Coronavirus update

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CHIPS Coronavirus update

Last updated 5 May 2020

Recently, we launched our emergency response to help vulnerable Brixton families and young people to make it through the crisis. Read more, and donate to our crowdfunding appeal, here.

We are praying for all those affected by the epidemic around the world and in the communities we serve, asking for God’s wisdom for those in positions of authority and decision-making, and continually reviewing how we – as a charity of Christian peacemakers – can best respond.

Our CHIPS services

All the decisions we’re making right now are led by concern for the people we work with and compassion for people in vulnerable groups in the wider communities we serve.

Brixton

In Brixton, we have temporarily suspended all face-to face activity including community organising, mentoring and schools activity, in line with government advice and the closure of schools. Our office is currently closed to the public.

However, we’re working hard to provide regular and structured support in other ways. Maintaining and building healthy community relationships will be critical in the months ahead. All our activities are relational and community-led, so we’ve involved local young people, families and schools in our decisions on how we can continue to offer remote and online support with the help of technology.

We’ve rolled out a new weekly schedule of online youth engagement sessions. This includes group challenges, fitness and creative activities and mentoring sessions with students we work with at Lambeth secondary schools. We are also looking at how we can best support young people with access to technology and the internet where they need help. We’ve organised our activities in a way that helps give young people some structure to their week and allows them to involve others too.

We have a system of support in place for vulnerable local families. We have scheduled weekly calls with families who need help to check in on how they are doing and offer support, and a helpline for those with urgent needs to call. We’re offering practical help for families’ most urgent needs, such as assistance with shopping and prescriptions as well as food and fuel top-ups when nobody else can help. We’re helping people to access the specialist support they need from other organisations. And we are mentoring others to help them prepare for a positive future post-lockdown.

More broadly, we’re working closely with other local community organisations and local authority teams. We’ve been encouraged to see so much enthusiasm, communication and action, with a real sense of organisations pulling together and many volunteers engaging for the first time. 

Ghana

In Ghana, the coronavirus situation is currently less advanced. However, the country has closed its borders and the situation is continually developing. By 5 May, Ghana had recorded over 1,700 infections and 18 deaths.

We continue to run our six practical peacemaking projects as far as possible, however the virus is causing the pace of work to slow. We’re realistic that, even in the rural areas where we operate, more severe disruption is likely to occur. We believe that, in the months ahead, our animal-rearing, crops, beekeeping and savings and loan groups will appreciate even more the additional income streams that these activities can bring to their households. We’re therefore developing plans to continue to run activities remotely if possible.

We’re also working to share hygiene messaging and practices from our projects as widely as possible, such as our handwashing in schools project. Our strategy is to help the community access the correct information and contain the spread of infection.

We will continue to review how we can best position ourselves to help as the situation develops in Ghana more broadly, in a humanitarian as well as a peacemaking context.

Click here for a more in-depth article on the outlook in Ghana.

What could the Coronavirus mean for peace? Read our latest thought piece 

Further help on domestic violence

Domestic abuse impacts many people and most of us know someone affected, as their friend, family, neighbour, carer, colleague or key worker. Now is the time to be extra-vigilant and to check in with loved ones, but check first if it is safe for them to speak as the perpetrator may be able to overhear.

For 24/7 advice for yourself or someone else, no matter where you live, please contact the freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Tel: 0808 2000 247. If you or someone else is in immediate danger always call police on 999.

If you’re in Lambeth the Gaia Centre can help. Confidential advice and support can be provided by phone, text or email – whatever’s safest. Tel: 020 7733 8724 / Email: lambethvawg@refuge.org.uk

We will update this page as the situation develops. Please check back for updates.