Housing association goes above and beyond for Andover Crisis and Support Centre

Housing association Aster Group has supported Andover Crisis and Support Centre to continue helping families during the Coronavirus outbreak by arranging emergency accommodation for a family in need.

Aster organised for the family to move into a property when one of the children started showing symptoms of Coronavirus.The quick actions meant the family could self-isolate safely and protected other families and staff at the crisis centre.

Staff also received a boost to the critical work they do after Aster donated six repurposed laptops for them to work from.

The Andover Crisis and Support Centre offers accommodation and support for women and their children in need of a safe environment after escaping domestic abuse. Their services include a telephone and drop in service offering information, advice and support focused on domestic abuse issues and a generic counselling service for the local community. Emergency “crash” beds are also available for women and their children who need short-term stays during a time of crisis.

Aster’s Hampshire lettings team found the home for the mum and her three young children, all under five years old after her two-year-old son started showing symptoms of Coronavirus. By 4pm the same day the family had moved in with new carpets fitted and white goods installed, giving them a safe, comfortable home.

Cam Kinsella, Aster Foundation director said: “The Andover Crisis and Support Centre provides a stable lifeline for many across the community facing challenging circumstances and when we heard of the difficulties they were facing we wanted to help.”

Yvonne Bradbury, Manager of Andover Crisis & Support Centre said: “Aster’s immediate response to our request for alternative accommodation for the mother and three children provided accommodation for the family in which they could follow government guidelines on self isolation. 

“The other eighteen families accommodated at the Centre and the staff working there were also able to carry on living and working in what is now our “new normal” within the stringent infection controls imposed.  It is difficult to express how grateful the staff team and current residents are but great big thank you Aster for coming forward to help during what is such a difficult time for everyone.

“The kind donations of laptops also mean that our team will be able to provide a much more efficient service to our clients.  We are able to access, retrieve and collate information to ensure that our clients get a fast, efficient, up to date, professional response to increase their safety and wellbeing.”

Aster donated the six reconditioned laptops after hearing about the difficulty staff were having using outdated computers. The laptops are being  used to help the Centre  plan for the future and introduce a new electronic case management system.   The Group will also be further supporting the Crisis Centre by providing training to staff around mental wellness and resilience. 

Support for the crisis centre is part of a wider initiative by Aster to support its communities through the Coronavirus pandemic. The recently launched Aster Connect volunteer initiative is connecting Aster employees with elderly and vulnerable customers with little or no support from family or friends. It’s hoped that regular phone calls to customers living on their own or in one of the group’s Independent Living Schemes will help to reduce isolation and loneliness. Over 3,000 welfare calls have also been made to customers living in their Extra Care schemes to ensure customers have all they in need in the way of food, medicine and support.

If you need support or would like to find out more about the Andover Crisis and Support Centre visit their website:  http://www.andovercrisisandsupportcentre.org.uk/support/.

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