03:00PM, Saturday 17 October 2020
A £2,500 donation from the Louis Baylis Trust helped Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) to ‘save lives’ during an incredibly difficult time for homeless people.
In March, SHOC had to close its day centre temporarily in the wake of the pandemic.
The centre provides multiple avenues of support for homeless people, including registering them with doctors, referring them to specialist help services and helping them apply for benefits – as well as providing hot meals, showers and laundry services.
While the day centre was closed, many homeless people who relied on it for emotional support struggled a great deal.
“People have told us they lost their support, their anchor,” said Mandy McGuire, project manager at SHOC.
In response, SHOC made itself as available as possible, providing mobile phones so that the charity could be reached when needed, and laptops to staff so they could continue to work from home.
“The donation from the Louis Baylis Trust provided us with that safety net and allowed us to react very quickly when we had to close the day centre,” said Mandy.
“That money helped us to save lives. It’s as strong as that.”
Though homeless people were quickly housed in empty hotels during the initial months of the pandemic, some individuals struggled with being confined to a single room and unable to connect with their community.
Now certain COVID-19 restrictions have eased, hotels need their rooms back and homeless people have moved out. Not all moved on to permanent accommodation.
SHOC reopened its day centre in July, ready to help these individuals.
“We had to reopen, because people didn’t have access to showers,” said Mandy.
The extra money from the Trust helped SHOC prepare the space with hand sanitiser and PPE, including providing face masks to everyone who visits.
SHOC is now supporting 84 people. The charity anticipates this number will continue to rise.
“Just the PPE is expensive, so having the extra money to provide it is amazing,” said Mandy.
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