3 April 2020
3 min read
We have been humbled by the support and offers of help from everyone at The Co-operative Bank. So we wanted to share what we’re doing now in response to the pandemic.
Our national Helpline, which is largely funded by donations from Co-operative Bank customers, continues to operate and is a crucial resource as most councils have closed drop in services and are operating by telephone only. During the first week of the lockdown, 15% of calls to the Centrepoint Helpline were related to coronavirus, with issues including temporary accommodation being closed due to infection risks, young people being asked to leave the family home due to concerns over self-isolation and, sadly, calls from young people who have lost their jobs and are now worried about being able to pay their rent.
The Helpline is free to call and is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. If you’re aged 16 to 25 and worried about housing, or if you’re a friend or family member who’s worried about a young person, please call us on 0808 800 0661.
Calling the Helpline is often the first step to accessing our vital Homelessness Prevention Service and we’ll continue to provide telephone assessments for young people to ensure that they have a safe place to stay.
In Manchester in particular, we work with a lot of young people who are living in their own tenancies and in emergency B&B spaces. Our main concern is that they are very isolated and may not have access to food during this time. We are working with local partners to obtain and distribute food parcels and hot meals to those who need them.
Our duty of care for the 1,000+ young people staying in our hostels has never been more crucial. We have managed to secure deliveries of cleaning supplies, PPE, and even toilet roll, all of which is helping to keep our staff and our young people safe. Visitors are no longer allowed and kitchen usage rotas have been developed for young people sharing core spaces.
Housing teams have set aside quarantine space for young people who display symptoms, and they have completed comprehensive contingency planning if any of the team are taken ill.
It’s incredibly inspiring for me to see the passion and commitment of my colleagues on the front line, which is summed up by Matt, Wandsworth Housing and Support Manager:
"Young people have said to me today that they are shocked that staff are still here in services. I have told them, ‘I will be here unless I get sick, and so will my staff. We won’t disappear when things get tough. We will get through this together by following the guidelines and supporting each other when needed.’”
Our mental health team are working hard to reassure and comfort all of our young people. Although in most places they are no longer doing face-to-face sessions, they are providing resources and telephone support, and coming up with ways for young people to stay positive, entertained, and healthy.
As the situation evolves, so will our services. But now more than ever the value of our partnership with The Co-operative Bank is clear to us. As the future becomes incredibly uncertain, and income from individuals and challenge events falls, it is reassuring to know that we have such a passionate, positive company on our side. Thank you.
Hannah, Regional Fundraising Manager
If you would like to help Centrepoint continue to offer their vital services to vulnerable young people at this uncertain time, please donate to their emergency appeal: http://coronavirus.centrepoint.org.uk
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