WERS Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further to our update of 12th March, we wanted to communicate with you on further actions we are taking at West End Refugee Service (WERS). We have a duty of care to the people who access our services, our supporters, volunteers and staff, and want to act responsibly to safeguard people’s health, particularly those who are vulnerable and in urgent need. As a precaution we have taken the difficult decision to adjust some of the services that we offer until further notice.

From Wednesday18th March:

 We are continuing to give hardship payments to clients in 4 week cycles (rather than weekly and fortnightly), reducing the number of visits they need to make to WERS offices. This will be distributed at the front door of the building between 10am and 12noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and between 11am and 12noon on Wednesday. Clients and staff are requested to maintain the recommended distance of 2 metres from each other.

 We are continuing to give an increased number of toiletries, sanitary products and other essential items we have available, to give out to people who receive hardship payments.

 We are closing the Clothing Store with immediate effect. Clients who are in receipt of hardship payments, and others in urgent need can let a member of staff know what essential items are needed. The staff member will then obtain an item from within the current stock.

 We can no longer accept donations to the Clothing Store. WERS does not have the space to store large amounts of items, and we are already up to capacity.

 We are advising clients to access advice and support over the telephone. This will be available during our usual office opening hours:  Monday 09:30 – 13:00, 14:00 – 16:00  Tuesday 09:30 – 13:00  Wednesday 11:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 16:00  Thursday 09:30 – 13:00  Friday 09:30 – 13:00  Clients can contact WERS on our office number 0191 273 7482 or using Whatsapp on 0782 622 1719 and 0782 611 7308.  Clients can also text the mobile numbers above if they need someone to call them back. We will get back to enquiries as soon as possible within the office hours.

 All SkillsMatch sessions are suspended until further notice.

 The surgeries held at WERS offices will be suspended until further notice, we will continue to work with partners and keep everyone informed of developments. If you require access to any of these services please speak to a member of WERS staff who will support you to access them in another way.

We understand that people rely on WERS to access and understand important information, so, we will review our responses as things develop and will continue to provide updates to volunteers, service users and supporters as soon as decisions are made. We will keep our website and social media pages updated on the situation. We would like to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to take necessary precautions and are following Government Guidelines to inform decision making.

For volunteers: In line with government guidelines around minimising contact between people, we are suspending any volunteering that requires face to face contact – this includes befrienders, support workers, skillsmatch buddies, and our clothing store volunteers. Befrienders will remain in contact with their befriendees via alternative communication methods (phone, Whatsapp, video calls etc), and we will continue to support volunteers and clients within this scheme. We will also continue to update our volunteers if there are other areas or ways in which they are able to offer support to our client group in these constantly changing circumstances. And if you have any questions or would like to chat with a member of the team, please do contact us on the usual number 0191 273 7482 or email info@wers.org.uk

Thank you in advance for your support and understanding.

Sean Gladwin


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