This week marks our fourth week of working remotely, and we're settling into new rhythms and routines and working out how we can best support our clients through this season.
The first thing to say is that we have been absolutely overwhelmed by peoples' generosity and kindness. We've had donations of hundreds of toilet rolls, dozens of hot cross buns and home cooked meals as well as vitally needed monetary gifts. Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with us and offered all different kinds of support.
The second thing to say is that our front line staff team are doing an incredible job of keeping in contact with and supporting over 80 individuals who are staying in Boaz accommodation. These are just some of the things they've been up to since our last update:
- launched a new partnership with our friends at Mustard Tree who are able to deliver bags of food for all our clients who are not entitled to work or claim any benefits following the refusal of their asylum application
- visited our shared houses and distributed food, toiletries, cleaning supplies and money to clients who needed them
- maintained regular phone contact and provided cleaning supplies, food, money for laundry and more for our 9 night shelter guests (who now have temporary accommodation provided through Manchester City Council)
- provided new printed and audio materials in a range of languages for all our clients to make sure everyone has the last information and guidance in an accessible format
- set up a volunteer rota so our former night shelter guests are able to receive a nutritious home cooked meal every single day
- held numerous three way conversations with clients, team members and interpreters, ensuring that we are able to support clients with a range of specific needs
- liaised with and supported three clients in our newest house who were struggling to register with a GP having all moved to a new area
- held phone and video meetings with staff from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit. We're supporting several clients to make progress with fresh claims despite the current difficulties
- picked up and delivered prescriptions for people and helped a client with multiple health concerns engage with a local pharmacy that is much nearer to her Boaz house
- spent time supporting clients who have refugee status with Universal Credit queries and difficulties
- worked with client to fill in an HC2 form so that they are able to get urgently needed prescriptions free of charge
- visited all our shared houses at least once a fortnight for housing management checks, checking in on any health and safety concerns, taking meter readings and making any minor repairs
- supported a vulnerable client who had hardly left her house since the lock down began by carefully and safely accompanying her (at a distance) for a walk in a local park
- kept in regular contact with a client as she entered the last stages of pregnancy and celebrated with her remotely after she gave birth to a healthy baby! We were able to drop off a Moses basket, food, money and other essential supplies
There are many challenges during this season. Many of the people we're working with have shared that they feel anxious and fearful. The regular challenges and pressures of shared living are exacerbated by the lock down context and frustrations with the restrictions, and relationships can easily become strained. Now that we've been able to make sure that basic needs are being met, in the weeks ahead, our support team are going to be working hard to find creative ways of ensuring clients are able to care for themselves physically and mentally during this time.
We'll continue to provide updates on our website and social media and through our social media but in the meantime, thank you for standing with us.