How have you been holding up during the pandemic? We are all experiencing a lack of control and change to our routines. Having been homeless, many of our tenants live with persistent anxiety.  Especially if you have been forced to flee your home country in fear.

One of our Nottingham tenants and his family arrived in this country as refugees from Iran. Reunited via the Government’s Family Reunion scheme and allowed to stay together as a family, we welcomed them into a Hope into Action house.

They began to look to the future. With school and nursery places secured for the children, both parents began to concentrate on their college courses to improve their English and employability. But when Coronavirus hit all learning opportunities for this family came to a sudden stop.

Maintaining support to families like this in pandemic is a challenge that requires money and creative thinking.  Hope into Action Nottingham’s churches, neighbours and the wider community have stepped up.

Sarah Cray, our Nottingham Empowerment Worker explains.

“This family are not working yet and in receipt of benefits so on a low income. Although they had mobile data on their phone, they were unable to afford wifi access for their house and had no access to a laptop or tablet. With the closure of schools due to coronavirus this was a show-stopper for their oldest daughter who is in year 10. She is preparing for GCSE exams next year. She has already had to overcome language and cultural barriers at a key stage of education and risked further disadvantage while having to do school at home.

With donations from the Nottinghamshire Community Fund we were able to provide both internet access and a donated laptop for her to complete her school work. This was also useful for their 4 year old son who has struggled with boredom during lockdown. This meant the parents could stay up to date with ESOL work and access English lessons via Zoom provided by the local church.

Thanks to donated funds, we were also able to provide an Amazon firestick for their tv. They had no tv licence but can now access other free catch up and subscription services including educational content for the children and some much-needed entertainment.

The church has provided a box of blessings to help keep the little boy entertained. And they have sent email resources for home-schooling plus gifts of toys and clothes.

The previous tenant at the house is now part of the friendship and support group. Both families are from Iran and they have been a great help with translation and understanding cultural needs.  The neighbours who were so good to our first refugee family have also embraced the new family and been able to check in with them and have chats over the fence during lockdown. It was lovely not long after the family moved in back in February that they could celebrate the little boy’s 4th birthday which I got to pop into. Both the previous tenants and the family from next door were there with the children playing together.

The link with the family next door has also led to their church becoming a partner church for another house in the area. They are now signed up volunteers for that house!

If you would like to make a difference to our tenants lives please donate to our coronavirus appeal.