The group is a student-run volunteer group at Newcastle University, and it has moved its classes online during the pandemic. With over four-hundred asylum seekers and refugees to support in the region, the group had to adapt to the circumstances to act in the interests of those who rely on them.
YouTube has been a main form of communication for them, with live-stream lessons proving helpful. Other forms have included making phone calls to registered learners, to ensure that they have the supplies that they need to get through lockdown, and also to check that they understand the current restrictions.
Their first week's worth of lessons had over eight-hundred views, and so they stuck to their normal schedule as much as possible, having classes every day.
Bridget Stratford, the N.E.S.T Project Workers said that they have “set up daily digital socials which are open to all of our volunteers”. She commented on its success, saying that it has been a “positive tool for bringing people together and engaging new volunteers with the project.”
N.E.S.T have already been acknowledged for their hard work, having been shortlisted for an award in the 2020 National Societies and Volunteering Awards. The category where they were shortlisted was for The Community Award, where they stand proudly alongside other groups like Northumbria Students’ Union ‘The Student Foodbank’. This particular award aims to recognise projects that have had a “positive, meaningful impact on a wider community”.
The project will continue its hard work during lockdown to help those who need it.