Friday, 22 January 2021

Spires – The Challenges of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

As Councillors in Streatham we are extremely proud and grateful that the Spires is located here, and in awe of the services they provide to some of our most vulnerable residents. 
Those who find themselves without a secure home rely on the company, support, meals, fresh clothes, and a chance to shower that the Spires provide every weekday.

I was in touch with Nigel Carpenter, CEO of Spires, recently to find out how they are coping during the lockdown restrictions and this is what he told me:

"The last few months have been a challenging time for us all, not least for those without a place to call home.

 At Spires, we have seen people in really desperate situations; women suffering domestic violence, families told to leave their accommodation because jobs have been lost and they can’t afford the full rent and, as always, those who live on the streets for whom Spires is a lifeline.

 Throughout the Covid 19 Crisis we have remained open, albeit, with a reduced service. Our “Social” groups had to stop, but we continued to offer a breakfast to rough sleepers every weekday morning and established ourselves as a hub for the Lambeth Streetlink Team. Together, we got 50 people off the streets and into hotel/B&B accommodation. Many were without recourse to public funds and Spires provided food parcels to keep them going during lockdown when they were unable to work.

We maintained contact with many of the vulnerable women who use our services. We provided emotional support to those who were isolated and lonely, and practical support, by way of regular food parcels, for those at the highest risk from a Covid infection.

 We set up a Freephone number (0808 164 5246) to make it easier for those in need to make contact and arranged socially distanced assessment and key work meetings. I am proud of the work the team have done over the last few months; giving up and furloughing staff was not an option we felt able to consider.

 We don’t know what the next few months will bring, but the last 30 years has shown us that, when things get tough, it is the most vulnerable in our community that suffer the most. We have no doubt that Spires’ services will be in high demand in the months ahead.  We expect unemployment and eviction rates to rise and need to prepare for those who turn to us in need.

 Meeting people’s most basic need for food is essential but Spires can do so much more. Our staff work with individuals on a one-to-one basis, complete a full assessment of their needs and agree a plan that gives them the opportunity to take back control of their lives and regain their security".

 If you would like to donate to The Spires and support their work, please go to:

http://www.spires.org.uk/ 

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