Update Sept 17th 2020
With particular consideration to the higher rates of Covid in Leeds and surrounding areas, Basis are continuing to work remotely (via phone, online, contactless drop-offs and socially distanced outdoor meetings), in order to ensure the safety of staff and the people we support. Our office is still closed to visitors, but some socially distanced face-to-face support is being offered.
Please note that following government changes to lockdown, information on how other local services are operating is changing quickly. We encourage you to check directly with the service you need for their opening hours and safety measures. Basis support workers can also help with signposting to other services.
Staying in touch with Basis:
At the moment, please use your regular (mobile) phone contact and/or the office (0113 – 243 0036). You can also get in touch via Facebook (@BasisYorkshire1) and Twitter (@BasisYorkshire / @BasisSexwork). We will also have NetReach (Live Chat service via our website) open most weekday afternoons from 1-4 pm. To access, look for the ‘Chat Live with Us’ window at the bottom of the screen on our webpage. Please check our social media feeds for updates.
We are also offering mobile phones (including smart phones) for those who need it so they can stay in touch – please ask us if this is needed.
For the young people we support we will be reaching out on the phone unless in emergencies.
We know this is tough time for all, we aim to support in whichever way is needed. Basis staff are committed to the safety and wellbeing of the people we serve, so any decision taken to adapt or change services will be to ensure women and young people stay safe and well. At such a difficult time, we will do our very best to remain available and in touch with all the people we work with. We aim to update this website weekly to keep everyone informed of changes to services.
We are appealing for donations (drop off Basis office Mon – Fri: between 10-3 – please call ahead to arrange a time) as well as financial donations (via JustGiving or our Amazon wishlist), as we are stepping up our practical support as women may be unable to work or access other support services and our other income generation opportunities are now extremely limited.
For updated information on donations needed, please see our social media feeds.
Basis ongoing services:
Drop in: will not be happening following government guidelines. We are still able to drop off food parcels and/or medication but please do not come to the office. Instead, if you need us or know of anyone who does, please contact us on 0113 243 0036, a mobile number of a support worker, Facebook, Twitter or our live chat service on the website (see above).
Managed Approach Evening Outreach: We have had to take the incredibly difficult decision to suspend evening outreach for the time being. This has been with the aim of keeping our staff, volunteers, their families, the women we work with and the wider community healthy. It is also to ensure we can still help women during the day with food, mobile phones, utility payments, sexual health provisions, contraception, appointments and emotional support through 1-to-1s via phone/online or socially distanced face-to-face meetings.
The Police team are also still working and members of our team are on phone standby during usual outreach hours for any support required.
Young People: Where possible we will be reaching out over the phone and restricting 1-to-1 visits. Any face-to-face appointments will be arranged via your support worker and will have social distancing and hygiene procedures in place.
Basis can support with bringing round food parcels in contactless drop offs (in most cases volunteers will deliver these).
Otherwise, if you are struggling to get food because you have lost income or are self-isolating, phone Leeds City Council’s Local Welfare Support Scheme on 0113 376 0330 (open 9am-6pm, 7 days a week). You can also see their Money Information Centre website for info on food banks and more.
For other practical support from the Council when self-isolating, please ring 0113 378 1877 or, if you have difficulty hearing, text 07480 632 471 (Leeds City Council Coronavirus support – open 9am-6pm 7 days a week).
If this does not work please call your support worker on their mobile or call our office 0113 243 0036
For those women who will struggle financially, they are encouraged to access Basis’ Live Chat to be given further advice on making a claim for Universal Credit. However, the 5 week delay may mean women may struggle to get immediate financial support (although advances are available where needed, as is access to foodbanks, food parcels/vouchers, gas/electric and other payments where needed). There are government measures now in place to stop people from being evicted due to non-rent payments (although this is subject to change from 20th September 2020), as well as measures to avoid being cut off from energy (gas/electric). If you need support with housing or energy, please get in touch with us.
SWARM Sex Worker Hardship Fund:
SWARM have stopped new applications to their hardship fund for sex workers. Their website has more info, including resources for sex workers on bookings, safer working practices, mental and physical wellbeing and navigating this period financially. For support on applying for Universal Credit or Self-Employment support, please speak to your support worker at Basis or contact us as per the above. You can also contact SWARM for advice: email@example.com.
Considering alternative options:
We realise this may not be an option for everyone, but for those sex workers who can, some may be able to reduce or completely avoid body/sex contact for a while, and may consider alternative options within the industry. Web-camming, phone and direct chats, as well as the sale of adult content (photos, videos) on platforms, where no physical contact takes place, may be an alternative.
For further info and support on staying safe during COVID if you are working, please talk to your support worker or get in touch.
Sexual Health: If you are concerned about your sexual health or need contraception, we can arrange an initial telephone assessment with the specialist sexual health nurse (Jane) over the phone.
If you can’t reach Basis, please speak directly to the Leeds Sexual Health Team. To speak with a professional about sexual health concerns or to get reassurance, call their advice line on 0113 392 0334. If you need to see a nurse or Doctor because you are experiencing symptoms then call their appointment line on 0113 392 0333. They will assess you over phone & if appropriate bring you into clinic for treatment/meds. All walk-in clinic services at Leeds Sexual Health have been suspended. Other services may also have been suspended to reduce face-to-face contact. Please do not attend clinic unless told to.
We also have a sexual health mobile number that you can text with any questions – 07710 304306 (this is usually checked once a day during the week).
We are also now able to sell condoms and sexual health supplies. To arrange a pick up, please take a look at our price list here and text 07957 903848 to arrange a contactless pick up, which will be available on one day a week. Please do not come to the office without arranging a time and getting further instructions on safe pick up via text. If you do not hear back from your text within 1 working day, please call the office at 0113 243 0036.
Sexual Health Pharmacies (please see here for a list) may have reduced opening hours and may only be able to offer emergency contraception at set times. For more information, please visit Leeds Sexual Health website here.
Info for Migrants:
The International Organisation for Migration has created a Covid-19 Migrant Information Service (MIS) to provide information and support to migrants living in the UK around Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how the government responses to it could affect their lives. It has information on Health, Work, Benefits, Visas, Housing, and more in different languages including English, Spanish, Romanian, Arabic, Albanian and Chinese. It also signposts to other places they can get the support they need.
To access this, please visit their website. You can also call 0800 464 3380 for free.
Travel restrictions are also constantly updating. If you are planning to travel or have relatives who are travelling to the UK, we encourage you to look at the government’s latest travel advice and get in touch with your support worker if you need support on this.
Specific COVID 19 health advice please follow below link:
Further info and & advice and other services available
Guidance for people who use substances