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‘VE Day celebrations will be limited due to social distancing, but we still plan to help our residents get involved’ – Read our Director of Care and Supported Housing Martyn Hale’s comment piece for Inside Housing

Our Director of Care and Supported Housing Martyn Hale has written a comment piece for Inside Housing about getting our residents involved in celebrations that mark the 75th anniversary and still adhere to lockdown rules.

We have teamed up with Royal British Legion and the National Memorial Arboretum to create activity packs which celebrate the important anniversary.

Inside Housing is a publication that covers news in the housing sector.

Read Martyn’s comment piece here:

Tackling social isolation is a huge challenge for housing organisations everywhere and in lockdown this situation has been worsened dramatically.

Some of our customers who are most vulnerable to loneliness have been isolated from the already limited contact they had prior to lockdown for weeks now, and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

In this unprecedented situation housing organisations must do all they can to reach out and offer help, and lockdown is an opportunity to think about new ways of doing this.

Like many housing organisations, at Citizen we’re communicating regularly with our customers in our care and supported housing schemes during lockdown to offer all the help that we can. We’ve also been keeping our customers informed of the Government’s advice and the implications of this for the services that we provide.

But supporting our customers through lockdown in more interesting and engaging ways is important too.

We’re delighted to be partnering with the Royal British Legion and the National Memorial Arboretum on a project we hope will do exactly this and allow people to mark an extremely important occasion in the process.

The 8th May is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. In a world without lockdown this would have been a very significant occasion and the May bank holiday was moved to recognise this. There would have been large gatherings and street parties to recognise one of the most significant days in our history but now the occasion will have to be marked from afar.

We want to do all we can to contribute to that. We’ve worked with the Royal British Legion and the National Memorial Arboretum on a downloadable pack which anyone can access ahead of 8th May to mark this hugely significant occasion from lockdown. It includes easy recipes for popular war-time dishes and cakes, suggestions of films to watch on streaming services, books to read online, a speech by Churchill and puzzles and activities.

We expect older tenants in our housing with care and sheltered schemes to be where we see the biggest take up for this – for those with a close affinity to the Second World War and remembrance, not being able to mark this hugely significant anniversary would represent a very real hardship. But the pack could be used by anyone who is at home in lockdown and wants to mark the occasion.

We hope that housing organisations will help us to get this out to their customers by either sharing the link with them or printing some of the packs and distributing them where this is possible.

We know that it’s likely our more vulnerable customers will be in some from of lockdown for many weeks to come and this is a challenge we all need to think about.

Perhaps a positive legacy of lockdown can be that we think of new and interesting ways to engage people we work with who face isolation and loneliness on a daily basis and will still face it long after lockdown is over.

Are you a customer and want to download the packs? Visit the National Memorial Arboretum website and download them now here.

Are you a housing association looking to get this our to your customers and staff? A pack with everything you need to do this can be downloaded by clicking here.

For media enquiries contact our Communications Team.

Martyn Web