COVID-19: Our response

The people that rely on our services remain at the centre of all our decisions and ensuring we support them continues to be our number one priority

Latest update: 8th April 2020

In light of the developing events and increasing evidence on Covid-19, and following Government advice, St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity has now closed its office in Trafalgar Square.

Effective from Tuesday 17th March, our team is working remotely.  We continue to work hard to ensure our services remain as functional as possible during this time. We are continuing to develop and implement new ways of working to ensure our team, our Trustees, our partners and the people we support remain safe.

We are now holding all meetings on-line and continue working to establish systems that allow our staff to manage their workload and personal lives effectively and safely during the outbreak.

 

The Vicar’s Relief Fund

In order for us to concentrate on the VRF Emergency Fund, the VRF will be suspended from 12pm on 24th April until further notice. All unsubmitted applications will be deleted after this date.

However, you will still be able to apply for the same grant categories (Accessing Accommodation and Preventing Eviction) under Securing Accommodation in the VRF Emergency Fund. Please see below details of the VRF Emergency Fund.

 

The Frontline Network

The Frontline Network cancelled this year’s Frontline Network Annual Conference on 24th June at Mary Ward House in London, and we have suggested to our local partners that all local Network events for the next two months are cancelled. We are keen to ensure that services that are already stretched are not further impacted by staff needing to go into self-isolation following attendance at a Network event – if someone was to show symptoms for COVID-19. We are also conscious that services are already being impacted by staff capacity as people go into isolation and work from home. Considering this landscape, the Frontline Network is currently developing a response to the situation, collating and collecting information on what the impact is on services / people experiencing homelessness. Our main objective is to look at our funding response, adapt as necessary and where possible, ensure we are coordinating with partners and the wider sector.

We have now launched our VRF Emergency Fund.

This fund offers vital support to people experiencing homelessness in the following areas:

  • Basic Essential Needs
  • Overcoming Barriers to Support
  • Securing Accommodation

Apply to the VRF – Emergency Fund Today

 

The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields

The Connection at St Martin’s, both the day and night centres, will not be open from today, Friday 20th March. This is a decision made in order to prioritise the health of the people we support, as well as the staff. The Connection is available by phone for any support that you may need. You can reach them on 020 77 66 5555, or you can visit the Street Link website to access support.

The people that we work with, particularly rough sleepers, often have long term conditions and poor physical health which means that they are at a greater risk should they become ill. For those without a home, it is also very difficult to self-isolate. In both the day and night centres, large numbers of people spend time in close proximity, posing the risk of extensive spread of Covid-19. By closing regular services and working towards alternative ways of supporting clients on an individual basis, the aim is to do all that we can to keep people safe.

The current priority is to work closely with Westminster Council and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to get people who are currently accessing our multi-bed emergency accommodation into single bed accommodation where they are able to self-isolate as soon as possible. This includes facilitating the use of rooms in hotels and B&Bs. It also includes working to set up remote services so that we can continue supporting people during this difficult time. Please visit The Connection’s website for more information.

We will keep you updated of all future developments in all our communications channels. For the most up-to-date information, make sure you follow us on Twitter: @SMITFCharity and @SMITF_Frontline.   

Thank you again for your patience, generosity and ongoing support.   

With best wishes,  

The St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity Team.