29 April 2020

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Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £9.5 million for Depaul UK which is enabling it to continue providing invaluable support to the young people that they work with through the Covid-19 crisis.

Depaul is ensuring young people have access to food, mental health care, medical and wellbeing support, and friendly staff to reassure and support them through these difficult, isolated times.

Like many charities across the country, Depaul faces challenging times ahead to ensure the most vulnerable have the support they need, but thanks to long-term player support, it has been able to work proactively to meet the crisis head on and respond to new challenges as they develop.

Depaul has taken over a hotel in London and one in Manchester to house rough sleepers in the area and protect them from the threat of Covid-19. These services were operational in a matter of days, so people had the support they needed immediately.

Its emergency accommodation network, Nightstop, faces an unprecedented level of demand. Unfortunately, the service also faces a shortage of hosts as, understandably, people become less comfortable with welcoming young people into their homes.

The Nightstop team reacted rapidly to ensure it could continue to meet the needs of its services and find solutions to new challenges. This has included turning one of its office spaces into an “overnight hub” and finding alternative accommodation solutions for young people wherever possible.

More than 60 percent of young people in Depaul services were already struggling with mental health concerns prior to the Covid-19 crisis.

This number is almost certain to grow as young people become increasingly isolated. Many of those who live in Depaul’s accommodation projects do not have internet-ready smart phones, and even those who do may not be able to afford phone credit or even have a family member or friend to call.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Programmes teams, which are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, have devised a 12-week programme to engage young people, keeping them active, healthy, occupied and connected. The programme includes activities, resources and virtual events as well as one-to-one support with young people and staff to ensure everyone is coping with the lockdown measures.

Mike Thiedke, CEO at Depaul, said: "The flexibility that comes with the generous support of players is invaluable for Depaul UK over the course of the crisis. It allows us to respond quickly to the unprecedented risks that the young people we work with face. Using our expertise and in depth knowledge, we can put the funds where they are urgently needed. In these moments, we feel the presence of players standing beside us, holding out their hand in support and compassion.
"Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have always been there for the young people Depaul UK supports – and now, more than ever, this is a lifeline for the most vulnerable in our society."

Founded 30 years ago, Depaul UK is the nationwide charity for youth homelessness.