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North Star’s approach as of 17th March 2020 – as circumstances change and develop, which will annouce any further suitable measures and keep our social media and website up to date.

Firstly we want to assure everyone that mitigating the risk of coronavirus is an absolute priority for North Star. It is clear that this situation is very serious, and we are putting all our efforts into action planning to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus, as well as to plan for the weeks and months ahead. The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, tenants, stakeholders and suppliers is paramount, including keeping essential services going.

It is during challenging times that the values of an organisation are fully tested, and we remain very committed to ours : “Creative, Connected and Courageous”. In this context we will be going the extra mile to do what we believe is right for staff, communities and tenants.

We are continuing to closely follow the advice of the Government and Public Health England (PHE), and we are also taking steps to prepare for further changes to come. We will be providing as much business continuity as we can, and we will also need to be think differently about how we work, and what we prioritise, over the next few months

Our Incident Management Team, including the senior team are meeting daily to ensure that our plans are robust and continually reviewed. All Teams are working on delivering Business as Usual and developing back up and emergency plans.

For now we have some further updates to share

Working from home / alternative working arrangements

Offices are being kept open. However, we will keep this under review and follow Government advice. Staff are following government advice for self isolation and infection management. The latest advice is found here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Functions have developed plans for business continuity which includes staff working from home. Where this is in place, “Keeping in Touch” arrangements are in place as these are very important for connection and mutual support.

For the foreseeable future there will be a strong presence of the Senior Team, Heads of Service and Managers working from their usual base.

Our flexibility and fluidity is a given and we are all prepared to work differently in the coming weeks to ensure that we can continue to deliver essential services.

Services

We know that we need to rely on one another for support in difficult times and people on low incomes, with job instability or with vulnerabilities will face particular challenges. Here are some initial steps we are taking to play our part in the wider efforts across the community:

  • Paying small suppliers quicker
  • Identifying tenants who may need additional support or contact
  • Contributing as an organisation to the main foodbanks
  • Exploring how our community facilities can be put to good use
  • Considering options for supporting children with food should the schools close
  • Close liaison with our supported housing providers

In addition we have increased cleaning across offices and schemes, reviewed planned stock improvement work, invested in equipment to enable off site working, liaised closely with our repair contractors, and installed equipment for video conferencing to name but a few.

Repairs

Whilst our repairs service continues as normal, we will be asking every caller who reports a repair whether they are currently isolating or if they have anyone in the household that is deemed vulnerable. This information is kept private and confidential but it will help us to tailor our approach for every household in which we will be in contact with.

If you need anything from us then please contact us.