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Thank you for your work

In this blog, Katie Dalton, Director of Cymorth Cymru, pays tribute to the incredible work of Cymorth members during the pandemic.

We are immensely proud of the efforts of everyone working in the homelessness, housing and support sector during this extraordinarily difficult period.

You’ve been agile and flexible, adapting your services to deal with the challenges of social distancing, self-isolation and other lockdown restrictions. Many staff members have continued to go to work, acutely aware of the risk to their health, but unwavering in their dedication to provide vital housing and support. This has been particularly important for people living with experience of trauma, homelessness, abuse, addiction, mental health problems, and learning disabilities.

At a time when staying at ‘home’ has been essential, you have worked non-stop to ensure that people without a safe and secure home have been able to access the housing and support they need. The compassion and skill demonstrated by people working in homelessness departments, temporary accommodation, supported housing, refuges, tenancy support, and housing management has been more important than ever.

Over 800 people have been housed in emergency accommodation during this period, and thousands more have been supported to stay safe and healthy in their homes. You’ve made an extraordinary difference and we are incredibly proud to represent you.

All change

The work of Cymorth has changed substantially since March, including the move to home working for our team. We are continuing to adapt to the ever-changing situation and consider how we can most effectively influence, strengthen, connect and sustain our sector.

Much of our team’s energy has been focused on representing the immediate needs of our members and we have been working closely with the Welsh Government to make your views heard, develop solutions and provide support during the pandemic.

This work has formed the basis for specific guidance co-produced with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, and others, as well as working with CHC to secure PPE for the sector. You can read more about this work below. We are grateful to all of our members and partners for their collaboration and support during this time.

Our focus

You’ve told us that you  have valued our COVID-19 email updates containing the latest announcements, guidance, legislation, and other information relevant to the housing and support sector. We’ll continue to send these mailings to ensure that you’re kept up-to-date as we move to phase two.

We are also planning a series of digital events that will create a space for learning and debate on some key issues within the sector, as we know it’s unlikely we’ll be able to return to our physical events programme in the near future.

Our website will soon be home to a new series of blogs about the amazing work of our members during this period, which we’ll begin publishing soon – there’ll be guest blogs, interviews and articles about different elements of work by various people in our sector. Please contact us if you want to take part.

The future

While the pandemic is not yet over, we must also take this opportunity to learn from our experiences of the last few months. We must also work together to ensure that no-one has to return to the streets and that decision makers recognise the value and impact of your work.

You have our assurances that we will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of you and the people you support, providing a strong voice in pursuit of a future where everyone can live safely and independently in their own homes and thrive in their communities.

On behalf of all of the Cymorth team, thank you, again, for everything.

Katie

 

Quick recap

Here are some of the things we’ve been working on during this pandemic:

  • Keeping members updated: Through our COVID-19 email updates we have ensured that our members have received the latest information, government guidance and funding opportunities within days, and sometimes hours, of publication. 
  • Raising your key issues: We have been collating key issues from our members, raising them at our weekly meetings with the Housing Directorate, Social Services Directorate and VAWDASV team, as well as submitting weekly reports to officials to inform their priorities.
  • Shaping guidance: Since late February we have been shaping Welsh Government guidance in response to the pandemic, helping to draft text and ensure that your issues and concerns are considered. This has included the guidance on homelessness and substance misuse, rough sleeping, compliance with lockdown rules, ASB and challenging behaviour, and self isolation.
  • Informing Phase 2: Through our membership of the Homelessness Action Group and our ongoing conversations with Welsh Government officials we have been helping to shape phase two of Wales’ response to homelessness. We have been feeding in member views for the last few weeks and helped to draft the guidance that was launched last week.
  • Supported Living: We have represented our supported living members in an increasing range of forums and networks, ensuring that their specific model of working with Learning Disabilities is protected and recognised by Welsh Government and local authorities.
  • PPE supplies: We worked in partnership with the Welsh Government, CHC and Care & Repair Cymru to secure supplies of hand sanitiser and fluid resistant facemasks for our members. We have also ensured that our third sector members are part of the face mask procurement framework, led by CHC, Linc Cymru and Pobl.
  • PPE advice: When it became clear that the PPE guidance for health and social care was not applicable to most of our members, we worked with Public Health Wales to develop a specific Advisory Note for our sector.
  • Virtual Accommodation Team: We have been co-leading this team with the Welsh Government, helping to ensure information flow between Welsh Government and local authorities, identifying and addressing emerging issues.

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Telephone: 029 2055 3687
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© Cymorth Cymru 2020
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774