Breaking Down the Barriers with a Friendly Face
Posted on July 22nd, 2020 at 3:56PM
During the last few months as the UK was in lockdown the REACH Resource Centre in Haverhill, Suffolk, had to close it's physical doors. But it hasn't stopped them from helping people in need wherever possible.
Ann Allen, the Client Relationship Manager at the REACH Centre has been talking to us about how they're now looking at the next steps in helping those in their local community by re-opening their physical doors again, whilst adhering to all the new Covid-19 rules.
The REACH Centre, based in a row of shops in the centre of Haverhill, is in normal circumstances busy with people popping in for a cup of tea and a chat about their situation. The centre provides help through debt counselling, benefits advice, a food bank and Acts 435. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic began they transferred their services to the telephone, and doorstep food drop-offs.
They've helped many individuals and families with Acts 435 requests during the pandemic, including a lady who they had already been supporting. She was re-housed to Haverhill following domestic violence and lives a 3-mile walk from the town centre. She has two small children, and was in desperate need of a double buggy to help her get out and about. The request was met very quickly and the buggy ordered and delivered the same day - what a lifesaver during lockdown for this lady to get out and about with her children.
Since the easing of lockdown many of our partner churches and charities have begun thinking about how they can reopen with social distancing in place. For the REACH Centre it is important for them to be able to break down the physical barriers that have existed for the last few months, and enable those who are vulnerable and isolated to see a friendly face.
They have begun opening for just 4 hours a week - with one person allowed into the centre at a time, full PPE for the centre staff and a one-way system in place. They're hoping it will not just provide a friendly face, but enable them to help more people who are suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic - as the centre becomes more visible again to the community. They have advertised in local press, radio and on social media to advertise that their help and support is available again.
The REACH Resource Centre was one of the first Acts 435 partner charities, and has gone from strength to strength to provide the community with desperately needed direct financial help. We recently visited the team there, before the pandemic, to have a look at how Acts 435 can work in a charity setting, and you can view this video below.
We can't wait to see how more of our partners are able to re-open their physical doors in the near future, but are so grateful to all of those who have been able to carry on throughout the pandemic through other means. You can read more on these stories in our other recent blogs: