Life has changed so rapidly for us all in just under a fortnight. At Get Living, we’re so used to being around people – being available for you, our residents, and working closely in our neighbourhood teams – that this new remote life could have felt impossible. But I’m proud that, in these uncertain and intensely worrying times, we’ve stepped up as a team together to meet these new and evolving challenges.
Our priority, now as it’s always been, is for the ongoing safety and wellbeing of our people in London and Manchester – our residents, our independent retailers and our team.
The team have been overwhelmed by the sense of community spirit in our neighbourhoods. From Thursday night’s emotional Clap for Carers thanking our brilliant NHS, to E20 organisations coming together to organise volunteers to distribute food parcels. And moments like this serenade from a balcony have also been lifting us.
Like everyone, we’ve had to adapt to protect you and ourselves. Our resident-facing teams are now working from home but are still available by phone and emailThat said some of my Get Living colleagues and members of our neighbourhood management teams have moved into our neighbourhoods to ensure we have ongoing 24/7 on-call support. I know our teams have been emailing updates as services have had to change and we’ve also put some FAQs on our website.
Sadly, most of our neighbourhood retailers have had to temporarily close their doors and we’ll be working with them so they can reopen when the time’s right. Our free outdoor Our Parks classes have taken a break from our green spaces and canal sides, but we’re hoping you’ve seen those move online so you can stay active. And our events team are hard at work looking at creative ways to host our regular neighbourhood events online too.
We’ve written to each of our charity partners to confirm our continued commitment, appreciating that for many of them their programmes have been disrupted. From our longstanding local and national partners including the E20 Football Foundation and SportsAid to newer commitments with Rosetta Arts in Newham and Mind in Salford; we will continue to support them. In fact, with Mind we’ve just extended support to their A Phone Call Away campaign, which has never been more relevant.
I know many of you will be making donations to your own personal causes but, if you’re looking for local charities to support, we’ve pledged further funds to three organisations working locally to our neighbourhoods; Newham Covid-19, a group of five Newham charities partnering to provide urgent relief packs of food and other essentials, Southwark Foodbank and Salford Foodbank, both seeded by the Trussell Trust.
Like you, we’re also backing our wonderful NHS. We proudly have hundreds of brilliant NHS workers living in our neighbourhoods and we’re keen to help as much as we can. So last week we reached out to the NHS to offer our currently available homes and car parking spaces at East Village to be used as needed. If we can help, we’d really like to.
And finally, I’d like to thank you for the support you’ve shown our teams and send you and your families our very best wishes. Stay safe.
Rick de Blaby
CEO, Get Living