The COVID-19 outbreak has transformed day to day life for millions of people across the world; in the UK it has already caused a terrible loss of life and closed down many aspects of our society.
As a housing provider with an active voice in the community, the outbreak has affected the services we offer our customers, necessitating major changes in the ways in which we deliver them.
The closure of schools in particular has placed additional strain on many families, creating a need to provide childcare, entertainment and an additional meal a day during the week. For families who were already in a vulnerable position, this situation is particularly challenging.
One immediate change we’ve been able to implement at Radian has been via our Good Grub Club. This originally started in Southampton to support children and their families who receive free school meals during the school holidays. Working with a number of partners, each day we provide free healthy meals and activities for these children and their families, creating a social environment that reduces isolation and helps to establish a healthy lifestyle.
During our time facilitating the Club, its health and social benefits have been evident, and just a couple of weeks ago we were preparing our activities for the Easter Holidays.
The COVID-19 shutdown changed everything very quickly.
To react to the challenge, we quickly set up Good Grub Club at Home, delivering hampers of fresh food and recipe suggestions to families in the local area. The food and recipes support healthy living while people are required to stay at home. The hampers also include activity packs kindly donated by our partners Solent University that are tailored for activities at home, both indoors and in gardens.
Our strong existing relationships in the community have allowed us to identify the need for such support. Engaging with existing users of the Club has also meant that their valuable feedback has been able to shape Good Grub Club at Home.
Logistically, it has been a major challenge. As an organisation we have obviously been observing the government instruction on work and social distancing. Small teams have been working apart to prepare the hampers and ensure that they are distributed to the families that need them. This has required regular deep cleaning to ensure the safety of recipients and our colleagues.
Agile solutions are required to face up to the challenges of this situation, and we have been able to call on the help of our technical service team to deliver the packages. This team has been limited in the work that they can do currently, so making use of their capacity has been invaluable in supporting the Club.
The help provided by another of our partners, Fareshare, a food donation charity, has also been crucial to making this possible. They have been on hand to collect food and ensure that we have adequate supplies to make the hampers. Even at the current time, there is still adequate surplus food to ensure healthy meals for all.
The next priority for us is to roll out the Good Grub Club at Home more widely across Southampton. Managing this process will be challenging but the need for the service we provide is clear. We look forward to working with more families in the months ahead as the country works together to overcome the current challenges.
Lucy Davis, Community Development Officer