Responsive Services during Covid-19

From March 2020 High Trees worked hard to transition all our services to remote delivery, and by mid-April all our services were available to our existing and new users as remote support. We ran the vast majority of our adult education classes (with understandable exceptions for beginners IT courses) via a mixture of online classes, one-to-one support via telephone, group and one-to-one support on WhatsApp and videos from our tutors online. Our Children and Young People’s service also ran throughout lockdown, with zoom activities (from quizzes, to group chats and home cookery), telephone support for young people and their carers, and thanks to the generous support of donors we were able to deliver activity packs to the homes of each of our young people to ensure they had access to the resources they needed. We also set up a toy lending library, delivering board games and other activities to the young people’s homes – like many of the activities started during lockdown, this has remained with us now we’re able to re-open. Our Employment Support services also switched to remote delivery – primarily via telephone, WhatsApp and video calls, and despite the odds some of our beneficiaries gained jobs during this time – all had the offer of regular contact to ensure they were supported throughout.

High Trees also set up new services in response to the lockdown, having first consulted with hundreds of our current and past learners to determine their needs, and a review of emerging services to ensure High Trees was not duplicated other services being offered. This led to working with partners to set up Connecting Tulse Hill to tackle digital exclusion handing our 130 laptops or tablets and 60 Mi-Fi devices to Tulse hill Families – our report on this partnership can be found here. We also set up a Wellbeing and Referral Helpline for Tulse Hill residents, ensuring they could access support during this time, making referrals to other services (including issuing foodbank vouchers) and, where welcomed, making weekly check-in calls. Through this service our staff had 501 Wellbeing conversations with 278 unique beneficiaries, providing 344 hours of remote support.