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24 March 2020

Coronavirus: KEY Project staying connected

Like many similar organisations, South Tyneside youth homeless charity KEY Project has had to creatively reimagine how it can continue to deliver its usual services while following the latest government COVID-19 advice.

The priority is to maintain service provision where possible while protecting the health and well-being of the young people and families KEY supports, its staff, volunteers, partner organisations and the wider public.

Accordingly, KEY has revised the raft of special measures it first implemented in response to the escalating situation but understands that during these uncertain times the need for it to continue to deliver its projects is greater than ever.

KEY’s dedicated team of staff are a positive and resilient bunch and have embraced the challenge of ‘thinking outside the box’ to ensure all its main services are continuing to function in some form, even if now only possible remotely with the majority of staff working from home.

Prevention, Mediation and Intervention is being provided by phone to all its families at risk of breakdown on a day to day basis. KEY is also introducing group mediation using Zoom conferencing to ensure it can continue to keep families together.

The charity is still working tirelessly with its statutory partners to ensure any young person who presents as homeless in South Tyneside is found a safe and secure place to stay.

KEY’s supported accommodation properties, although now in lockdown, remain fully operational and at capacity, and are enforcing the latest restrictions around health and safety.

With the Baring Street office now closed and home visits suspended unless in an emergency, Tenancy Support clients are being contacted daily with video calling offered, to make certain that no young person is left feeling isolated by reduced opportunities for face to face contact.

During this uncertain period, KEY is also working hard to engage more online too, not only with its vulnerable young people and their families but with the wider public, creating and sharing better content and giving out advice, help and tips to keep its community feeling connected.

Ross Allen, Executive Lead at KEY, said “While KEY Project is doing a great job of adapting and mobilising to the rapidly changing circumstances of this unprecedented situation, our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable within our community remains unchanged. Though the advice is to practise social distancing, KEY is reaching out more than ever to interact with our community, pulling together will get us through this, community is KEY.”