Information for customers about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Statement from Anthony Duerden,
Chief Executive of The Calico Group

26th June 2020

Over the past few challenging months, I have been incredibly proud of the work that has been done to make sure we continue to achieve our purpose – to make a real difference to people’s lives, at a time when it was needed more than ever.

I have seen our staff work together provide food, support, care, comfort and safe refuge to the thousands of vulnerable people in our communities. I have also been impressed by how colleagues from across the Group have helped each other to rapidly developed new ways of working, so that they can deliver services as safely and effectively as possible.

That’s what makes The Calico Group unique: how each of our specialist companies are able to collaborate and innovate together so they can have a greater impact than they could alone.

As we start to understand what the future looks like, it is clear that our work is only just beginning; recent events have exposed and deepened many of the inequalities that already existed in our communities and Calico will have an even bigger role to play in the days to come.

There has been a significant increase in cases of domestic abuse – so we will continue to develop new refuge and support services across our region, and promote domestic abuse awareness and training in each part of the business. Our latest SafeNet refuge is now ready to open in Lancaster, and this has been an incredible achievement form all the services involved.

The need for our homelessness services has never been greater – as the economic impact of the crisis continues to take its toll, we will remain focused on people who are homeless, fleeing their homes, or are at risk of losing their homes. We will continue to provide support and employment opportunities to help keep a roof over people’s heads, and a safe place to stay wherever it’s most needed.

We have an ongoing role to play in creating local employment opportunities and apprenticeships – we are only just beginning to understand the enormous impact the crisis is having on jobs across the North West. As an organisation that has always been proud of our reputation as an employer and our track record as a training provider, we know that we can play a vital part in helping our communities to access employment and new skills.

We will continue to invest in new and expanded care, wellbeing and support services – we know that our care and support services are in greater demand than ever as a result of the crisis, and there is definitely a role for The Calico Group to play, working alongside local authorities and health care providers to create even more person-centred care and supported accommodation.

We will also invest even more in our housing, as well as continuing to build much-needed new homes – the pandemic has dramatically highlighted the links between housing and health, with less affluent areas being hit the hardest. As we slowly recover, it is clear that our role in providing good quality accommodation is as important as ever. 

Looking back, the passion and commitment of our staff and partners has been a real strength – and we have shown Calico at its very best.

Looking forward, I am confident that we will continue to approach new challenges with the same passion and commitment, and can continue to make a real difference to people’s lives.

6th May 2020

“As we start to move towards “life after lockdown”, and understand what that might mean for us, it is important to recognise that there will still be ongoing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, and the way we work will not be the same for some time.

“Over recent weeks, there have been significant challenges, not only in terms of how we deliver our services to increasingly isolated people, but also in how we support our staff to work safely throughout.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for some our core services too, in particular the need for refuge accommodation and refuge for the homeless – we expect this will continue for some time.

“During the ongoing crisis, our aim has been to provide help, support and guidance as best we can; always doing the right thing for the people who most need it and this means we have had to make a number of changes to the way we do things.

“We have been carefulWherever we saw that work could continue in carefully controlled conditions, and well within government guidelines, we have continued to work in that capacity and monitor the situation closely. Where is was not safe to carry on working, we have paused the delivery of those services until it is safe to resume.

“We have been considerateProviding our residential services and those for higher-risk customers has been particularly challenging. However, I am proud of the dedication our staff have shown to ensure that customers in care or recovery have received the very best support they can.

“We have been creativeWhenever we saw opportunities to provide help and support online, we introduced new services such as live chat, video calls and virtual support groups. Our systems and processes have been updated to allow for homeworking and our staff have been flexible in how they work.

“I would sincerely like to thank our customers for their continued support and understanding as we have made these changes, and I would like to thank our staff for their determination and commitment throughout. I would especially like to thank those who have volunteered to help others in their local community – even when furloughed.

What happens next

“We have started to understand a little more about what will happen next; how we will need to keep changing in response to the situation, and what that will mean for our customers and staff.

