Since measures have been put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve been responding to the emerging and urgent needs of the people we support through our employment programme delivery.

Our community teams have been taking time to speak to people to understand their situation and find out what they need. We shifted much of our employment advisors’ efforts to making sure that our customers and their families have food to eat and are able to keep the lights on. 

Case worker Faisal, is part of Renaisi’s RISE team – a free service to help refugees find jobs – funded by The National Community Lottery Fund and European Social Fund. Faisal quickly identified around 70 households across North and East London that need regular food supplies delivered to them because of financial hardship or because they’re unable to leave home. Many of these families get support from various local charities but with services closing, reducing or focusing on the direct impacts of Covid-19, indirect issues such as food poverty are being heightened.

Working in partnership with organisations like the Hackney-based People’s Kitchen that provide cooked hot meals and others that offer dried goods we’ve been creating food packages to deliver to our customers.

Alongside this work, advisors are connecting people to local support. We’ve pulled together a list of all the emergency services we can find in each of the boroughs we work in so other people can access the support information. The list includes sources of food in North, East and South London.

We have also applied for grants for emergency support that we hope to use to source and create more food parcels, and help to pay for gas, electricity and phone data, for families facing extreme hardship.

Many of the issues that our customers are facing are not new but they have been heightened by the coronavirus and isolation. When the immediate crisis is over we will focus on helping to get people back on their feet and to prepare for the future so that they face fewer barriers to work when things return to normal.

Rebecca Simpson
National Community Lottery and ESF logos

RISE is funded by The National Community Lottery Fund and European Social Fund