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Sanctuary Supported Living – Coronavirus Update

2 July 2020

Last updated: 22/07/20 10:30hrs

We are closely monitoring Government guidance around coronavirus (COVID-19), and continually reviewing our response as a landlord, care and support provider, and employer. This includes monitoring Government advice around local lockdowns and we will highlight any specific changes to services in certain areas should they arise.

We will continue to keep this web page updated with changes to our services. Please be assured that the health and safety of residents, their families and our staff remains our priority and we will not make any changes unless a full risk assessment has been carried out.

Residents and their friends/family should continue to follow the latest Government and Public Health England guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19). Official Government guidance for landlords and tenants can be found in the Ministry of Housing, communities and Local Government document.

Residents should continue to follow the latest Government and Public Health England guidance on coronavirus (Covid-19), provided on

If you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing, you should visit the NHS 111 website for advice:

If you live in a Sanctuary Supported Living service and have been advised to self-isolate, please let a member of staff know. If you have been advised to self-isolate and you have an appointment booked with our repairs team, please speak to a member of staff to rearrange the appointment. If a member of staff is not immediately available, call our Customer Service team: 0330 123 3247.

As of 4 July, the Government’s relaxation of restrictions includes a change to social distancing guidelines – where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, people should keep a distance of “one metre plus”. Scientists calculate that the risk of transmission is roughly doubled in reducing the distance from two metres to one metre.

Therefore, for the moment, Sanctuary Supported Living’s guidelines will be that a one metre social distance can be suitable for people meeting outside, but inside we will endeavour to maintain a two-metre distance where possible, and especially when people are face-to-face. When we are not able to achieve two metres, we should use the “one metre plus” guide for people either back-to-back or side-by-side.

Throughout the pandemic, we have taken a cautious approach in order to ensure the safety of residents and staff, which is our highest priority. We therefore ask residents and their family and friends to only meet indoors for essential reasons (such as delivering food or medicine) and for as short a time as possible.

At our Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered services, residents may continue to arrange to meet visitors in the communal gardens, providing that they have been booked using the new visitor booking system and that 2two metre social distancing is maintained at all times. Our booking system ensures that visitor numbers are limited to a safe level, so that two metre social distancing can be adhered to. Where possible, we ask that residents have a maximum of two visitors at a time, but the Local Service Manager will assess if the space will allow for additional visitors to accommodate larger families. This will need to be discussed at the time of booking.

At our non-CQC registered services (housing-related support services), residents can arrange to meet visitors in the communal gardens, where available. There is no booking system in place, but we ask for support and understanding from residents to limit visitors as much as possible. We strongly advise that residents meet visitors in public locations such as parks instead, where it will be easier to maintain social distancing.

Access to the communal toilets will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and by request to the Local Service Manager, so that our staff are able to clean the facilities after use. Residents should make sure their visitors are aware of this, especially those who may be travelling long distances or with young children, to avoid issues on the day.

The latest government guidance allows people to meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.

We are requesting that residents meet in their support bubble’s household. Many of our buildings contain multiple households and shared areas, so this will help to reduce the risk of transmission for all residents and staff.

In order to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of residents and our staff, we reserve the right to refuse access to visitors at our services, if visitors levels become unsafe or social distancing is not maintained. This will be at the discretion of the Local Service Manager. To help keep residents, staff and services safe, we recommend all visitors wear face coverings at all times, when visiting our services.

Residents who have been advised to shield should continue to do so, and they will continue to be supported by staff as needed.

In response to Government guidelines following the COVID-19 outbreak, we have reviewed our services to customers and have had to make some difficult decisions. We want to continue to offer safe and effective services, but we also want to protect our residents and our staff by minimising non-essential contact and travel.

We have streamlined our schedules for care and support. This means that some key working sessions may not take place as regularly and the number and length of time spent on care visits will be reduced to accommodate everyone’s essential needs without compromising anyone’s health or wellbeing. This has been done according to our risk assessments, business continuity plans and guidelines received from the authorities.  

We will of course, continue to monitor the situation and review accordingly.

We understand that moving home at this time may bring a number of anxieties and concerns, so this information explains the measures that we have put in place to ensure the safety of all parties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has amended the coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations to make it clear that you can move home if you wish to do so. More information can be found on the Government’s website, just search ‘moving home’.

What you can do to stay safe

  • Wash your hands frequently whilst moving home and take care to stay at least 2 metres apart from people who are not members of your household.
  • Do not view a property or move home if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or if you have been advised to isolate.
  • If you are within the ‘extremely vulnerable’ group, you may wish to seek medical advice before moving home.
  • When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser.
  • When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance.
  • Where possible, clean your belongings with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms.
  • Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise your contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible. You should not provide refreshments, but you should make sure they have access to hand washing facilities.
  • Speak to the manager of the service if you believe you are at a higher risk and need additional safety measures put into place to allow you to move.

