At the end of May 2020, we wrote to many of our supporters to provide an update on our work. This is the text of that letter.
Coronavirus continues to impact us all and if you are reading this in difficult times then please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
As supporters and friends, I wanted to update you on how our service has changed.
Isolation is a challenge for us all. For many of our refugee and asylum-seeking clients coronavirus has heightened the level of anxiety and stress they were already experiencing. Amie, a client seeking asylum, shared “the life I lived before was limiting, but at least I had my surroundings, now nothing”. The restrictions on movement and meeting friends has been yet another freedom taken away.
Our Client Support Team remains in touch with all 86 clients providing practical and emotional support such as food deliveries and regular phone calls. We are installing the internet in Boaz shared houses which will improve communication, reduce isolation and allow a range of support to be provided by Boaz and partner organisations.
Our Boaz night shelters for homeless refugee and asylum seeking men were forced to close early. We applaud the volunteers who kept them open as long as possible. The men staying in the shelters have been given temporary accommodation by the local council and Boaz continues to provide these men with food and toiletries.
Thank you for your continued support. Your support has meant we have been able to continue supporting 86 destitute refugees and people seeking asylum. We have been able to adapt our service delivery without losing staff. We have been able to secure emergency food parcels and deliveries of cleaning products. We have been able to equip staff to work from home and be available to meet the needs of clients. Thank you.
Going forward we continue to adapt to the changing situation. For clients struggling to find sufficient food we are increasing their food support for the foreseeable future. Like many of us, clients have felt the impact of increased food costs at local shops, lack of availability of preferred items and restrictions on shopping around for discounts. For clients there have been fewer opportunities to pool resources, share with friends or access free food at social events. Our weekly individual allowance will now be £20 and supplemented with supermarket vouchers or donated food including fresh fruit and vegetables.
We have closed our Free Shop until it is safe and appropriate to reopen. All face to face wellbeing and training activities for clients have paused and will go online as the internet is installed and social distancing measures remain in place.
Neither internet provision nor an increase in food support was envisaged at the start of the year. We now see both as essential. If you are in a position to donate to support these areas of work please visit our BoazOnline crowdfunder or donate via our website.
We miss seeing many of you at Boaz client and volunteer events and our Family Night gatherings. There have been very challenging days over the last eight weeks. There have also been moments of real joy and hope. As one-off veg box donations were delivered to clients last week, and news spread of internet provision coming to Boaz houses, our Client Support Worker commented “I have never seen our clients as smiley as they were today”.
Thank you again for your continued support. You are making a difference.
Ros Holland, Chief Executive