Housing associations are in a unique position to provide quality homes and services that enable individuals, families, and communities to live well across the country.  

This week, as part of the National Housing Federation’s #HomesAtTheHeart campaign, we’re going to be sharing lots of stories which show the benefits of quality homes and services on the health of those living in South Yorkshire and beyond – something which has been more important than ever before during the outbreak of Coronavirus.  

Since the UK went into lockdown in March our entire organisation has been adapting to continue providing a highquality service which puts our customers’ best  interests and wellbeing at the heart of everything. We’ve also been embracing new collaborations and creative thinking to ensure that we respond to the health and housing challenges borne from the pandemic, as well as continuing to work with those already involved with our services. 

Our customers and communities have shown so much kindness, compassion and creativity throughout the last few months. Our services are brilliantly placed to make the most of these local talents and skills, and to link people and organisations up to support each other.

So far (since March 23rd)our LiveWell teams have worked with 3,323 customersand they have welcomed 94 new customers onto services (55 of which have started working with our homelessness services)Our social prescribing teams in Doncaster and Barnsley have worked with an additional 617 people to stay safe and well during the Coronavirus outbreak. They’ve received referrals from local GP practises, and have linked people up with volunteers, arranged food parcels, organsised prescriptions, sourced gardening tools and white goods, and more!  

Between our LiveWell at Home team and our Volunteer team’s phone befrienders, nearly 10,000 phone calls have been made to people living in communities too. This has provided companionship (for customers and for our teams!), a listening ear, and also led to lots of practical support and solutions being formed with customers. Our Age Better in Sheffield team have delivered over 2,000 Hello Neighbour activity boxes to people aged 50 and over in the community, and they’ve also been spreading joy through distanced music and dance performances and activities.  

In the cases where lockdown and social distancing has stopped some of the usual activities that enable people to live well independently, our teams have been  embracing technology (and megaphones!) to connect. They’ve also been providing doorstep packages, weekly food deliveries, physical activities from a distance, and a sense of community and hope 

All of this work has been about making sure that the people involved with South Yorkshire Housing Association, and those who have recently come to know us, are able to live as well as possible during an extraordinary time, and in the future.  

We believe that the #HomesAtTheHeart campaign is The National Housing Federation’s most important one yet.

It is calling on the government to listen to our stories (of how we’ve responded to the Coronavirus outbreak and how we’ve worked in the years before it, too) and invest in more of what we know makes an enormous difference to the health of the nation: good quality homes and services that are focused on working with people to live well.

Keep following the #HomesAtTheHeart campaign online – we’ll be sharing more stories throughout the week!