachers and families, and innovative new courses to support schools and community groups – but now online.

This has undoubtably been a tricky time for everyone, but in particular for our schools and teachers as well as the young people in Cumbria’s communities. We at CDEC have witnessed individuals and groups pulling together and staying strong for those they support. And we are proud that we have been part of the network to help people do this.

Responding to the Black Lives Matter movement

The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened our responsibilities to ensure we, and our younger generation, treat everyone fairly and remove what might be unseen obstacles out of the way of black, brown and minority ethnic groups (who are more adversely affected by COVID-19 than other groups) and supporting them to be confident and assured individuals.

Our Same Storm, Different Boats project brings together seven Cumbrian organisations to build partnerships and develop ideas of sustainable ways to help and support Cumbria’s black, brown and minority ethnic people navigate through and beyond COVID.

Within our communities, we are also working with 11- to 13-year-olds: in Barrow-in-Furness the Reporting the Storm project is helping young people express their lockdown experiences; and in Carlisle the Bubble and Me project is bringing together young black or brown individuals to build confidence.

Compassionate and Restorative Education (CARE) course

Recognising the long-lasting effect the lockdowns were going to have, particularly on children, CDEC developed the Compassionate and Restorative Education (CARE) approach and course. Where we are providing whole school training, we tailor our approach to each school’s needs and desired outcomes.

CARE begins with online face-to-face training of primary and secondary teachers to help them support children and each other, safeguarding their own wellbeing. The associated online toolkit of resources then enables teachers to adopt CARE in the classroom to give students the ability to process their own COVID experience. The final part is a whole-school creative project.

Schools that have taken on CARE so far have seen amazing outcomes; staff feel more confident to help children talk about their different experiences, while also better supporting each other.

The whole-school final projects have been brilliant, like High Heskett’s featured at the top of the page, and St Herbert’s ‘Afloat’ was a main feature at Keswick Museum between October and December (find a sneak preview here), and these schools see this as giving them long-term skills to help their pupils in the months and years to come.

CARE aims to improve emotional health and wellbeing, benefit friendships and other relationships in and out of school, helping our schools - from the headteacher down to the youngest pupil - be more resilient. This is ever relevant.

You can join us on Thurs 14 Jan at 4pm on Zoom to meet other schools that have taken part in CARE and hear and see the impact for yourselves - sign up here. If you have any questions or want to book your whole-school CARE course, please email

Giving Strength: CDEC continues to support schools and communities through COVID