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The Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on all aspects of our lives, as well as how many of our services are being delivered.

Here Aimee, Team Leader for the Street Outreach Team in Sheffield, share’s the teams story of what the pandemic has meant for them and the great work they have still managed to achieve and deliver!

How has the Coronavirus impacted on your team?

The Sheffield Street Outreach team have continued to work in the way they always have before. Completing outreach every morning from 6am responding to referrals and looking for known rough sleepers. The team have continued to work in partnership with the police who have helped us with keeping clients safe who are rough sleeping. The team feel that during lockdown, being at work gave them all some normality when the country felt like it was in chaos. Being able to support our vulnerable client group and seeing a huge amount of positive change for them has been a positive of the pandemic. The team, like the rest of the country, had to stop seeing family and friends and had to live a vastly different life to before… no more greasy butties for breakfast after outreach!

How has the Coronavirus impacted your service?

Coronavirus has impacted our service in a big way. Lots of PPE being worn during outreach and the office changing in its layout as well as many services who were there to support our clients on a daily basis shutting their doors. But there is a lot of the things that have come out of the pandemic that are positives. Several very entrenched rough sleepers, who were hard to engage, have moved into accommodation and settled. Clients who have not claimed benefits in a number of years have allowed us to help them to claim Universal Credit. Clients who have not been in touch with substance misuse, physical health and mental health services, have now started to engage with and work in a positive way with these services.

Through a partnership with the Sheffield Help Us Help campaign, daily hot meals have been delivered to over 90 clients every day in their accommodation. Clothes and bedding have been delivered as well as donations of books, puzzles, TVs, DVDs, Lego and games consoles have all been provided to clients, helping them to social distance and to have something to do during the times where we all had to stay at home. We are now at the point where we are looking to move clients into more settled accommodation. The team has been involved in this process by providing vital information about the clients that may help to get them the right support and housing they need. We continue to work closely with Sheffield City Council and other services in the City to get the best support for our clients. Lots of meetings that have always taken place regarding them are now all taking place over Zoom. The support is still there for them, it has just we had to change the way in which they happen!

What have your team done in response?

The team have continued to work with the clients and provide them with all the support that they need. The role has changed as the team have more flexibility in the way they work with the clients. The team have helped the Archer Project to provide food and hot drinks for clients each day. 106 people have been placed in Covid-19 accommodation and are being worked with or have been moved into further accommodation.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

From myself – I am incredibly proud of the team. Firstly for their determination to continue to support our very vulnerable clients during a pandemic, as well as putting the clients before themselves. Even when we were told the virus was taking the lives of 100,000s of people across the world, they continued to work even harder than they normally do and showed their dedication to our clients and the service. Sheffield couldn’t have a more kind, caring and compassionate team who are determined to work with our clients in the best way we can to meet their individual needs.