Covid-19: an update from Amber – 20 March 2020
Things have been developing very fast over the last few days and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all our local supporters for their help and support. Before people were asked by the government to stay at home, we received lots of donations of DVDs, games consoles, board games and other things to help keep residents and staff occupied through these times of isolation. It is lovely to know that there are lots of people out there wanting to help where they can even in difficult times such as these.
Amber’s front-line staff team are classed as key workers under government guidance so we are able to continue providing our supported housing for young homeless people and we are enormously grateful for their dedication during the crisis. Both staff and residents have rallied together brilliantly to make the best of a difficult situation – for example, it has been difficult to buy bread for the Surrey centre so we have been baking our own Farm Place bread!
Supporting young people with their mental-health is an important aspect of our programme ordinarily and is perhaps even more important now. Obviously, all visits to the centres have been stopped, so where possible young people have had access to counselling support over the phone.
In our last update, we highlighted that food deliveries was a concern but we have now set up new accounts with commercial suppliers of food so we are feeling much more confident that we will be able to source the food we need.
Thank you again for all of the support and if you feel you can help us in any way please do just get in touch.
Covid-19: a statement from Amber
At Amber, we support some of the most marginalised in society – young homeless and unemployed people aged 17-30. Like many organisations, we have been thinking, planning and taking action to ensure that our 3 centres in Surrey, Wiltshire and Devon can continue to provide supported housing for up to 90 vulnerable young people.
Keeping young people and Amber’s staff team safe
We have of course been keeping up to date with all government advice for the public at large and services like ours. Our first priority is the young people that we support. To continue to provide our vital services, we need to ensure that Amber’s staff team are able to keep themselves safe and well. All staff have completed online training in infection control and a group of core staff have attended enhanced training. We have been able to source all the Personal Protective Equipment (by hook or by crook) that we need but the longer the crisis continues the more having the right equipment may become an issue.
We have found that communication is key and young people have been involved in discussing how best to self-isolate and how best to manage government advice around social distancing. So far, our policies are working well, which is a huge credit to the staff team and the young people we are currently supporting.
What happens next?
As is the case for everyone, we are struggling to arrange future delivery of essential food supplies and are reaching out to alternative commercial suppliers of food. If anyone can help with this, please do get in touch.
We are also concerned about staffing levels should significant numbers of the team have to isolate, so we are looking to increase our group of support workers – more details can be found here.
Our other concern is around funding. We don’t operate with large reserves and we have already had to spend more than we had planned and can only see this going up as we need to bring in more staff to cover those that are ill or isolating. We rely on at least 50% of our annual income to come from fundraising and it is clear that this is going to be a big challenge over the coming months as people, companies and community groups focus their attention elsewhere and events are cancelled or postponed. We will be looking at all opportunities available to us.
If you feel you are able to help in anyway – with advice on supplies, joining our team of support workers, or feel you can help financially, please do get in touch.