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The Coronavirus lockdown has impacted every area of our work but thanks to our strong community links, Oasis staff have been able to step into action in their local communities around the country and reach out to the most vulnerable people. We have also set up a National Friendship Phoneline: Tel. 0203 968 4330 open every day, 9am to 5pm offering a listening ear to those feeling lonely or anxious and practical help. We can connect you to local groups who can organise food, medication picks ups and befriending. You can also call us if you are concerned about someone else.
Our food projects are where we meet people most in need, especially families reliant on free school meals. There has been a surge in demand since lockdown with requests in our Waterloo Foodbank, for example, rising by 400%. Staff have now switched from up a pick-up service to delivering food parcels to homes.
In Media City, Salford and Oldham, our Hubs are providing freezer-ready meals for families. Oasis Hub Henderson Avenue in Scunthorpe, will become the distribution centre for the local food response, while Oasis Hub Short Heath in Birmingham is working with the Council and other charities to provide food every day between 12-2pm.
Of 30,000 students in our 52 Oasis academies, several thousand are classed as ‘vulnerable’ which can mean home is not always a safe place to be or that they are carers themselves. Our school staff and Hub youth workers are making regular doorstep visits and online contacts in order to keep in touch, including over the school holidays.
A&E departments in hospitals in south and north-east London are still referring young people who have been affected by violence to our youth workers for follow-up and online mentoring. While youth clubs are closed, our community youth workers are keeping in touch with young people online, on the phone, and running sessions digitally.