The view from: Vale of Aylesbury Housing
Over the last two weeks, we’ve been speaking with numerous housing associations about their response to the Covid-19 crisis. We wanted to share some of their experiences, so will be starting a blog series called, The view from. The second in the series comes from Caroline Drew, Community Engagement Officer, Vale of Aylesbury Housing, who are based in Aylesbury.
When the world is changing in an unprecedented way our first thoughts turn to our residents. Ensuring they have vital information at their fingertips and someone to call in times of uncertainty. However, for some of our residents, who do not have digital access, are living alone, reliant on services that have suddenly stopped or are vulnerable, they can quickly become isolated.
Following the self-isolation guidance from the Government we quickly put out a call to action to our employees to contact over 2,400 residents over 70, living in an independent living home or have a disability or vulnerability.
Over 20 employees volunteered to help us contact them! Through these calls we aimed to provide reassurance and understand where residents might need more help. As a result, we have alleviated the fears of residents who haven’t been able to get to the post office to pay their rent, have put them in touch with local volunteers to help them get food and supplies and been there as someone to talk to.
David Goss, our Service Charge Manager, volunteered to call our residents as part of this programme, he was astounded by the impact.
“The tenant told me she was having no trouble self-isolating, she has been self-isolating for 2 years now as has been suffering with numerous health complications. She told me she doesn’t see anyone, no friends or family, but relies on Age UK’s Befriending scheme for company and she’s very sad that that has had to stop due to the current situation.
She told me she’s very lonely at the moment and began to cry as she told me to stop her if she’s talking too much.
We began to chat; she is a funny and well spirited lady who has an incredible passion for video gaming. She boasts an unbelievable collection of over 1,000 games. She told me how she first went to the computer game store and asked for a game and the response was “is this for your son or grandson?” She told me she quickly put them in their place and from then on, they knew her on first name terms. As now do I as well.”
Our support for our residents doesn’t end after one phone call. We will continue to call weekly to check-in, have a friendly chat and support where we can. We will be here with our residents, not until this situation ends, but for as long as they need us.