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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
29 July 2020
Our ‘guest contributor’ this week is Sally
Night Shelter and Homelessness in Barnet
This week’s newsletter is being devoted to information about the night sleepers project that we ran for three months each year in partnership with Alyth Synagogue and Homeless Action Barnet (HAB).
We want you to be kept up to date with what is happening and know about the tireless work that has been taking place in order to provide shelter and food for those who have need during this time. We would also like you to be aware of the range of help that is still urgently needed and will be so for some time to come. There are many different ways you could provide support if you would like to do so. They are listed at the end of this letter.
As you know we had to stop hosting our guests at the beginning of lockdown because of the pandemic. Our church was closed along with those of others. Dormitory-style sleeping and roving-shelters were not thought safe. Since then, although no formal advice has yet been published by government, Local Authorities have been advised that dormitory-style night shelters are not safe at the current time and are not to continue when the lock-down is lifted. As a result, there will not be any more Night Shelters in the form with which we are familiar.
An official letter to Night Shelter organisers on 3rd July, stated that Night Shelters should still remain closed and “Further advice in the coming weeks” would be provided.
A further issue for those maintaining the shelters at the beginning of lock-down was that many volunteer providers had to shield themselves immediately, those over 70 years old, people with underlying health issues and those caring for vulnerable family members ceased to be available. Keeping the buildings open and the project continuing became virtually impossible. Everyone was concerned about the long-term welfare of those who needed the shelters and worried about what was going to happen to them.
However threatening the virus is for all of us, we have homes; those who were our guests have no homes. They have nowhere to go except the parks, bus shelters and doorways. HAB with, Together in Barnet(TIB), who are instrumental in supporting people without homes across Barnet, worked tirelessly to organize support in so many different ways to ensure everyone had somewhere to go, were fed and cared for.
I attended two zoom meetings; one with organizations that support the homeless across London, and there are many; the second with HAB and TiB to hear about what had been taking place in Barnet specifically and to find out what is likely to be happening in the future. The following is the information that was given, which you might like to know about, with requests for help that is needed.
Once the Government realized the large numbers of people that were sleeping in the streets and the general danger of their continuing to do so, they directed that accommodation had to be found to house them. Rent and compensation were paid to the owners of hotels, landlords of flats and rooms. Charities and organisations working together across London negotiated with the Government and their Local Authorities to see that as many as possible were housed and fed. Listening to those involved and hearing all they were doing, often in extremely difficult circumstances, was mind blowing. I began to wonder when they slept.
In Barnet, HAB and TiB staff with their trustees and a whole host of volunteers, got organised to support about 150 clients in temporary accommodation. They provided meals, bedding and care packages which are dropped off by volunteer drivers who work in teams. TiB volunteers supported HAB in delivering 100+ food parcels every Monday and Thursday to clients across Barnet, Enfield, Brent, Haringey, Hackney, Islington and Camden and continue to do so. They have 94 drivers at present on their lists but badly need more especially so when the furlough scheme ends.
Negotiations took place with the council to constantly review and keep on top of the often fluid situation. There are currently over 150 people in emergency Covid-Temporary Accommodation, that are Barnet’s responsibility. Need Assessments are conducted with each client to see what suitable accommodation they can be moved into.
Once central government funding runs out in September there are around 16 people who would fall into the “No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) category. They will get no more assistance from the Local Authority. They are at risk of returning to the streets with no money and little support. These are mainly non-EEA migrants, refused asylum seekers and those with ongoing immigration applications. But, numbers are never static as new people present every week to make homelessness applications. Across London it is expected, that once those who were housed through lock-down provision have to leave their accommodation, numbers will increase dramatically.
Did you know that Barnet has the 4th highest number of furloughed people in London? (48,500 people). Once furlough ends this will have a knock-on effect in three directions. It will affect those whose rent ceases to be protected and evictions will be allowed again so they are likely to be made homeless. Those furloughed who lose their jobs and therefore their incomes could be likely to find themselves homeless too. For those in work and having to return to their offices the end of furlough will affect numbers who are at present volunteering to help with driving the food, taking care packages around to those in temporary accommodation, cooking the lunches, or collecting prescriptions for those who are unwell. As mentioned above when that happens more drivers will be badly needed.
