THE NORTH Worcestershire Basement Project has changed its ways of working during the Covid-19 pandemic but has managed to keep its vital support going for young people who are homeless or facing homelessness.
The team, whose offices are in Bromsgrove, have been adapting their services, to ensure its clients receive the help they need with issues relating to homelessness and family problems.
The team has adhered to the Government’s guidelines with the support workers being based at home as much as possible and maintaining social distancing.
They have been using virtual technology as their means of communication using platforms, including Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, along with traditional phone calls and texts.
The Skype line also acts as a ‘Virtual Drop-In’, using a ‘chat’ option on the website.
The foodbank service has been adapted so it can remain in operation and young people are given time slots on a Tuesday or Friday each week when they can collect food, so that social distancing is maintained.
Staff have also been delivering food parcels across the county to young people who need them most, with the time of delivery agreed in advance so that the parcels can be left safely.
Earlier this year, the Basement were again successful in their bid to continue this support, subcontracting to Redditch Nightstop to cover the support in Redditch, with the Basement Project covering the rest of the county.
The new contract started just as the lockdown restrictions were introduced.
When asked how it was managing, Chief Executive Officer, Jackie said: “The team are on duty on a rota basis and are available to accept calls between 11am and 4pm every weekday but are also calling clients outside of these hours.
“They will contact clients over a weekend if there is an exceptional need.
“The answerphone message advises people the different ways and the hours we can be contacted. Regular contact and support is being offered to varying degrees dependent on the needs of the individual.
“We are also able to provide virtual counselling sessions from a qualified counsellor who has experience of working with young people and also virtual mediation if families are struggling with conflict or other issues at home.
“In addition, we will be putting regular information around issues such as mental health on Facebook and our website, including what help and support is available from other agencies, including support for victims of domestic abuse.
“We are also inviting young people to engage in ‘activities’ such as writing poems or submitting drawings to express how they are coping with the current situation.”
“We are continuing to take new referrals and will carry out virtual Needs Assessments until face-to-face work can continue.”
The Basement is also working closely with other agencies and to ensure no-one ‘falls through the cracks’ during what is a very difficult time – even more so for those who are struggling with other issues, like homelessness, depression or family breakdown as well as coronavirus threat.v
The North Worcestershire Basement Project Ltd, has been running for nearly 25 years now, and has helped over 2,500 young people, who were unsure of where to turn to when they find themselves homeless or potentially homeless.
Helping young people for a quarter of a century
Since 2015, the Basement has headed up a project to provide ‘Floating Support’ to individuals throughout Worcestershire.
Floating Support provides help to young people in their first tenancy by ensuring they maintain that tenancy by looking after the property, paying bills on time, learning their responsibilities as a tenant, as well as developing their life skills.
They also provide support for any other issues the young person might have.
This work is vital as, if a young person loses their tenancy they are unlikely to get another easily which can lead to more homelessness – and extra costs to the nation.
And the services offered have received praise from Dr Catherine Driscoll, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First.
She said: “We are really grateful for all the fantastic work that the Basement Project continues to do during this pandemic to support young people in North Worcestershire, they really have tackled the issue head on, offering and adapting vital services at the most difficult of times.
“We want all of our young people to be happy, healthy and safe across the county, and the Basement Project are just one of many outstanding teams we work with to ensure this.
“The project has given young people access to a wide range of services for 25 years now, and it is great to see such a long running service be able to adapt and continue during these testing times we’re currently experiencing.”
To keep up-to-date with the Basement Project, sign up for the quarterly newsletter on their website https://bromsgrovebasementproject.org.uk
The team can be contacted through an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01527 832993.