The Good Shepherd would like to update our volunteers, supporters and the general public on our continuing work to help the homeless and vulnerable across Wolverhampton during such a challenging time with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Good Shepherd will be continuing to offer services provided it is safe to do so, operating within guidelines from the Local Authority and Public Health England.
The food service, a key part of the charity’s offering, will continue but, on those days which normally involve the indoor dining service, hot takeout meals will be provided instead to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
The different support services offered by the Good Shepherd’s key workers will continue and, where possible, will be carried out via phone, WhatsApp or email in non-urgent situations.
Where urgent support and client interaction needs to take place, it will do so in the dining area where staff and volunteers are able to keep at least two metres distance apart, rather than in the normal one-to-one rooms.
The need for good hygiene and handwashing has been reiterated to staff and volunteers, and measures for additional cleaning of the Good Shepherd building on Waterloo Road put in place.
It has been left to volunteers to decide whether they are able to continue with their regular hours but anyone over 70, with underlying health conditions or experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 has been respectfully asked to temporarily stay away for their own safety. We look forward to seeing these volunteers again when the risk to health has been reduced.
If anyone presents to the Good Shepherd with symptoms, then staff or volunteers will follow appropriate guidance and liaise with the Local Authority on the best course of action regarding self-isolation.
Enterprise Homes, who operate and manage the Wolverhampton Church Shelter on the Good Shepherd site, are continuing to offer overnight accommodation in keeping with all the relevant advice from Public Health, but the Shelter has been suffering from a shortage of volunteers.
Anyone interested in overnight volunteering (there is a supervisor overseeing all nights at the Shelter) over the coming weeks is asked to email [email protected].
Tom Hayden, Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd, attended a special meeting of the Rough Sleepers’ Operational Group at the City of Wolverhampton Council on Tuesday afternoon to receive all the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
“All of us at the Good Shepherd are well aware of the challenges people are facing with the Coronavirus, and the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in our community are no exception,” said Tom.
“We remain passionate about helping those people who may feel they have nowhere else to turn, either for food or our other services, and we will continue to do so whilst – thinking of our staff, volunteers and service users – adhering to the regular updates we are receiving from Public Health.
“We are also expecting an increase in the need for food services and potential for home deliveries for people self-isolating in the coming weeks and we are speaking to our partner agencies to co-ordinate a response depending on the circumstances.
“Again, that might be an area where we would welcome the support of any new volunteers that would be able to help us distribute food in the local community.
“There is already a really strong partnership within Wolverhampton of charities and agencies aiming to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and poverty, and our aim is to utilise these relationships to make sure we are there for people who need our help during this challenging and uncertain time.”
In anticipation of an increased need for food in the coming weeks, anyone who would like to help is asked to donate non-perishable items such as tins or pasta to the Good Shepherd collection box by the tills in Sainsbury’s at Chapel Ash.
For other ways to support our work, or to offer to become a volunteer, click here to visit our website and download and complete the volunteer application form.
The Good Shepherd have also been approached by the community group set up on Facebook – Wolverhampton COVID-19 Mutual Aid – and will be liaising with them if we require further help over the coming weeks.
The charity would like to wish everyone well and encourage all within the community to support and look out for each other through these difficult times.