A charity that helps homeless and vulnerable young people has appealed for urgent donations to pay for “emergency isolation packs”.
The YMCA DownsLink Group made the appeal as many of the people it supports are in self-isolation because they have coronavirus or symptoms of the virus or are vulnerable.
The charity cares for about 1,400 vulnerable young people across Brighton and Hove and the wider Sussex and Surrey area. To donate, click here.
It said that it needs donations “to ensure young people in supported housing have access to day-to-day essentials like food during the lockdown”.
YMCA DownsLink Group chief executive Chas Walker said: “The young people we house and support are being directly affected by this crisis.
“Many of them are losing their jobs in the gig/zero hours economy when they are already on low wages and without savings or parents who can support them financially.
“They are also experiencing significant delays in accessing universal credit, so are without any funds to support themselves.
“Our young people are also being infected by the virus, with over 7 per cent self-isolating in our housing schemes.
“Without family support they are more reliant on us than ever to support and care for them at this difficult time.
“Our dedicated frontline staff are working 24 hours a day to support them through the covid-19 crisis.
“But some are struggling with their mental health and now feel particularly scared and anxious.
“They are worried about running out of food and other essentials and many feel lonely and forgotten.
“We’re providing our young people with ‘emergency isolation packs’ to ensure they have the food and essentials they need, particularly if they find themselves without any money or are self-isolating without family to support them.”
As part of the campaign, the charity is also encouraging supporters to show their support by leaving messages on their social media using the hashtag #Here4U and tagging @ymcadlg.
Mr Walker said: “For those that are financially able to, donations will make a huge difference to the young people we look after.
“However, we understand that some people won’t be able to do this and we would encourage them to show these young people that they aren’t alone and leave messages of support for them on our social media channels by tagging @ymcadlg.
“We want to show them that they have not been forgotten by their community – that we are all in this together.”
The charity has had to adapt its advice and counselling services during the coronavirus crisis to ensure the vulnerable young people they work with can continue to access the help they need.
It said: “The pressures on families and young people, with self-isolation and social distancing, is having an impact.
“Already, the YMCA Youth Advice Centre (YAC) has seen an increase in young people presenting as homeless with covid-19 being cited as the reason that they’ve had to leave home.”
To donate or find out more, click here.