Burnley housing charity wins award for project that has been a lifeline for thousands of people during the pandemic

A Burnley housing charity has won a prestigious award for the leading role it played in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Calico Homes, part of The Calico Group, won the Resident Support/Advice Programme of the Year category for the launch of community hub Burnley Together after beating off competition from seven other northern housing associations.

Burnley Together was set up in March last year when Calico joined local partners to provide an emergency response and support local people through the pandemic.

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More than a year later, Calico Homes remains a key partner as the hub continues to offer people in the

Burnley Together volunteer Geoff Birkett on his rounds at Asda as part of his role

community the support they need, through food parcels, debt, and housing advice and much more.

Calico Homes became the bridge between local people and the organisations that were there to give support at a time when the usual way of working had changed dramatically. As well as supporting customers, they supported the organisations they were working in partnership with to ensure they could access the resources they needed to deliver a service e.g. ingredients for a local charity to cook, offer a ‘meals on wheels’ service and collecting food donations for the local foodbank.

Mark Beach, Managing Director at Calico Homes, said, “This win is a testament to all the teams and partners that keep Burnley Together moving, continuing to provide vital support and helping make a real difference to people’s lives.

"Calico is committed to ensuring Burnley Together continues to play a crucial role helping our communities as we recover from the pandemic."

Since March 23rd, 2020 Burnley Together has received 19,629 contacts and supported 5,382 individual households. They have also supplied 6,587 food parcels.

From 10th – 14th May 2021, the Burnley Together team received 377 contacts, checked 32 residents were okay, provided 218 food parcels and 103 residents with other support, showing that there is still a vast and essential requirement for the service post-lockdown.

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Calico Homes continues to manage and operate the Burnley Together telephone support line, along with the external communications, and directly reaches out frequently to those within the community, ensuring that vulnerable people have the support they need.

One customer said, “I am a self-employed market trader and have not worked during lock down. I didn’t know how I was going to cope, and I wouldn’t have managed if it wasn’t for your service.”

Another said, “I was really desperate with no food at all, and as I had just come out of hospital, and I couldn’t walk due to my hips. I don’t know what I would have done without you, I have no family to help so I was really stuck.”

The awards ceremony took place in May and judges said: “The pandemic changed lives and services.

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"Burnley Together took advantage of the turmoil to create new partnerships across different sectors. These

partnerships will be essential going forward. This was a standout entry that showed lasting positive impact.”

Burnley Council is one of the leading partners in Burnley Together. Coun. Margaret Lishman, the council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said it was great to see recognition of the marvellous work that Burnley Together has done to support communities.

She said: " Burnley Together has brought out the best in people and the different organisations involved in it, and the lessons we've learned will continue to benefit our borough well after covid is over."

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Leanne Townley, a personalised services manager at Calico Homes, who was involved with the initial set up of Burnley Together, said: “It has been amazing to see the people of Burnley coming together during the pandemic.

"The team, partners and the local community have all contributed to the success of Burnley Together and thoroughly deserve the award. Burnley Together is an essential service, providing support in a way that works for our customers. ”