'We are still here to help you during the coronavirus lockdown' says Sunderland charity
A charity which provides mental health support for hundreds of people and their families has reminded users that “we are still here for you” during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
Despite having to stop face-to-face meetings on health and safety grounds, Impact North East, based in Sunderland’s East End, has still provided both practical and online help over the last four months.
Its specialist staff and volunteers have distributed hundreds of food parcels to regular and new clients while also offering one-to-one advice via the Zoom video meeting platform.
Impact founder and chief executive Sharon Boyd said: “We just want to remind people that we are still there for them.
“We have also had a lot of new people coming to us because of the problems that the coronavirus and lockdown has brought.
“So, for example, in the early part of the lockdown, it was everyone having to stay in together at home and people struggling with the extra bills from everyone being at home all the time.
“Then there were families struggling to help their children with their school work and some who don’t have the internet or the mobile data to complete their work.
“We are still able to offer support by phone or by Zoom and if we cannot help then we will try and refer people to the specialist services in the city which can.”
Among the Zoom groups it has launched is keep-fit class Chatty Steps.
Sharon adds: “We put music on three times a day, do some steps together and then everyone has a giggle. Some people have said they have lost seven pounds through it.”
To support its ongoing work, Impact has also launched a £3,286 crowdfunding appeal to securing matching funds from Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.
Nearly £2,700 has been raised so far with the deadline to reach the goal expiring on July 19.