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We say a Big Housing Thank You 20/05/2020

Big Houseing Thank You


ARCH is pleased to support the #BigHousingThankyou on Wednesday 20 May 2020 to celebrate our frontline housing workers, the invisible heroes of the country's COVID-19 battle.


The day began with the launch of a two-minute video on the website of the sector's top news publication, Inside Housing, just before 9am.


The film features 22 residents and leading figures from organisations across the housing sector, including Chair of the ARCH Tenant Group Jenny Hill, Chair of the See the Person Campaign Tenant Management Committee & member of the ARCH Tenant Group Martyn Lund and ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby.


They read a specially commissioned poem against a backdrop of housing staff from more than 30 social housing organisations, all pictured on the COVID-19 frontline.


Click here to see the video


Home-working has not been an option for the many hundreds of housing staff including tenancy support and assistance officers, the skilled trades staff and the community hub workers on whom so many neighbourhoods have depended during the crisis, whether residents are tenants or home-owners.


At a time when the whole country was told to stay at home, their presence in the community became more important than ever. They have kept thousands of communities safe and well-cared for: doing repairs, clearing rubbish, cleaning, staffing food bank services, doing safety checks, delivering care packages, and phoning or calling on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people to check they're okay.


Across the country, they became a crucial part of the national COVID-19 response as they simply got on with their jobs or swapped roles without missing a beat, going wherever they were most needed. They've given up lunch hours to collect prescriptions; they've gone out with other key workers from 999 services to check on residents who neighbours were concerned about; they've volunteered as emergency community first responders and even in some cases for the difficult but essential job of staffing cemeteries and morgues.


Back-office colleagues have also been stretched to the limit. At a time when so many residents have feared for their livelihoods and even their homes, call centre staff and financial wellbeing and rent officers have reassured and advised customers and tirelessly supported colleagues out on the ground.


Thanks Are Due

Here we make a house a home,
here we make a flat your own...
and this work we don't do alone.

There's hundreds out there every day
working hard to keep at bay
the wear and tear, the "come what may" -

To you we owe our gratitude
for your bravery, your aptitude:

caretakers take the time to care, empty bins, clean the stairs,
make a difference everywhere;

care workers lend a helping hand: medication, dignity,
a ray of hope - they're the key;

sparkies, plumbers conduct repairs, keep the lights on, keep prepared
every home, every space we share;

and those who run our refuge spaces, who provide the safest places
to go when things are at their worst;

and residents, now well versed in social distance, staying in
who keep things calm, inspiring;

and everyone who works with us, delivers, fixes, and in doing thus,
makes us proud, keeps our chins up.

To our workers: we depend on you -
your bravery, your fortitude,
for every single thing you do
a million times, our thanks are due.


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