What we’ve been doing to help our residents during lockdown

What we’ve been doing to help our residents during lockdown

It’s been over a month since the country went into lockdown. Local residents in Gedling appear to be coping well and remain in good spirits while social distancing measures, restricting people’s movements, continue to be in place. This is the key finding of Jigsaw Group’s work to keep in regular touch with tenants during this outbreak.

Jigsaw Group has made calls to more than 7,400 of its residents aged over 69 in general needs accommodation. This includes 357 residents across Gedling, a small number of whom required additional support. Jigsaw’s Neighbourhoods team have organised referrals to partner agencies for befriending services, help with obtaining food and continued regular calls. The overall picture, though, was that the borough’s residents are resilient and adjusting to a new way of living.

As soon as the social distancing measures were introduced, the local housing provider adjusted the way it works to continue providing essential services to its residents and other service users. While some services had to be scaled back, Jigsaw Group re-directed efforts to other areas, where it could make a difference.

Barbara, one of the Group’s residents said: “I am overwhelmed that you rang me to make sure I am ok. I am front line staff myself and this has made my day – I have told everyone I have had contact with how wonderful you are…..All of the advisors when I ring up are amazing and deal with everything in a great way. Declan was great on the phone, kind and considerate and genuinely concerned. Thank you from the bottom of my heart”.

All the residents in the Group’s Independent Living schemes have also been receiving welfare calls twice a week to assist them with any support they need. This includes 563 residents in Gedling. Across the Group there are 5,600 such calls made every week.

Group Chief Executive, Hilary Roberts said, “Our priorities have always been the safety of our colleagues and their families, and the safety of our residents, whilst keeping our essential services running. I am so proud of the dedication, the creativeness and the desire to do the right thing, which has been so evident within Jigsaw.”

As one of the region’s largest housing providers, Jigsaw Group appreciates that during these challenging times, some residents may see their circumstances change and come into financial difficulties. The Group’s money advice team is on hand taking referrals and giving advice to residents who have found themselves struggling financially as a result of Covid-19. The team is also making calls supporting those not in receipt of housing benefit that have seen their circumstances change. Jigsaw Group will not be carrying out any evictions to tenants facing financial hardship as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the money wise team and the “Connect” contact service are busy working from home and talking to customers, the Group’s keyworkers are still out on the frontline, caring for elderly and vulnerable tenants in its supported schemes, carrying out emergency repairs, gas and electrical safety checks, and rehousing people who are homeless. Grounds maintenance services are also set to resume.

For wider support, Jigsaw Group have partnered with public, private and voluntary agencies, including local foodbanks, to get food to the most vulnerable members of society, including 90 residents in Gedling. Across the Group, more than 200 referrals for assistance with food supplies have been made, organising both emergency and long term food parcel deliveries.

Jigsaw Foundation, the Group’s community investment fund, has donated a total of approximately £25k to various food banks in its communities, helping them to meet the increased demand caused by the COVID-19 crisis.