Updated Nov 2nd 2020
As the country goes back into national lockdown for four weeks, Basis are continuing to offer support wherever we can as safely as possible (via remote and socially distanced support), 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 and appointments are being offered.
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 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 regularly to keep everyone informed.
Please note check with other services for information on how they are working, for their opening hours and safety measures. Basis support workers can also help you to access 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) if you need one to stay in touch, please ask us if this is needed.
For the young people we support, your support worker will talk to you more about how they can best support you as lockdown continues.
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 vouchers, medication and other essentials 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 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 meetings.
The Police team are also still working and members of our team are on phone standby during usual outreach hours for any support needed.
Young People: We will be reaching out remotely and with safe social distancing in place. 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 food and other essential support wherever we can. For more support around this, please call your support worker on their mobile or our office on 0113 243 0036.
You can also get help from Leeds City Council if you are struggling to get food because you have lost income or are self-isolating. You can reach their Local Welfare Support Scheme on 0113 868 9825 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). If you have difficulty hearing, you can text: 07480 632 471 (7 days a week, 9am to 6pm). You can also see their Money Information Centre website for info on food banks and more.
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. Support workers can also support with applying and following up benefits claims. 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).
While government measures to stop evictions have now ended, you are still unlikely to be evicted immediately, as from 29 August most tenants are entitled to 6 months notice.
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.
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. Most services have suspended or reduced face-to-face appointments. 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).
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:
Please speak to your support worker to see how they can help further with issues around migration or call our office on 0113 243 0036. We will do our best to offer support and direct you to services that can help.
Travel restrictions are also constantly updating and international travel is only allowed in cases of work, education or other legally permitted restrictions. 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