Despite the challenges we have all faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus remained on supporting our residents and the communities you live in to thrive. To ensure we could safely continue to provide financial support and employment and training opportunities to help residents into employment, we moved some of our services to be delivered digitally.
Supporting residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
To make sure we were offering support to all of our residents who may need it, our team of volunteers from different teams across the organisation made over 2,000 welfare calls to our older or more vulnerable residents. Our referral system helped identify those who would benefit most from our support, including those shielding at home, as well as arranging financial support for those struggling with their finances.
In April 2020, Friends of Origin Housing, introduced their COVID-19 grant fund, increasing their annual grant to help our residents to £30K in light of the unfolding pandemic . This grant helped us develop a robust financial support scheme for those in most need. We provided over 150 vouchers for our residents to use in supermarkets and chemists along with arranging delivery of over 400 food parcels.
The fantastic projects we're supporting in our communities
This summer we launched a community fund to support our diverse communities in London and Hertfordshire. This funding is for projects, events and activities that make a difference in your local communities. Some of the great organisations we've supported this year are below, and, if you'd like to get involved you can find out more here.
Well Grounded are a Community Interest Company based in King’s Cross who train vulnerable adults for careers in the coffee industry, and empowers them to go on to access better paid and more secure employment.
Holsworthy Square Residents Association are being funded to this transform their communal garden in Camden to help build community interaction and get a bike rack installed in their communal area.
Respect through Sports is a community based organisation that focuses on the development of children and young people’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing to help them develop skills that they can build on. They aim to improve their wellbeing by engaging children in sports and "life skills" workshops.
Camden United are a volunteer youth-led organisation based in Camden who believe that football should be accessible for everyone regardless of the rising costs attached to it. They are run by young people for young people, with young people involved in every single aspect of the club.
Helping young people live independently
We've been working in partnership with New Horizon, a local youth homelessness charity to provide five homes and two years of support to formerly homeless young people, to help them transition toward fully independent living. This is the second project we've run with New Horizon following the success of our Project 99 scheme in Camden.
Supporting our older residents
The activities of our We Are Ageing Better project had a positive impact of over 150 older people in Camden with over 90% of people feeling less lonely and 96% reporting better mental health, despite the challenges of mainly interacting on the phone or online. Weekly online catch ups with the residents were held throughout the lockdowns with lots of in person trips and activities to art galleries, landmarks and, of course, the seaside when it was safe.
Supporting our residents with learning disabilities
Our colleagues have been working hard to ensure our residents at Hillside House, a supported housing scheme near Ware, Hertfordshire can have as much fun as possible following the first lockdown! The team set out to create lots of great memories despite the restrictions we have all been under. During the summer of 2020, our colleagues held garden parties for their residents at Hillwood, celebrated VE day with a tea party, held Easter egg hunts along with trips out for afternoon tea and lots more! One of our residents, Tracey, is really into knitting and found her happy place at an exhibition at Herftford Castle called YarnBombers, so much so, she visited numerous times with her support worker Felicity!
Financial support for our residents
Our Financial Support Team helped our residents access almost £70k to help sustain tenancies and maximise their household income through their specialist support. They secured over £32K for residents in backdated Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and in Discretionary Housing Payment awards and provided Debt and Benefit referrals for 47 residents.
This meant we could secure over £55K in advance rent payments to ensure our residents could maintain their rent accounts, reduce arrears and maintain their tenancies.
Click here to find out more about the financial support we offer!
Supporting people back into work
Our Employment service supported 145 residents throughout 2020/21 with 20 of our residents securing employment, 32 gaining new qualifications and 25 people supported to complete accredited courses. To support so many people with employment and training throughout a pandemic has been a challenge and we're really proud of our residents and our colleagues supporting them to get back into work.
We achieved this through through nearly 500 employment and training sessions on a wide range of topics, from CV writing and one to one interview preparation. In additon, we provided Chromebooks and internet data packages to support their job search and training to make sure our residents could search for and apply for jobs effectively. If you'd like some support getting back into employment you can find out much more here.