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ICM: A Year in Lockdown

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

Look back at how we adapted, evolved and supported each other and the community from 2020 to 2021!

As we kicked off 2020 ICM was at a real strong point and we could see our 5th birthday on the horizon in the summer. We had been visiting possible locations and venues, and been exploring how we would capture this awesome and momentous moment. Little did we know what lay ahead.


We were smiles all round, with a really strong icm staff and volunteers meeting thanks to Nikki. This included our first skill share all about photography! And thank god we did! 2020 really became the year of taking pictures of the outdoors.

Independent venue week from The Smokehouse streamed for the first time ever from IO Radio with the massive help of Sam Brilliant. We had lots of support from the different shows and many faces stopped by for the stream.

And our iConnect project finished its first year and did an amazing job!


Our little South Street Kids superstars had a visit to BBC Radio Suffolk.

Group of young people in an office environment.
South Street Kids on a visit to BBC Radio Suffolk


The UK had its first case of Covid- 19.

Before we knew what was about to happen, we managed to squeeze some good news in from Sam Kelly who was shortlisted as volunteer of the year in the under 30 category for the high sheriff awards.

Then March 17th saw us closing our doors due to lockdown.


It’s not all doom and gloom, massive props to all the staff and volunteers at ICM, in April people were still very keen to connect with one another and do the best they can.

Our ex-learner Mobarak was offered a place on teacher training course!

Really fantastic news and adaptation started across the projects virtually and the legendary IO Quiz started!

And……. We set up a new charity arm of ICM.


We proudly continued virtually as it started to become very second nature to log in online and meet with each other.


In June the world took a pause as we all witnessed the police brutality that led to the horrific death of George Floyd. For a myriad of reasons, this affected the nation in different ways. People protested for justice and equality around our county. Organisations, the arts, local business, everyday people all questioned what it meant to wake up in the colour of your skin and how that affected the experience of everyday life differently for some. Many staff and volunteers from ICM attended local protests and heard some harrowing stories of peoples local experience, but also witnessed amazing moments of young people feeling empowered. Angelle reflected on her role at ICM and wanted to help inspire and empower some of the people she met that day so started (what she called at the time) the ‘post protest group’.

Zoom screenshot of 6 people and one black screen saying 'Tiah'. a mix of young people and adults.
The first meeting of the 'post protest group'.


Lish did fantastic work with the council’s leaving care team which resulted in the production of a fantastic short film about their ‘ Staying Close’ service which supports young care leavers as they move into their own accommodation.

Radio Gainsborough was smashing their weekly mobile shows covering topics like lockdown, community and Pride.

The integration team worked hard to make our St Matthews street office ‘Covid Secure’ in order to welcome in dozens of learners for their end of term assessments.

And New Gen started to meet back in real life at Christchurch Park.

two young people and one adult sitting in a sunny park.
New Gen having an in-person session in Christchurch Park.


Laura kept busy and created packs for South Street Kids and her and Cad took to the streets for distribution. How nice seeing all those smiley faces in real life again!

Person holding up a booklet to a group of children. Outdoors on a residential street.
Cad distributing workbooks to our South Street Kids.


It started to feel like normality was on the horizon with a new academic term approaching. Lessons were back in person, outreach and trips were being organised but still our offices remained closed to the public.

And we welcomed a new tutor: Carnell!

Four people sitting at desks in a classroom completing papers. All wearing masks and with clear screens dividing the tables.
ESOL learners completing their assessments.


Angelle started her new role moving across from IO Radio to take on the newly created role of ICM ‘Diversity and Engagement Lead’.


Ben started his new role as IO Radio station manager.


The South Street Kids brought their ‘Local Legends’ to the forefront!

small group of young people at a park doing chalk drawings on the walls.
South Street Kids at Maple Park for the 'Local Legends' project.


We welcomed two new team members: Chris- a music tutor and Rachel- a volunteer with the integration team!


ICM officially partnered with Human-Us, the award winning community voluntary organisation.


Just a big congratulations to all our staff and volunteers for getting through the year with such passion and drive. It has been a really difficult one and I am proud to work alongside so many awesome staff. For some we have connected even more due to having more time to attend meetings, for others the feeling of isolation and loneliness is still very much there. Lets continue looking after each other and being kind to one another!

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