How Centrepoint is supporting homeless young people

We are doing everything we can to support homeless young people in the UK, both in our services and via our freephone national helpline.

Throughout this global pandemic, we will continue to keep young people safe and provide them with the best support possible. The wellbeing of both young people and our staff, and keeping our accommodation services open, remain our top priorities.

This is the biggest challenge Centrepoint has ever faced. But we have been overwhelmed by the efforts of our staff, who have gone the extra mile and more to ensure homeless young people are safe and secure.

We are extremely proud to have a highly skilled, dedicated and compassionate workforce that can always be relied upon, but they need your support to be able to keep going during this crisis.

Here are the key ways that we are supporting homeless young people and working to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus:

  • The Centrepoint Helpline remains fully open for young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We have already seen an increase in calls from young people who are at greater risk of becoming homeless because of coronavirus. Our team are working tirelessly to keep up with demand and will continue to provide the expert support and advice that is so desperately needed.

  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will be provided to key workers. Including gloves, masks and aprons for all staff working in our essential residential services, to minimize the risk of exposure and ensure they remain safe.

  • Our crucial health and wellbeing service will continue to operate. This comprises of psychotherapy and mental health sessions, nutrition and dietetics advice, and healthy relationships advice. It is hugely important to maintain good mental and physical wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak – something many homeless young people will struggle with in the coming months. The health needs of the young people we support during these challenging times will be of utmost priority.

  • Young people required to self-isolate in our residential services will have access essentials. This includes food and mobile data to keep in touch with the outside world. We are exploring product donations to support this. To find out how you can help, visit our ‘Your Help’ page.

  • Young people and members of staff diagnosed with Coronavirus will be supported to self-isolate. We are undertaking more regular deep cleans of the services and ensuring hand washing guidelines are promoted and adhered to for all staff and residents.

  • The reduction in our frontline workforce is inevitable, but we are training staff to step in. We have worked quickly to identify other key members of staff working across Centrepoint who have the necessary skills and understanding of Centrepoint services to provide support in our residential services. We will also hire additional locum support where needed and are preparing by delivering training to internal teams who may be seconded to services.

A message from our Wandsworth Housing and Support Manager, Matthew Carlisle

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that young people have all the information they need to keep themselves safe, while providing the everyday essentials like toilet roll, sanitiser, cleaning products and hand soap. This is a struggle in itself, due to mass panic buying across the country.

"Visitor bans are in place in our services to restrict the number of people coming in and out, as we want to keep young people’s homes as safe as possible throughout this period. Funds are being used to buy food and other essentials as and when young people need them, as many of our usual food donations have stopped deliveries due to the crisis.

"We will also help young people go into self-isolation if necessary by adapting services to cope, and are reassuring them they're not alone – staff will of course be here to help them through. One of the most important things we’re doing is providing emotional support to young people, who are scared just like the rest of us. 

"Some young people said to me today that they’re shocked staff are still here in services. I told them, ‘I will be here unless I get sick, and so will my staff. We won’t disappear when things get tough. We will get through this together by following the guidelines and supporting each other when needed.’

"I cannot keep services safe and Covid-19 free without young people’s cooperation and, as always, they have not disappointed me yet. They are positive, listening to advice, and a real pleasure to serve.”

We are doing everything we can to support the young people in our services and those facing homelessness elsewhere in the UK. However, with costs increasing and funding more uncertain than ever, in order to continue this vital work we need your help.

Please donate what you can.

To find out more about how you can get involved, click here.