Coronavirus advice for tenants and residents associations

It’s great to see local communities coming together to help those in need. Southwark has a large network of volunteers in Tenants & Residents Associations across the borough who work to make their homes and communities great places to live. The council has the following advice for Tenants & Residents Associations wanting to help at this difficult time.

How can TRAs best support their residents?

The council values and appreciates the willingness of TRA members to help their neighbours. TRA committees wanting to coordinate support activity must ensure they don’t bring people together in meetings face-to-face. Please be mindful of the government’s advice on social distancing and hold such meetings virtually via chat groups or video calling if this is available.

  • if you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer
  • wash your hands regularly, especially before and after you deliver any items
  • try to support people who live close to you so you don’t travel longer distances
  • if you make a delivery, stay 2 metres away from the person who is in isolation at all times. Place the items outside their door and then step away
  • be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people
  • be careful about taking money and how many people may be more vulnerable to fraud at this time

We are aware that self isolation will present different issues for different people and it is important that people get the right help and support to get them through this difficult time as quickly and safely as possible. Please refer anyone you come across with the following issues, to the relevant support services:

  • financial hardship and help with benefit applications, call 020 7525 2434
  • concerns about Rent payments
  • serious health issues – residents should be advised to contact NHS 111 or their local GP
  • support for those who are homeless. If you are aware of anyone sleeping rough please let the council know via Streetlink. Our council funded outreach team will visit people where they are and find them a safe place

Can we continue to utilise our TRA hall facilities?

Given that many of those using TRA halls can be vulnerable or older we are advising all TRAs to close down their TRA halls and cancel existing bookings in order to follow government’s latest advice on social distancing and minimising non essential contact.

The council may contact TRA halls key holders if the space is required by the council or its partners in order to deliver services locally.  If you are already planning to use the TRA hall for support activities such as to distribute food and / or donations for vulnerable residents they should let the council know in advance.  This is to ensure a coordinated response and safety and welfare of volunteers

There should not be face to face meetings in these spaces, this should be done using group chats and conference calling instead. Please provide any social contact for those in need by phone and not face to face.

How will the TRA apply for this year’s grant if we are unable to hold our AGM?

The council will contact TRAs that were due to have their AGM during this period to ensure they can still apply for and receive their core annual grant.

We are worried about the TRA’s loss of income if we cancel our bookings. How will the council help?

The council will look at measures such as rent payment holidays and grants available to those TRAs in financial difficulties due to coronavirus related loss of income.

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