Published March 15th, 2021
Ocean Housing has been helping families in Cornwall throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by offering financial support and donating digital equipment.
The St Austell-based social housing provider launched a £50,000 hardship fund last April, which is available to Ocean Housing residents, Cornish charities, and voluntary sector and community organisations which have been financially impacted by the coronavirus.
Frances Turner, managing director of Ocean Housing, said: “At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we saw a significant rise in cases of tenants struggling financially due to job losses and reduced working hours. Many have been finding it difficult to cover basic living costs like food, rent and bills.
“We launched the hardship fund as a safety net to help individuals who are unable to benefit from other forms of support for these essentials, and for voluntary organisations which have seen an unprecedented demand for their services.”
Since April 2020, Ocean Housing has awarded around £30,000 of the hardship fund which has been able to help dozens of tenants, as well as support many vital community organisations including St Austell and Newquay Foodbank, Cornwall Community Foundation, and St Austell Revival Together (START). 24 Cornwall councillors, who represent local communities which include Ocean residents, were also granted £250 each to support coronavirus initiatives in their area.
Sharon Sission from START explained how the funds made such a difference to the charity. She said: “Ocean’s support meant we could stay open to help vulnerable families in need, as some of the money went towards buying PPE for our staff which we hadn’t budgeted for before the pandemic.
“A lot of the money also went towards helping struggling families buy school uniform for their children starting the new school term, which meant they could turn up looking like everyone else – something that’s really important for their self-esteem. Everyone was so grateful.”
The Ocean team also has a number of desktop computers available for donation to local schools to assist with children’s return to the classroom.
Frances continued: “We were exploring other ways in which we might be able to use our resources to help those in need, and saw an opportunity to put some of our spare office equipment to good use. With schools now reopening, we hope that donating this equipment will have a positive impact on the learning experience of those who may need a little extra support.
“We still have financial help and computers available to those who need it the most. If there are any local charities or people who require support, please get in touch with the Ocean team.”
Individuals and voluntary organisations can contact Ocean Housing about gaining support via phone, email, or LiveChat through the website. For more information about the hardship fund, visit oceanhousing.com or call 01726 874450.