“We can’t predict the future, but we do know that it will not go back to “the way it was before” – at least not for some time. In the short term we expect little difference as we continue to deliver the majority of our services as we have during the crisis.

“We do however, recognise that the work we do makes a real difference people’s lives, and that we have a responsibility to our people, customers, partners, and the wider economy to do the right thing and support them through the coming months.

Our commitments to you:

“We will still prioritise our work around the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities and, for repairs services, we will make emergency repairs jobs our top priority.

“Although some services may take longer, or may be delivered differently due to safety guidelines, we will ensure that the wellbeing of our customers is our top priority. Where additional support is needed to help our most vulnerable customers, we will identify ways to do this.

“We will continue to offer and develop online or remote services for customers who are isolated or vulnerable.

“We recognise that people will need to self-isolate or be shielded for many weeks to come. Where we have introduced new services to help customers, and these have worked, we will ensure that these are still provided.

“We will ensure that services that are reopening, or restarting on site, will be done as safely as possible, in keeping with and, if possible, exceeding Government Guidelines.

“For our new build construction sites, Ring Stones will resume works with reduced numbers of staff on site and will work well within government guidelines. Likewise, we will ensure that community and residential services are delivered with safe social distancing maintained, and this will be closely monitored.

Supporting staff so they can support you

“In order to help us look after our customers, and to ensure that the services we provide them with are protected, the health and wellbeing of our staff will always be very important to us.

“We understand that everybody’s circumstances are different, and that we all have own challenges whether at work or home (or both). We will always take this into consideration and will still encourage homeworking wherever possible. This means that when our offices reopen, staffing will only be at reduced levels, and on a much smaller scale.

“We kindly ask for your patience and understanding as we help our staff to continue to help you.


“As we move forward, we will not forget the devastating impact the Coronavirus has on thousands of lives and our deepest sympathies goes out to the all the families and friends who have lost a loved one.”

21st April 2020

“Throughout this crisis, I have been amazed at the resilience, determination and bravery of our colleagues who have been working in the most challenging of circumstances. Our nurses, care workers, support workers and repair teams have met each challenge with bravery and dignity, and we owe them our enormous respect and gratitude.

“They have continued to provide help and support for those people who most need it, adapted to ongoing changes in safe working guidance, and introduced new technologies – whatever is needed – to make sure that our customers are cared for and protected.

“Our residential care home, Barley View, is operating under very careful and controlled conditions, but it is reassuring to see the news and images that they share each day to help put the minds of family and friends at ease. They are doing an incredible job.

“Likewise, our Gateway homelessness team have been working hard to ensure customers remain safe; many of whom struggle with additional issues including mental health problems and substance addictions, and have a limited understanding of the current crisis. The staff is a particularly challenging role and they have done a remarkable job to help rehouse so many people over the last few weeks.

“SafeNet are still providing support and advice for people experiencing domestic abuse across Lancashire; something we have sadly seen increase as a result of lockdown. They have recently introduced a Live Chat service to help support anyone who is isolated and are doing a remarkable job to help women and families who are at risk.

“For both SafeNet and Gateway, we have also continued to refurbish empty homes and provide additional emergency accommodation. We are pleased to have increased the number of safe places where rough sleepers and victims of domestic abuse can stay.

“As we see encouraging signs that the country might be slowly turning the tide on the coronavirus crisis, we are continuing to make sure that our essential services are working as safely as possible in the community. We are also looking at how and when we can cautiously start to resume our other services, wherever it is safe to do so.

“Paying close attention to Government advice and safe working practices, our construction activities are now resuming at some sites where Ring Stones can operate safely – this means well within the safe-distancing guidelines and with significantly reduced numbers of staff on site at any one time. The benefit of ongoing construction work is important for local employment, local suppliers and the economy and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Calico Homes continues to offer support for anyone struggling financially or experiencing ASB. They are still carrying out gas safety checks and emergency repairs. We encourage customers to please still contact us with non-emergency repairs, so that we can log any issues, even if they cannot be resolved immediately.

