Biodiversity & Climate ChangeEynsham HeritageMaps & WalksLocal Covid Response

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Gatehouse during the pandemic 28 Jan 2021 (Gatehouse Volunteers) A message from Zoe at Gatehouse to all our donors about how the team are managing to continue serving the homeless.

 Life at The Gatehouse is very busy and often, when government guidance is issued we are left with 24 hours notice to implement huge changes. 
The new lockdown hasn't changed life for us too much and we continue to offer the takeaway cafe and our food delivery programme in line with government guidance and strict health and safety policies in place. We are sending out around 53 food parcels a week with our volunteer driver team and seeing between 25 and 35 guests a night in the takeaway cafe. 
Within the takeaway cafe, we are still providing sandwiches, hot drinks, pot noodles and a new addition of jacket potatoes on Sundays and Thursdays. Being able to offer our guests hot food has been a real game changer for us over the last few weeks and it's great to be able to offer something hot. We are potentially looking at expanding our hot food service but it is dependent on finances and resources available. We are still, sadly, offering a takeaway cafe as we are only allowed a maximum of 9 people in the hall at any one time but I am hopeful that soon enough, we will be able to offer our guests a place of warmth and community once more. Since we reopened after the initial lockdown period, we have served just over 3000 meals to our guests. 
The food delivery programme continues to run and in the 9 months we have been running this program, we estimate that we have provided enough food for around 10,000 meals. We hope to continue this service for as long as possible. We are very much dependent on food supplies for this and as rules and restrictions are tightened in supermarkets, it becomes ever more difficult for us to do so. 
Our 1:1 team continues to work remotely and have achieved some great outcomes in 2020. A lot of charity funding has enabled us to be able to provide forms of id to guests, provide gas to a guest who lives on a boat and even the purchase of a laptop and printer for one guest. There were over 850 different forms of communication with the guests from the 1:1 team in October to December so a sure sign that this service is a vital lifeline to many of our guests. 

We are still heavily reliant on the donations we receive from our wider reaching community and are especially grateful to those groups who have been able to continue to support us through a very difficult year. 
Christmas was an unusual time for us this year as we were not able to offer our usual christmas present wrapping event however we were very kindly gifted rucksacks for our guests which included a cafe voucher, pants/socks, chocolate, tea and coffee- just to name a few of the things included. The backpacks were very popular amongst our guests and we had managed to distribute them all within 2 nights of the takeaway cafe being open.
We continue to offer our clothes store to our guests and as usual, we were wildly inundated with donations over Christmas. I think this was also heightened due to the closure of charity shops. We have slowly but surely managed to work our way through most donations and are beginning to accept things again from the  31st January. We are currently only able to accept donations on Sundays between 2 and 4pm due to our very limited staff and volunteer capacity. We are particularly short of winter clothing for men, especially coats, jeans and jumpers. 
I hope you and your families are safe and well in these very strange circumstances we find ourselves in although hopefully now, there is some light at the end of the tunnel with the introduction of the vaccine rollout programme. 

 

Biodiversity & Climate ChangeEynsham HeritageMaps & WalksLocal Covid Response