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Nick Barber - Sheltered and supported housing

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to my scheme in early August, says Nick Barber. It’s been challenging for both residents and ourselves over the past few months. While we have made sure residents have been called regularly – thanks to Hyde volunteers, we were able to make 10,000 calls in the first month of lockdown – it’s not the same as seeing someone in person.

Social distancing is obviously going to be really important, as many of our residents are in the vulnerable category and have been shielding or self-isolating. This means residents can’t just turn up to speak to me in my office but will need to contact me first, and I’ll need to wear protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask, to keep them safe.

It’s going to be great to officially allow residents to use the communal lounges again in August, as I’m sure many of them are missing their friends – we’re putting up lots of posters to explain that they need to keep their distance wherever possible. In some schemes the lounges are a bit small, so we will have to have a booking system too.

And I know those residents lucky enough to live in schemes with an on-site hair salon will be delighted they are opening in July but again, we will need to be careful, so we will only be allowing one customer at a time.

While we appreciate it’s been a really difficult and worrying time, we have done our very best to give all our residents as much help and contact as possible.

For example, thanks to the Hyde Charitable Trust, we were able to buy Chromebooks for some residents, so they could stay in touch with friends and family from the safety of their homes; buy a table and chairs for a shielding resident, so she could enjoy the outdoors from her balcony; and buy a talking microwave, so a partially-sighted resident could cook for herself.”

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