“I would like to remind everyone that, whilst work continues, social distancing is still more important than ever and will save lives – please stay at home and stay safe if you can.”

2nd April 2020

“With the country now in lockdown, but people’s lives still continuing, we are working to deliver services across the North West – focused on supporting people with urgent housing, health, care and wellbeing needs. There is a lot going on and we are helping wherever we can.

“In many cases, such as our domestic abuse and addiction services, we are increasingly using (and developing) online support to help as many people as possible. Information and contact details for each can be found on our service websites.

We are also pleased to welcome new services and 30 staff into the Group, with Delhi now delivering support at HMP Garth and HMP Wymott.

“We continue ensuring that emergency repairs are carried out for our Calico Homes customers, as well as important gas safety checks. Please make sure you allow the gas engineer access to do this if you receive an appointment.

“The Burnley Together service is one of a number of new community hubs that have been established, and we are proud to be coordinating this on behalf of the local council. It provides help for people who are isolated, lonely or need food parcels, prescriptions and other essential support. They are available 7 days a week and can be contacted on 01282 686 402.

“In the first week alone we received more than 600 calls, emails and messages. We have also had donations from local businesses all keen to support the work for the good of the town. Our special thanks goes to all of them.

“I am proud of the fantastic local response to the coronavirus outbreak and it is very encouraging to see so many people coming together for the benefit of each other. I hope that this sense of community togetherness will endure long after the current crisis passes.

“I am also proud of the work we have done over the past two weeks to respond to the need for “at risk” groups to be housed as a matter of urgency. Services from across The Calico group have joined together to refurbish and make available more than a dozen homes for additional emergency accommodation.

“These homes will provide a safe place to stay for homeless people who need to self-isolate, and families escaping domestic abuse – the number of which is, sadly, still on the rise.

“If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know someone who is, please contact SafeNet on 0300 3033 581. If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

“Finally, whilst many recruitment campaigns have been postponed, we are still looking for people to fill a number of key positions delivering essential services to our communities. If you’d like to help us to make a difference to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, please take a look at our current vacancies and get in touch today.

“I hope you are all staying safe, staying indoors if you can, and looking after yourselves.”

27th March 2020

“As week draws to a close and the country is in lock-down for all but essential activity, I would like to give you an update on the measures we have taken across The Calico Group to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.

“In line with Government guidance and social distancing guidelines, our offices and new-build developments are now closed with most support having moved to telephones or online.

“We are still delivering essential services across the North West including domestic abuse support through SafeNet, homelessness services through Gateway, emergency repairs for Calico Homes customers, residential care at Barley View, and drug and alcohol services the Delphi and Acorn.

“We are also working hard to prepare a number of empty homes in Burnley for rough sleepers who need to self-isolate, which our Ring Stones teams are helping us to deliver.

“Wherever our staff are working to deliver critical services such as these, they will always carry ID and will be observing the highest levels of social isolation and safe working. We are working closely with the Police and Local authorities to do this in all areas.

“Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our staff and partners, people are continuing receive the help and support they need at this time – in incredibly challenging circumstances; around the clock, seven days a week.

“My thanks and appreciation go to our nurses, care assistants, support workers, repairs operatives, volunteers and everyone else who is doing an incredible job and making such a real difference in our communities.”

24th March 2020

“We have been reviewing the latest guidance following the Government’s announcements last night and the new measures we must all take to protect people’s lives in our communities and across the country.

“As the situation has developed, we have aimed to deliver the best services possible whilst significantly reducing the amount of face to face contact we have with customers and colleagues.

“Following the latest measures introduced by the Government, we have taken the decision to close our remaining offices to the public and reduce a number of our non-critical services.

“I would like to reaffirm our commitment to prioritise those in the most need and do the best we can to support people through these extraordinary times.

“We are continuing to ensure that critical services and emergency repairs are still available wherever needed. In most cases, we are now offering support over the telephone or online.

