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Ben's Centre update - how we are continuing to support people in need

Ben's Centre update - how we are continuing to support people in need - 30/04/2020

Coronavirus statement from Ben’s Centre

Times have been very challenging for the vulnerable clients that we usually support and equally trying for Ben’s Centre as we move with the times and try to remain at the forefront of meeting client needs despite the many complications that the coronavirus has presented us with!

Initially we had to change how we worked as more and more staff had to self-isolate. This played havoc with our rota, so we had to strip back our service and just focus on the clients we had that were unable to access any other support services or those who were currently street homeless and desperate.

As things moved on and a number of agencies across Sheffield began to pull together we had to close for a couple of weeks as we were unable to safely manage the project with such low numbers of staff and we felt it was unfair to ask so much of our volunteers, especially as a number of them were also considered ‘vulnerable’ according to government guidelines. When we were closed, we got involved with the Help us Help coordinated response team and worked on the next plan to deliver what support we could to our clients.

We have now integrated ourselves into the coordinated plan with our friends at the Archer Project, St Wilfrid’s Centre, Wednesday Night Soup Kitchen, HARC, HAST and a number of other agencies who have come together to share resources and information to better serve client needs. We have worked alongside the Council’s Housing Department and Framework to try to get all clients housed or, in some cases, get them to stay in their houses/flats/ hostels, not an easy task!

Currently Ben’s Centre is staying in touch with our clients via phone-call welfare checks and occasional crisis visits to the Centre. We are open as a donation point for the multiagency response and are making up parcels of enrichment items to help clients feel more comfortable, clean and entertained whilst in isolation. This means we are shipping out books, TV’s games, a newsletter, toiletries, clothes and anything else we can get our hands on to clients across the city.

In unprecedented times the agencies across Sheffield have pulled together with a frankly incredible response and we are proud to be counted amongst these organisations. We are also proud of the Sheffield public for their endless offers of help, donations, and support that they have given so far, they should feel as proud of themselves as we are of them; well done Sheffield!!

Daryl Bishop, CEO, Ben's Centre