Staff at Hope projects have had to think of new ways of working during the pandemic: the office has been closed for the duration, and contacts were limited to phone calls, on-line, and emergencies only. Some residents, such as the women in the picture, have been doing their English and other classes from home – with their shared mobile phone propped up on a mug!

With help from the Clothmakers Foundation we purchased refurbished laptops for each house to kickstart the changes, and it was then that we realised there were new possibilities for volunteers. One client, Muhammad, is an IT expert, as is a member of our Legal Officer Aliya’s family; so in lockdown they offered their help to purchase and set the new computers up, and teach others how to use them. Many thanks to both for their timely help.

This has enabled a whole new world of mutual support, such as peer led IT and English Language classes as well as connection to the wealth of online activities that are being delivered in Birmingham, and around the world.