“I would like to remind everyone that social distancing is more important than ever and will save lives – please stay at home and stay safe if you can.

“I would also like to thank all our staff who have been delivering critical services to vulnerable people throughout this crisis, and our customers for their patience and understanding.”

23rd March 2020

“Across the country we are seeing that we all need to make big changes if we are to save lives and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

“I would like to reassure all our customers and partners that we continuing to deliver the services people most need, even if that means finding new, safer ways of working which follow important guidelines for social distancing and self-isolation.

“It is inevitable that there will be some things that we will be unable to do safely – such as providing face to face services in office locations – but we are continuing to provide online and telephone assistance where we can.

Important changes to services, and helpful contact information will be posted on our websites and through social media. We appreciate your patience and support whilst we do our best to keep our staff and other customers safe.

“Our Calico Homes repairs team continue to focus on emergencies and urgent repairs, within safe guidelines however non-urgent works have been suspended to minimise the risk and exposure to our tenants. More information can be found here.

“We are proud to be supporting the Burnley Together initiative, which aims to help people across the town to find help and support if they are struggling or worried. Together with other charities, agencies and volunteers we are helping co-ordinate help and support for residents across the borough during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are also continuing to ensure help is available for anyone who are being affected by domestic abuse – many of who will be under greater threat whilst isolated with abusive partners at this time. SafeNet and Lancashire Refuges can be contacted via their websites – where we will also be implementing live chat support in coming days.

“Please continue to check this page and our individual company websites and social media regularly for updates.

“Again, we would remind everyone that social distancing is more important than ever and will save lives – please stay at home and stay safe if you can.”

19th March 2020

“We know there is a lot of information being shared widely in the media regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 and that this is causing concern.

Despite the spread of this virus, we are doing our very best to continue providing the most essential services to our customers. At present, our priority is to put as many measures in place as we can, to protect customers and colleagues and to make sure we can continue to deliver our services and support.

We’re continuing to follow Government advice and want to reassure tenants that no one in our homes will be evicted because of coronavirus. For more information on this please visit

In regards to SafeNet, we are always here to help those who need it, and at present, we are still taking referrals to our refuges and support services across the North West. For more information please visit

While we hope to return to normal soon, the rapidly changing situation may mean we have to make further changes to services or provide them differently.

We’re limiting all non-essential face-to-face contact where appropriate, and contact with customers may be via telephone and you could be asked a series of questions relating to symptoms of the COVID-19 virus before a member of staff visits with you.

If you are in recovery and your support groups have been cancelled we have extra phone support available.

Please check this page and our individual company websites and social media regularly for updates.

In challenging times, our neighbourhoods and communities can be a great source of support. The residents at our Barley View care home are becoming pen pals with some of our Group colleagues whilst visitation has been suspended.

Showing kindness to neighbours and helping others out is really important. We’re all in this together.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.”

18th March 2020

“As coronavirus fears spread around the United Kingdom we are determined to do everything we can to support our customers and our people.

As a Group, we deliver a wide range of diverse services and will continue to deliver these services in the best way possible, offering support where it is needed the most.

The situation is changing all the time and we are reviewing the government advice on a daily basis. Please be reassured that customer and staff safety remains our first priority.” 

17th March 2020

Chief Executive Anthony Duerden said:

“I would like to reassure our customers, staff and partners that we are working hard to keep all The Calico Group’s essential services open, and make sure that the people who most need support will continue to receive it during these challenging times.

“As the situation with COVID-19 is developing quickly, we are following Government and public health guidance to continue delivering our front-line services whilst minimising the risk to our staff and customers.

“Further information and advice will be shared through our website and social media channels as it becomes available.”

Information about the safety measures being taken to keep our companies COVID-Secure can be found on the respective websites.

Acorn  |  Calico Enterprise  |  Calico Homes  |  Delphi Medical  |  Ring Stones  |  SafeNet


Follow the latest government advice

Self-isolate if you’re symptomatic

Wash hands frequently

Always wear appropriate PPE

Social distancing in effect