Charities unable to reopen due to social distancing guidelines

PUBLISHED: 09:38 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 17 August 2020

The charity's office in Clevedon is unlikely to reopen while social distancing guidelines are in place.

The charity's office in Clevedon is unlikely to reopen while social distancing guidelines are in place.

Archant

Two charities in North Somerset are unable to reopen their Clevedon offices due to the new social distancing rules.

North Somerset Citizens Advice – based in the village hall – and Second Step stopped operating from their offices in Old Street at the start of lockdown in March.

North Somerset Citizens Advice says it is unlikely to open again while social distancing remains in place. The charities have stressed they will continue to support people, even though they may not be able to resume as normal for the time being.

Fiona Cope, chief executive of North Somerset Citizens Advice, said: “As a charity we cannot afford to pay for venues that we are not using and it is for this reason alone that we’ve made the very difficult decision to leave the old village hall. And this has been case for all our advice venues across North Somerset. However, we would like to reassure local residents that this does not mean we are leaving Clevedon or indeed anywhere else in North Somerset and we are doing all we can to make sure we are available to everyone when they need us.”

There are plans to deliver a face-to-face advice service via video conferences, as well as offering pre-booked appointments for the most vulnerable people.

And the advice service says it is working closely with the North Somerset Together network – which includes Clevedon Aid and Clevedon Town Council – to provide video conferencing facilities or Zoom booths from community locations.

Mental health charity Second Step has also been offering support through phone calls and online.

The charity’s wellbeing service manager, Claire Denyer, said: “We immediately offered support to our clients via one-to-one phone calls, as well as launching our Virtual Wellbeing College, which offers a variety of online wellbeing activities and groups.

“Throughout, we have followed government guidelines in order to keep our clients, volunteers and staff safe, and due to continuing social distancing guidance we are unable to use the Old Street office. We are still taking new referrals and have wellbeing groups on Zoom Monday to Friday.”

Contact Citizen Advice on 03444 111444 or www.nscab.org.uk. Contact Second Step on 03330 233504 or NSWellbeing@second-step.co.uk.


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