In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council’s in-house repairs team - Enfield Repairs Direct, refurbished the council-owned building at the Claverings Industrial Estate in Edmonton, to transform it into a much needed Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub which is open 24-hours, seven days a week. Since opening its doors at the end of January, the hub has received and helped rough sleepers, where their needs were assessed and they were then provided with a warm bed all within the space of 50 minutes.
To meet Covid-19 safe guidelines, Enfield Repairs Direct built a rapid testing centre outside the hub so rough sleepers could be tested for coronavirus before entering. Staff working at the facility are also tested twice a week.
The Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub was funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the government and was originally due to open in April 2020. But because of Covid-19 restrictions, the Council was unable to open a dormitory style hub as originally planned and the project was delayed.
Alternative layouts of the hub had to made and work to install 12 self-contained bed pods (each with a ventilation system), alongside new safe communal kitchen and shower and toilet facilities, were installed to make the facility Covid secure.
The Enfield Repairs Direct team has also been responsible for providing rapid testing centres across the borough for the use of community groups, local businesses and employers.
The rapid testing centres are based at the Council’s John Wilkes House (homeless services office), Boundary Hall, Morson Road depot, London Waste Eco Site, Turkish and Kurdish Alevi Federation, manufacturer Johnson & Matthey and Warburtons factory to help support local jobs.
Cllr Gina Needs, Cabinet Member for Social Housing at Enfield Council, said: “I’d like to thank Enfield Repairs Direct for responding so collaboratively and positively to the Covid-19 crisis. Deciding to bring the repairs service within our direct control has given us the ability to flexibly respond to resident's needs.
“The creation of vital rapid testing centre facilities in the borough has been essential for key workers to help keep vital services running.
“The Council is committed to helping and supporting vulnerable members of society and by opening the Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub facility, we can provide a warm, clean bed and a hot meal for those who need it most.”
Residents who see rough sleepers in Enfield are advised to call StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or visit: www.streetlink.org.uk StreetLink connects rough sleepers to local services.