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During lockdown Saffron Housing Trust were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support of their staff to help the local communities. 68 staff members were redeployed in to volunteering roles (around a third of the workforce) helping tenants and the local community via South Norfolk Council’s Help Hub. In total:

  • Collected 80 prescriptions
  • Delivered 246 parcelled food packages and shopping trips
  • Collected 25 pensions
  • Connected over 500 people to a volunteer

Saffron Housing Trust also donated £10,000 to Your Own Place CIC to help with their new fundraising campaign ‘Needed Now More Than Ever’ which has been set up to help them continue to provide valuable support and services to vulnerable people during this challenging time.

The campaign specifically aims to:

  • Provide clear information through their social media channels
  • Tackle isolation through online and virtual activities to keep people from being alone and further isolated.
  • Provide e-learning by developing e-learning courses, running webinars and live streaming on YouTube.
  • Further training such as e-learning and online workshops, as well as over the phone guidance about budgeting, benefits, paying the rent and finding a new job.
  • Online confidence & skills to train the people they usually support to develop their online confidence, skills and to be safe so that they can support themselves and take the next steps they need to.
  • Develop the skills and confidence of Volunteer Mentors to help get them online and continue supporting their mentees - young people in the community who are alone and under-supported and need the support.
  • Develop new e-learning course for new volunteers to ensure they are skilled and safe.

The donation is from Saffron’s Community Foundation, which was set up in January this year to create new initiatives and partnership working with other local organisations such as charities and local authorities to help tenants lead better lives and create places people want to live.

Emilie Hildreth, Community Foundation Manager at Saffron said: “Many of our tenants are facing a real crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling. We understand that tenancy support services like this are so vital and the impact of them closing during the lockdown would be catastrophic for many people. We were more than happy to step in and offer our financial backing to enable this invaluable project to continue to operate.”

The Your Own Place team have identified that closing is not an option and have pledged to help where they can. Rebecca White, CEO of Your Own Place, said: “People are suffering right now and need the support of people they trust and community organisations like ours. We want to support them in a way that works for them, including to empower people when they feel most isolated and scared. This donation will literally keep us open and supporting our community.”

The housing association has previously worked in partnership with Your Own Place when they trained 10 Saffron members of staff to become Volunteer Tenancy Mentors.

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