What we will do to keep people safe

  • We will monitor social distancing within the service and make that this is observed wherever possible by all staff, residents and visitors.
  • We will ensure that staff have access to the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • We will ensure that the property is cleaned prior to any viewings or persons moving in to the property.
  • We will ensure that, wherever possible all works are carried out prior to you moving in and that all surfaces are cleaned after works are carried out.
  • We will carry out a specific Covid-19 risk assessment for your referral to the service, to identify any risk to you or others before you move in.
  • We will help you to plan your move, including choosing the safest route for you to use to bring your belongings to the property and the best time and day for this to happen, to ensure social distancing can be observed.
  • We will advise you of the safety measures in place for the service relating to the management of Covid-19. This may mean that certain areas of the building may not currently be open or may have limited accessibility.

If you have any questions about moving in to your new home during this time, please do not hesitate to contact the scheme manager, who will be happy to talk through any questions you may have.

If you would like a printable copy of this information, see our Guide to moving home safely (PDF 105KB) leaflet.

We have resumed bookings for new routine repairs.  Please report repairs in the usual way by reporting anything that needs repairing to your local on-site team. If a member of our team isn’t immediately available, please see the information provided on our Report a repair page.

We are still working through the backlog of repairs and we understand how frustrating it can be to wait for a repair to be completed. Thank you for your ongoing patience.

We are continuing to regularly review our approach to repairs in line with the latest Government guidelines, including around local lockdowns, and we will highlight any specific service changes for each area should they arise.

By law, we must carry out an annual service and safety check of all Sanctuary gas appliances in your home, this includes boilers, cookers and fires. Gas safety checks are continuing as normal.

Our registered Gas Safe engineers may need access into your home for these checks, which take no longer than an hour. You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to complete these checks.

Please follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when our staff are visiting your property, as outlined in public health guidance found here 

If you are due your annual gas safety check and are self-isolating or are a shielded vulnerable patient, please let us know so we can understand how best to protect you and your family by emailing

If you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about how the virus might affect you, please contact our Customer Services Centre by calling  0800 917 0092 (0300 123 3599 from a mobile).

To keep everybody safe, we have put in place the following measures:

  • All communal lounges, kitchens, libraries and common rooms are now closed to external visitors and residents.
  • All coffee mornings, communal lunches and community activities are suspended.
  • No further guest room bookings will be accepted and any bookings from Monday 23 March will be cancelled.
  • If there is a communal laundry at your service, you will be asked to only use this at allocated times to limit the number of residents coming into contact with each other at any one time.
  • Non-essential visits to our services should not take place.

We will continue to carry out the regular checks of our buildings to ensure safety and compliance and we will make regular contact with you via the warden call system or telephone.

However, we will not be visiting you in your homes or carrying out face to face contact to limit the spread of the virus. We will continue keep the communal areas as clean and hygienic as possible.

While we are continuing to collect rent and service charges as we normally do, it is vitally important that you let us know as soon as possible if you are having difficulty paying or are worried about meeting future payments. We want to work with you, so please email

We believe that no one should be concerned about the threat of eviction during this difficult time and we are committed to working with our customers to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account customers' individual circumstances.

If you are unable to attend your benefit appointments, please let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible by reporting it on your online Universal Credit account.

Should you find yourself with no income due to the impact of coronavirus, if you do not already claim benefits, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit to help you pay your rent and service charges. You can find out more about Universal Credit and eligibility on the Money Advice Service website.

As we are spending more time together in our homes, you may be more aware of noise levels from your neighbours, such as general household noise and children playing.

Please try to be tolerant of the noise levels you might experience during this time, and please consider the impact your household noise levels and behaviour may have on your neighbours.

If you are experiencing repeated issues of antisocial behaviour you can report it to us by emailing

If you are threatened with violence or are concerned for the safety of yourself or others, please call the police immediately on 999.

We will continue to manage existing antisocial behaviour cases, through your preferred method of communication, providing regular updates, signposting you to helpful support networks and discussing further action where appropriate.

Although lockdown restrictions are being eased, you may still be spending a lot of time at home and this could mean a pressured situation could get worse.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

If you are not in immediate danger but would like to talk to someone about something you or someone you know is experiencing, please contact one of these organisations.

If you live in Torbay or Plymouth, Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS) has a 24 hour phone line and can be contacted on 0800 458 2558 and Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS) can be contacted on 0800 916 1474.

It’s understandable that not only our residents, but communities everywhere will be worried about how their lives are going to be affected over the coming months.

The Government has provided guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and how we can all work together to protect older people and vulnerable adults. This includes steps you can take to stay connected with family and friends during this time:

  • Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.
  • Remember it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.

The Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health during the virus outbreak and it can be found on their dedicated website page.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking to your family and friends and sharing how you feel. If you are worried that you may need more help, the following support is available:

Free 24-hour listening support

Samaritans is available to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult.

Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.

Text "SHOUT" to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line


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Sanctuary Supported Living is a trading name used within Sanctuary Group. © 2020 Sanctuary Group. All Rights Reserved. Images used on our website and literature may be representative and are for illustration purposes only.
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