This summer might’ve been a little bit different than what we were used to, but we still enjoyed a jam-packed schedule that made summer 2020 a memorable one, whether we were at the centre or taking part virtually.

Our family and women’s sessions took place mostly over Zoom. From crafts and cooking, to music and fitness challenges, we had lots of fun keeping busy and in contact with all our women and girls. Partnering with Lambeth Council and Mayors Fund For London we provided packs for our families to take home with recipes, and arts and crafts activities to get stuck in to. Our under 11’s participated in online academic sessions practising their maths, science and reading skills and doing fun quizzes. Every Wednesday was dedicated to our ‘Home Hangout’ so that the girls could see their friends, play games and stay active together.

Three girls around table holding props

Some of our 11-18 year old girls were able to come to the centre in August to get involved in exciting workshops and activities for four weeks. In the first week they spent three days planning, designing, scripting and filming their very own stop motion animations. Head over to our Instagram highlight to take a peak at some of their short films.

Our local MP Florence Eshalomi came to visit us this week, to take part in one of our HERStory sessions where the girls learned about inspirational women, like Harriet Tubman, who was an American abolitionist and rescued approximately 70 enslaved people using the Underground Railway network in the 1800s.

Every Tuesday families at home did a spot of cooking. Each week we shared things like summer dishes, British recipes and sweet dessert recipes, the women would prepare them with their family and share photos of their creations with the group. The women started sharing family recipes and dishes from their countries with one another which was really inspiring. At each of the four sessions around 20 women and girls got involved.

girl stood in middle of screen against grey background, holding up-cycled tote bag

One of the up-cycled tote bags from Week 2

In the second week at the centre, the girls learned how to up-cycle fashion, which is a fun and sustainable way to breathe new life into your old clothing. Using old t-shirts, they designed and sewed their own tote bags.

Our families participated in a tote decorating session later in the month from home, creating some beautiful designs.

Later in the week the girls went head to head in the Great British Baytree Bake Off, decorating yummy cakes under the theme ‘Dream Summer Holiday’. There were so many creative designs it was hard to pick a winner.

Design from the virtual Great British Baytree Bake Off

Families who weren’t able to come to the centre in person, took part in their own virtual Bake Off, where the competition was just as tough. They were tasked with baking their favourite cake, decorating it and sending in photos of the finished product. 23 women and girls took part from home and the top two desserts received vouchers!

Whilst learning about the history behind Brixton’s street art we went on the hunt for some of the area’s famous murals – the Michelle Obama painting was one of our favourites. The following week the girls started designing and painting a mural to revamp Baytree’s gym as part of our three-day mural and spray painting workshop. Check out the results!

In the third week, as part of our Red:GLOW partnership project, girls participated in a four-day animation and story-telling workshop hosted by a professional animator. They created storyboards and props, and recorded voice overs to bring their projects to life. The story they created explored barriers facing young women, female leadership and active citizenship.

Our aroma therapy session was a hit, with the girls creating stress relieving play dough using calming essential oils. And in weeks 3 and 4 they whipped up a storm creating all natural body butters and facial scrubs in the cosmetic making workshop.

Before we knew it, we were in our final week and the girls were off to an electric start, using the maths and science behind electronics they made their own circuits. Keeping along the science theme, we held a chemistry session, trying out lots of creative experiments.

portrait image of girl wearing glasses and yellow jumper holding fairy lights

Portrait photography workshop Week 4

Our portrait photography workshop was very popular and showed the girls how to get the perfect shot, using camera tricks and editing tips. They took stunning shots using clever lighting techniques and reflectors the brighten their faces.

For our families, who spent all of August participating from home, we celebrated the end of a fun summer by meeting up for a socially distanced picnic. We played games, including an intense match of tug-of-war, ate delicious food and caught up with each other. It was the perfect way to round-up an unusual, but equally delightful summer.

A big thank you to everyone who donated in the Childhood Trust’s match funding campaign earlier this year, who made this memorable summer possible.