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Message from Brian Bell, CEO

I’m sure like others you have many concerns and are feeling quite anxious at what is a difficult time for most of us. The impact is Coronavirus is affecting every one of us, but we want to give you some reassurance that your health and wellbeing is a priority to us.

Throughout the week we’ve been closely monitoring the situation and following Government guidelines – on how to keep us all safe as possible whilst doing the right thing at the right time. As such, I have made the decision to temporarily close our local offices and outreach locations with effect from Monday, 23 March until further notice.

Although we’ve been working hard to prepare for this eventuality, this decision has not been taken lightly. I want to personally assure you that we have the resources and innovation in place to ensure that you will continue to receive the right level of support to meet your needs and deliver a quality service to make sure you continue in your journey.

We will be making a few changes to how we deliver the service going forward. Your face to face appointment will change, you will still speak to your adviser but we’ll just talk to you either by phone, text, Skype, video calling, email, what’s app, messenger. We’ll work with you to decide what method of engagement is best for you.

You will also have access to online learning and resources which will not only help you progress closer to your job goals but will help you to cope during this incredibly worrying and anxious time. If you are worried about using the technology, please don’t be - we will give you some training so we can communicate effectively. But one thing you can do for us – is being prepared to answer the phone from a number you might not recognise and keeping us up to date with any changes to your circumstances such as new phone number, change in address and so on.

Over the last few days, I have been overwhelmed with the humanity, selfless acts of kindness and resilience being shown each day. We all have a part to play and we are looking at ways of how we can do more to support our communities which I will share with you over the next couple of weeks. We are also speaking with local employers to see how we can support them to fill vacancies to cope with additional demands such as deliveries, warehousing and stock replenishment – which we will share with you.

We will also be posting regular updates through our social media platforms of useful tips to stay safe, how to cope with self-isolating, improving your health and wellbeing and lots more – so please make sure you follow us.

How we work together will look and feel different, but I want to reassure you that we will do our very best to deliver the support you need. If you are unable to get in touch with your adviser or you need support then please call our Freephone number 0800 917 9262.

And finally, I personally want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families and loved ones well and stay safe. We will look forward to working with you to help you achieve your goals.

Brian Bell



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