For the past 5 years I have been an ASSIST house visitor a role which enables me to meet with and support clients living in ASSIST accommodation. Working with another volunteer I visit every 2-4 weeks. Visits are arranged in advance so that residents can be at home. The ‘meeting’ is very informal and usually involves a cup of tea and a chat. The purpose is to explore how everyone is, how the shared living arrangements are working and if there are any outstanding house maintenance issues. The residents are responsible for cleaning the communal areas of the house and putting out the weekly bins, and this is also something we check is happening. But beyond that we talk about a range of issues from everyday experience and interests to hopes and dreams of a better future. We also often talk about the British weather! Residents often stay in the house for several months so building up good relationships is an important part of the role. We are usually welcomed and these
visits are a pleasure to undertake.
With the Covid 19 pandemic this role has changed as our regular house visits have ceased. We now keep in contact using whatsapp or phone calls and have made a couple of visits to deliver essential cleaning supplies – talking to the residents at a distance from the doorstep. Lockdown has been challenging as the wider sources of support are no longer open for clients to access but food supplies and cooked meals have been delivered by charity partners. The ASSIST team have contacted the house residents weekly and continue to provide excellent support for clients as well as the housing volunteer team. But like everyone – I‘m looking forward to getting back to normal and enjoying a cup of tea and chat with the residents – even though it may be in the garden in the rain.