COVID-19 update

Update 20th May 2020

Following the relaxing of the nationwide lock down we’ve used government guidelines to adapt our response to the risks posed by Coronavirus.

We are continuing to accept new residents to our centres requiring them to self-isolate on arrival. In March we reduced the maximum number of residents in each of our centres from 30 to 25. This cap will remain in place for as long as is necessary to ensure we have adequate capacity to isolate newcomers while also having the space for any current residents to isolate if they start to display symptoms.

In line with government guidelines we are encouraging residents to stay at the centres (their home) as much as possible. That said, we are allowing some residents to leave our sites for specific work or education purposes as long as they are not staying away overnight. We are mindful that our centres are high risk areas of contamination given that large numbers of people live together and share facilities such as bathrooms, bedrooms and dining spaces. Therefore we have introduced strict protocols for residents to follow on leaving and returning to the centres. This is to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the risk of contamination as much as possible.

Our unique development programme is still being delivered by our staff team including workshops on employment readiness, independent living skills and wellbeing. Additionally residents are continuing to use lockdown to develop hobbies, complete online courses and use our onsite facilities. The allotments and poly tunnels at our Devon and Surrey sites have been planted up and are looking great. The outside space at our Wiltshire site has also been cleared and smartened up.

We are continuing to be supported by individuals, community groups and businesses local to our centres with a range of items including food and donated equipment. Residents in Wiltshire are even benefiting from deliveries of fresh homemade pizzas from “Pandemic Pizza” a new initiative started by a local student delivering pizza to key workers and the most vulnerable during this crisis.

The latest rise in unemployment especially among young people is very likely to increase the associated risk of homelessness. It is a sobering reminder of how vital Amber’s work is and how demand will continue to rise.

Therefore we are extremely grateful for the continued support of our long term funders and donors plus new funders who have only recently started supporting us.

We’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support – it really is saving and changing lives.

Update 20th April 2020

The whole country are still being told to remain at home as much as possible but unfortunately for many people this is extremely difficult – for some it is impossible. The young people we support cannot stay in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation and despite numbers of rough sleepers being housed in hotel rooms, there are still people across the country with nowhere safe to self-isolate. This is why Amber continues to do all that we can to help young people with nowhere to go and no one to turn to during this challenging time.

We are accepting new young people into our centres but, to safeguard existing residents and staff, new residents are required to self-isolate on site before joining the household. In order to reduce the risks of infection we have also taken the decision to reduce the maximum number of residents in each of our centres from 30 to 25. This is to ensure we have adequate capacity to isolate new people, while also having the space for any current residents to isolate if they start to display symptoms.

Many of the young people that are currently at our centres are really using this period as an opportunity to try new things and develop themselves in different ways. For example, some are continuing to complete online learning including GCSE English and Maths, others are making use of the onsite kitchens and developing their baking skills.

We are extremely grateful for the good weather as there has been opportunities for young people to get stuck in with gardening and helping out with maintenance of our buildings. Residents at Ashley Court, our Devon site, completely rebuilt the crumbling BBQ using their new brick laying skills. The veg patch at Farm Place, our Surrey site, has been cleared for planting and residents are looking forward to growing some of their own food.

Young people have also been getting creative – remote music lessons will be starting this week in Devon and residents at Farm Place and Bythesea Lodge in Wiltshire have been writing poetry.

On the fundraising side we are enormously grateful to all the different people and organisations that have committed to help us through this difficult time – it gives us all such a boost to know that people want to help where they can.

Going forward, we are really excited to be involved with the 2.6 challenge, spearheaded by mass participation event organisers along with Justgiving and Virgin Money Giving.  Our centres and staff are getting involved with a relay marathon (with virtual baton exchanges) and a 2.6 mini Olympics event.

We are calling all our supporters to get involved – all you have to do is think of an activity or challenge around the numbers 26 or 2.6, start an online fundraising page and complete it on or from Sunday 26th April. Your activity could be running 2.6 miles around your garden or balcony, baking 26 different types of cupcakes or bench pressing 26 kilos. To sign up click here or contact our Head of Fundraising and Communications Stephen Ballantyne here.