COVID – 19
At the end of March 2020 we called our existing 357 scheme members to ask them about their wants and needs during the COVID19 crisis. In response there was an overwhelming need for emotional support, regular telephone contact with their befriending and support to access food. Thanks to many years of leading large social action research projects (and amazing partnerships with City Coast Church and Nourish Catering and Events) we were able to mobilise support for our members quickly, providing food within the first few weeks of the crisis to 139 people and helping them set up long term shopping solutions. As the food outreach evolved we began to open our referrals to the wider community and continue to support 75 older people living in food poverty on a weekly basis through the provision of fresh home cooked meals (out of food waste/donations) and emergency food packages.
We transitioned to telephone befriending adapting our processes quickly and effectively so that our befrienders could keep in regular contact with our members because for many, their volunteer is their only regular social contact. The result of these regular calls continue to be a life-line for many and we intend to continue to provide telephone befriending as a core part of our service even beyond the crisis.
The next phase for the charity is something we are calling ‘Staying Together Recovering Together’. In addition we have developed a concept called ‘Door Step Pop Rounds’ which has been endorsed by Public Health Brighton and Hove.