The pop-up warehouse was home to the collection and distribution of everything we needed to ensure Christmas spirit for all.
Our work at Christmas is only made possible through the collective effort and generosity of our supporters across Britain who donate the vital resources needed to support people who are homeless. At the heart of this is the Crisis Christmas warehouse. A large-scale operation that oversees the distribution of the vast array of vital resources we need, from medical supplies, food and warm clothing to cleaning products, hygiene items and PPE. Every year we have incredible support from the public and businesses who generously donate many of these items to ensure we get all the resources we need to run our services.
This year, with your support, the warehouse team have been able to deliver hundreds of food packages to people facing homelessness during the pandemic, at a time when day centres and food banks had shut down. 2,004 people received a wellbeing pack, including information and advice, toiletries, phone credit, face masks, creative activities and materials, chocolates and sweets, clothing such as tracksuits, socks and gloves, and Christmas cards with messages from Crisis supporters.
One Crisis member explained how he felt about volunteering in the Crisis warehouse over Christmas, “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, it’s a step on the ladder.” Crisis helped him to secure housing during the first wave of the pandemic and he’s now staying in a studio funded by the government. This temporary accommodation has helped him to get his bearings and he’s applying for jobs.
Call Centre Befriending, Information and Advice
Not being alone doesn’t just mean physical proximity. It’s about knowing someone cares.
Meeting Crisis volunteers over Christmas means a lot to people whose homelessness can sap their sense of self and leave them feeling overlooked. This year, we might not have been able to sit down with guests and meet face-to-face, but your support has ensured that we could set up resources to carry out phone check-ins and virtual befriending services.
The launch of the brand-new call centre, situated at the Crisis Christmas warehouse, answered calls across the two week period. Our remote befrienders and advisors were also busy on the phones, delivering 327 befriending sessions and 597 advice sessions.
Whether people were lonely in hostels or emergency hotels, in a safe room but miles from the people they knew, we were able to provide connectivity. Your donation provided us with the ability to train our volunteers to ensure that good quality information, wellbeing advice and guidance was available to those who reached out, providing a first step to help with any longer-term needs and plans to leave homelessness for good.
Support over Christmas
Our staff and volunteers worked relentlessly throughout the Christmas period to provide our guests a respite from homelessness.
Volunteers have always been integral to our work during Christmas. However, because of the changes required to keep everyone safe, we were sadly not able to welcome all of our loyal volunteers this year both in London and the other regions of Great Britain.
In spite of this, our staff and volunteers on the frontline were still able to continue to offer support and connection in a socially distanced way, making inspiring changes to people’s lives.
- The team served delicious hot meals, delivered new clothes and ensured our guests had a safe stay for two weeks during some of the coldest days of the year.
- The volunteer healthcare team saw around 40% of our guests in week one providing health checks, podiatry and remote physio consultations.
- Guests took part in a wide range of online activities, including karaoke, carol singing, quizzes, magic shows, fitness and meditation run by volunteer wellbeing co-ordinators.
- People were also seen by our advice teams in socially distanced appointments, so they could start to make a plan for the future and start taking those vital first steps out of homelessness.
Your donations have helped us facilitate a way that guests, staff and volunteers could socially distance, but also allowed us to work with our most vulnerable guests in a more targeted way, providing the intensive support many of them will need to end their homelessness.
Case Management- Beyond Christmas
Christmas with Crisis is the first step towards supporting people out of homelessness and providing hope for the future.
2020 saw the first official full-time Christmas Case Management Team deployed following a successful trial the previous year. They are a dedicated team looking at the long-term options for guests to provide support, advice and advocacy to people after Christmas. Throughout the Christmas week the team aim to build relationships with guests and begin to understand their needs and long-term options, then put plans into action for the new year. These include referrals to access temporary accommodation so they are in a safer environment compared to rough sleeping on the street, dispensing Tesco Gift Cards to provide someone with money remotely so they could keep buying food, making phone calls to check they got into a night shelter safely, and ensuring they had basic provisions like travel cards or internet data.
The Case Management Team also got involved in things like making safeguarding alerts where guests may have been at risk of abuse or experiencing abuse. The team were able to link them in with social services very rapidly and get support plans going. This winter we kept our accommodation open for two weeks, which improved linking up with services that might have closed or reduced staffing levels over the Christmas period, so we had the best chance of helping guests access the longer term help they may need.