Janet Haugh: Amidst the challenges there is much cause for hope
Ypeople CEO Janet Haugh gives an update on the charity’s continuing work.
The world is currently facing a pandemic, the scale of which has not been seen in our lifetime. COVID-19 is causing us to adapt and rapidly change not only our services, but our lives and the lives of our families and communities.
During the last week – which may have felt much longer – our services have changed significantly, and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to our team, who have adapted so quickly and compassionately to this new world in which we find ourselves.
At Ypeople, we are working around the clock to ensure that our life-changing services are continuing for the people we support. This has meant changes to the way we do things, from using telephone and digital solutions to reach people in our outreach, counselling and mentoring services, to changing the way our accommodation services are organised to enable us to respond to people become ill, and to protect the healthy, including our staff. We trialled this new approach last Wednesday, and it will now become our ‘new normal’, for the foreseeable future.
For all of our stakeholders I ask you to be patient with us, things are moving quickly, and we are learning every day how best to use our time and resources. We are working closely with our funders and commissioners to make sure that we continue to do what we do best, despite the challenging circumstances.
But amidst the challenges there is much cause for hope.
Like others, we are struggling to get the essentials that the people we support need. However, we are seeing a groundswell of community activism, with incredible local businesses donating hand sanitiser and charities offering toilet paper and food packs for our young people going through homelessness, as well as messages of support from far and wide. Thank you to everyone offering support at this time.
Our staff are going above and beyond, sourcing everything from cots and bedding to fruit and veg for people who need it. Our services are looking at ways of ensuring that we can use digital solutions to reach out to an even wider group of people, to offer telephone and online mentoring and friendship, at a time when people may be struggling with their mental health, or feeling the strain of loneliness and isolation. And in our teams, we are finding new ways of staying connected, from video conferencing from our kitchens, to virtual tea breaks with colleagues across the country.
Seeing people come together to offer friendship, support and encouragement to others is the ray of light shining through the darkness of these uncertain times. One of the key things that I’m learning that social distancing does not equal social isolation; we’re all in this together and we’ll get through it together.
- Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.