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Posted on 21 April 2020

Local homelessness service adapts and expands provision to ensure continued support communities most vulnerable.

Burnley-based homelessness service Gateway has been working hard to rapidly re-shape their service to meet the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support services within the Gateway building have been overhauled to ensure residents and staff remain safe. While safety is paramount, it has also been crucial to maintain a consistent level of support for clients, many of whom struggle with additional needs including mental health and substance addictions.

The number of support sessions delivered by Gateway has increased, helping to reassure residents at a time of heightened anxiety. Sessions are now delivered in a staggered manner, allowing smaller groups to follow strict social distancing guidance throughout.

Gateway’s breakfast club continues through generous support and donations from Tesco, Morrisons and the Burnley Together community initiative. Breakfast club allows staff to touch base with clients on a regular basis, helping to build relationships and trust. Breakfast club has been adapted to run as a takeaway, ensuring the beneficial interaction and support continues.

To help educate clients on the COVID-19 pandemic, informational sessions have been introduced covering common symptoms, the threat posed & how to help prevent the spread of the virus. Support staff have been working with clients to devise action plans, helping them prepare for scenarios such as self-isolating.

With the main facility at capacity, Gateway is supporting wider efforts to provide emergency accommodation during the pandemic. Gateway navigators are working alongside Burnley Borough council to maintain contact with individuals housed in temporary accommodation. Ongoing emergency housing measures are proving hugely successful, with over a dozen properties already repurposed to provide safe accommodation for vulnerable individuals throughout the borough.

The ability of our staff to meet the ever-changing challenges of the ongoing pandemic has been nothing short of incredible. We owe all our staff a huge debt of gratitude for their continued efforts during these challenging times.

Kate Cunliffe, Homelessness Service Manager, Gateway

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