During the Covid-19 Crisis, we’ve been working hard to ensure that the young people we work with have access to food, medical and wellbeing support, and friendly staff to support them through these difficult, isolated times.
Like many charities we face challenging times ahead to ensure the most vulnerable have the help they need. Thanks to support from funders including the People’s Postcode Lottery, we have been able to work proactively to meet the Coronavirus crisis head on and respond to new challenges as they develop.
Depaul UK has taken over two hotels, one in London and one in Manchester, to house rough sleepers in the area and protect them from the threat of the Coronavirus. We were able to launch these services within days, so that these vulnerable people had the support they needed immediately.
Our emergency accommodation network, Nightstop, faces an unprecedented level of demand. Unfortunately, the service also faces a shortage of hosts as, understandably, people become less comfortable with welcoming young people into their homes.
The Nightstop team reacted rapidly to ensure we could continue to meet the needs of young people facing homelessness. This has included turning one office space into an ‘overnight hub’ and finding alternative accommodation solutions for young people wherever possible.
More than 60% of young people in Depaul UK services were already struggling with mental health concerns prior to the COVID-19 crisis. This number is almost certain to grow as young people become increasingly isolated. Many of those who live in our accommodation projects do not have internet-ready smart phones, and even those who do may not be able to afford phone credit or even have a family member or friend to call.
Working together the Mental Health and Wellbeing team and the Programmes team have devised a 12-week programme to engage young people, keeping them active, healthy, occupied and connected. The programme includes activities, resources and virtual events as well as one-to-one support with young people and staff to ensure everyone is coping with the lockdown measures.