As you can see, this leaves a real dilemma for those involved in caring for the homeless and equally so for those in need. It raises many questions. What will happen, for example, when the government payment for temporary accommodation ceases? What will happen at the end of the furlough scheme? How are the practical issues of finding other accommodation to be resolved as dormitory sleeping or rolling shelters are banned? Barnet is not offering any facilities like ex-care homes or school buildings.
HAB and TiB are part of the Homeless Forum discussions. It can be seen that the issues will become more urgent as numbers grow and volunteers diminish. It would be an understatement to say that that HAB and TiB staff are desperate as time is getting short. They are all working flat-out and have exhausted themselves.
The question for them, but also for us is, where else can they look? What else can they do? They are desperate for creative solutions to help overcome these pressing issues and would welcome ideas and suggestions from anyone reading this.
This is where we can come in with any ideas and suggestions you may have to contribute towards resolving the problems. Out-of-the-box ideas from divergent thinkers will be so welcome. You never know, just one idea, that may seem a bit far-fetched or unlikely to you, may hide the gem of something that can be developed. All will be considered.
You could contact me if you would like to talk over an idea by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and I will speedily reply, or, send an email to Amanda Weiss, TIB’s Operations Manager at: Amanda@togetherinbarnet.org
It would be so good if we at Golders Green Church could help in any way we can. We will not be hosting the Night Sleepers this year and many of you have helped out with that so this would be another way of offering support and so very welcome.
Requests For Help:
If you can help please go through the list below and contact Amanda Weiss. She and her team will be more than pleased to hear from you. All donations can be dropped off at Homeless Action in Barnet, 36b Woodhouse Road, N12 0RG any time Monday to Friday between 9am and 3pm.
Or you could contact me and I will arrange anything you want to donate to be delivered to HAB
Do you have a few hours to spare to deliver food to those in need? TiB and HAB support over 100 clients who are in Covid Emergency Temporary Accommodation across London. They have teams of dedicated volunteers delivering care-packages every Monday and Thursday afternoon but badly need more.
What you need to know:
• Volunteers can sign up for as many or as few shifts as they want and specificity which area they are able/willing to drive to.
• The care packages are picked up from HAB, in North Finchley, at 2:30pm on the delivery days.
• Each volunteer is paired with another volunteer, so no one is working by themselves. Those from the same household can travel in the same car, otherwise volunteers are partnered up and follow each other in convoy to complete the deliveries.
• Strict social distancing is practiced by staff and volunteers at the day centre and the deliveries are ‘no contact’ in line with government guidelines.
• Hand gel and gloves are available at HAB (please bring your own small bottle to fill up with hand gel)
If you are interested in helping out please contact Amanda Weiss, Together in Barnet’s Operations Manager – email@example.com
Please can you donate any of the following:
- Second hand mobile phones and chargers
- Good quality pots and pans
- Can openers
- Good quality bedding (sheets, duvets, pillows) no rips, tears, stains (something you would use yourself!).
- Small washing up liquid
- Toilet Rolls
- UHT Milk
- Tinned meat
- Small jars of coffee
- Pot/packet noodles
- Stir in sauces
- Treats (chocolate, sweets, biscuits)
- Tinned soup
- Tinned fish
- Tinned veg (sweetcorn, carrots, potatoes, peas etc)
- Stock cubes
- Individual cooking oils
- Sachets of salt and pepper
- Long life puddings e.g. Tinned fruit or rice pudding
Thank you Sally
Holiday for the soul
The idea of a ‘holiday for the soul’ is for many of us more attractive than ever in these strange and uncertain times. On Saturday, 1st August, the writer, retreat leader and broadcaster Brian Draper is leading an online quiet day, hosted by the Royal Foundation of St Katharine. It’s a wonderful opportunity for a spiritual holiday, when we can find peace and refreshment wherever we are, and however we’re experiencing the ‘new normal’. Do consider booking for this very special time: you can find more information here: https://rfsk.org.uk/event/holiday-for-the-soul-a-quiet-day-with-brian-draper-broadcast-online/.
