Thank you to everyone who is continuing to support our work throughout the lockdown with donations, shares and messages of support.
Loneliness is affecting people across the country, including vendors.
Several vendors are beginning to exhibit signs of stress caused by loneliness, inactivity or just the uncertainty surrounding current events. Staff have spent time talking to these vendors, answering questions as best we can and offering support such as financial advice, signposting to other services and discussing how we can use the Vendor Support Fund to help them.
A vendor in London has been struggling with their mental health. He was prepared to leave the hotel he has been housed in but after several conversations he agreed to stay. We have also purchased a laptop for him via the Vendor Support Fund. The laptop will help him to stave off isolation as well as hopefully providing future opportunities and upskilling.
Landlords may not be able to evict tenants, but not everyone has secure housing.
A vendor has been threatened with eviction because she can’t pay the rent. She is subletting and has no contract in her name. The landlady says she can stay for one more month. We have given her contact details for Shelter and Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
She has no form of income and is in a desperate situation that makes her an easy target for exploitation. She said she had no food so has been supplied with a £25 supermarket voucher. She also only has £5 on her electric card – we have asked her to find out who her supplier is so we can add credit to her account.
A vendor in Bristol has been referred to St Mungo’s outreach team as his solution to rough sleeping (staying at a friend’s) is no longer possible. We were able to secure him an urgent assessment, which he reports has helped him to feel ‘less stressed, like I’m actually being looked after and not just forgotten about’.
Vendors with children have been finding this time challenging.
We have set up a referral pathway to a local baby bank called Ashleys Birthday Bank in Bournemouth. They provide essential packs for families with babies and young children to help them through their difficult time. We can can complete a referral form and send directly to the baby bank!
A vendor is homeschooling her two children during lockdown. We informed her about free educational programs available online and how to access them. We also helped her apply for the free school meal voucher scheme and let her know other ways we can support her through lockdown.
We are also ensuring to supporting fur babies.
We delivered dog food to 7 vendors around London who have been struggling to feed their animals. The food was donated by Street Vet. The wellbeing of the animals is often directly linked to the wellbeing of the vendors and so it is essential to keep both as healthy as possible. Where donations are not possible, we are using the Vendor Support Fund to purchase pet food and get it delivered to vendors.
Some vendors are using this time to get creative.
We have supplied four vendors with art supplies as they have no form of entertainment in their accommodation. This also helps to combat loneliness and can be a very helpful distract for vendors struggling with substance misuse.
One of the vendors is a trained artist would like to use the Vendor Support Fund to get hold of various art supplies. He hopes to be able to build up a cache of art that he can then sell after the lockdown.
Every vendor’s needs will be unique as every person’s situation is unique and thanks to your support, we will support each individuals needs as best we can.