The Duchy Health Charity supported us in our work with homeless people across Cornwall during the COVID-19 crisis by awarding grant aid at a time when we most needed it.
We were seeing an increasing number of people who were newly homeless (many for the first time), who were really frightened and anxious, so we had to work incredibly hard to try to find accommodation for them during the Lockdown where it was a challenge to do anything. The support of people, including Duchy Health Charity, made this possible, so we are incredibly grateful.
Our services remained open throughout the lockdown, with extended opening hours to provide a service to those who are outside, whilst observing the guidelines regarding social distancing. This continuation and extended provision meant we were able to work with approximately 180 people per day during the Lockdown. All individuals were able to gain support in a safe manner, with access to PPE, hygiene and cleaning facilities, food and clothing.
It is hard for someone who has no home to ‘stay home’ or access running water to wash their hands regularly. The challenges our clients faced only increased due to the closures of public toilets and public spaces such as libraries and cafés. In our resource centres, homeless people were able to safely use the toilet, have a shower, see the GP, have some food, charge their phone, change their clothes and use the laundry facilities.
Freshfield, St Petrocs’ drug and alcohol counselling service and helpline proved to be a lifeline to existing clients and the increasing number of new clients who have been contacting them over the last few months. Furthermore, the service has been contacted by previous clients who are returning for support, some who have been accessing the service on and off for over 20 years. A friendly voice at the end of the line helped people to deal with the isolation of the Lockdown, the pressures on existing mental health issues and subsequently providing support to prevent people reaching crisis point.
Freshfield’s support provided 1-1 to help people address their use of drugs and alcohol continues to help reduce the strain on frontline services and preventing hospital admissions. This, consequently, helped prevent increased cases of domestic violence due to stresses and strains of home-life in Lockdown.
During the 5 months of Lockdown, with the support of Duchy Health Charity’s grant aid, we supported 146 individuals into accommodation.
We are currently in discussions going forward regarding how we continue to run this service, and continue to maintain the practices we have embedded into our work, which at the time felt like it may be a short term requirement, we are fully aware that we must continue to operate our services in this fashion for the foreseeable future.
We wish to thank all at Duchy Health Charity for their incredibly helpful support of the work of ourselves and other health related projects in such a responsive and proactive way, at a time Cornwall needed it most.
Steve Ellis, CEO St Petrocs expressed his sincere gratitude to the Duchy Health Charity upon receiving their COVID-19 Emergency Funds:
“I just want to express on behalf of everybody associated with St Petrocs, we’re absolutely overwhelmed with this gesture of support from Duchy Health Charity to support us in our work at the sharp end on the frontline with people experiencing homelessness in these unprecedented times. It is truly humbling and will provide a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable members of our society at this time and will help them to stay safe.”