Update from Dorothy
Bless the Lord oh my soul praise His holy name He sent His word and heal my disease through your prayer. I finished my chemotherapy and CT scan which revealed my liver is very healthy, there is no tumour in my breast and bone Praise the Lord
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support
God bless you all
Christian Aid launches first ever survey of black Christians and climate justice
Christian Aid is launching an exciting project to explore the experiences, beliefs and habits of black Christians in relation to climate justice. This will be the first ever study of its kind.
If you are a black Christian living in the UK, we would love you to fill out the survey, and also share within your networks and on social media. The survey is open until the end of August. This is a good opportunity to share your views on a subject that has such huge implications for all of us, and for the whole of God's creation.
It can be accessed here bit.ly/2CcwbsO (and will only take 10 minutes to fill out).
Update on the re-opening of the church.
In the light of the recent Government announcements the subgroup of the PCC met again last week to think through and discuss what we need to do so we can re-open safely.
Thank you very much for all of you who have contacted us in recent weeks supporting the decision to take a cautious approach to ensure all of us are kept safe from this terrible virus.
The Bishops of London and Edmonton have written to all churches making it very clear that although we are now permitted to open, we should only do so where it is considered safe.
The subgroup thought that it would be sensible to work towards opening the church in September providing that there is no second spike of the virus.
We will keep you all informed at each step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask any question you have.
While we would like us all to be back together again, we want to do so in a way that prioritises everyone’s health and safety. This is in the forefront of our minds.
The sub-group at our meeting began to build a ‘Road Map’ of what needs to happen and be in place before we can open.
These are some of the steps that we need to take
Deep clean the building before it is opened - ensuring all surfaces and door fixtures, light switches are cleaned in line with Public Health England guidelines, and Historic England guidance for cleaning of historic and delicate surfaces. (We have contacted a company who provides this service and are awaiting a quote from them)
We need enough cleaning products to ensure all surfaces and door fixtures, light switches are cleaned after each time the building is used. (we will be contacted our cleaner to ensure they are ready to restart work in the church)
need to remove all Bibles, prayer books, leaflets etc from the building.
removing holy water from stoups, all candles and matches/lighters
to have a rota in place of sufficient people to welcome and to ensure those who entered the building keep to the appropriate distancing requirements
Clearly marked separate in- and-out entrances and exits
Clearly marked one-way system around the church. (Tape should be arriving in a few weeks)
keeping a register of all those entering and leaving the building who sign in with their own pens
ensuring there are required sanitizer washing facilities at the doors for all those entering. (we are currently sourcing these)
Hand sanitizer dispensers outside the toilets (we are currently sourcing these)
Order face masks for those volunteers helping with the welcome and the service. (we have sufficient masks on site)
We need posters and signage outlining the Government guidelines to display around the church. (we are currently sourcing these)
We need to remove the sofas and children’s toys out of the church.One of the group has volunteered to measure the church and workout seating and capacity for the congregation with social distancing.
As you can see there is still much to be done, but to repeat, we want to open the but only as soon as we feel it is safe, our safety is in the forefront of all our planning.
Daily Hope - The Church of England Phone line church service - is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them
Okey Jnr, Margaret, Yvone, Anna, Jason, Ian, Eva, Juliette, Ivor, Myfanwy, Tim and Dorothy
We at Golders Green Church will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW. We are drawing up a list of volunteers we can call on to help. If anyone wants to add their names to this, please email Rex firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio, Television and Online Worship
You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Free 24 hour telephone church service 0800 804 8044
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to " ps://www.achurchnearyou.com", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covid-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/
YouTube - Worship Video of the week
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igs3mNsppsI All Souls Orchestra - Love Divine All Loves Excelling
Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Rex at email@example.com