14,000 isolated residents receive check-up phone calls

More than 14,000 residents across Wearside have received check-up phone calls from our teams as we continue to deliver vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our Neighbourhood Coordinators, who are responsible for managing 29,000 tenancies in Sunderland, have made thousands of phones calls to tenants in the space of one week, as part of their commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of local people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants who are known to be vulnerable or living alone, have been prioritised, with phone calls made to check on their welfare and to offer support to those who need it.

So far staff have contacted half of Gentoo’s tenant base in Sunderland, which has been greatly appreciated by those on the other end of the telephone. Help that’s been offered to local residents has led to the delivery of food parcels for those who can’t leave their homes, including newspapers and magazines to help keep them occupied, as well as simply allowing them to hear a friendly voice while being isolated in their homes.

We are working alongside partners in the city including Sunderland City Council, Sunderland Foodbank and other community organisations to ensure residents have access to the appropriate help and support.

This week Karen Garbutt, one of our Neighbourhood Coordinators, contacted a tenant who is an NHS nurse currently working extra shifts at Sunderland Royal Hospital. The woman also cares for her elderly mother who lives alone in a Gentoo property in Washington.

The nurse hadn’t been able to organise a food delivery for her mother and was concerned about her wellbeing. That’s when Karen stepped in and helped to arrange a food parcel from the foodbank, that was then delivered to her mum’s door thanks to the help of Phil who works for us in Washington. 

Our staff have even received calls from concerned family members from across the country asking for support for their relatives living in Gentoo properties.

Heather Dunbar, Neighbourhood Coordinator for Ryhope, was made aware of an isolated elderly couple following a phone call from their daughter in Scotland.

Heather said: “I’d heard from their daughter that they’d not been able to arrange a home food delivery for a couple of weeks, so I contacted a local community group, East Area Rangers, who were able to deliver a much needed food parcel and agreed to support the couple with further supplies over the coming weeks. They were so grateful – I was just pleased to help.”

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer for Gentoo Group, said:

“We want our tenants to know that we’re here to support them through these challenging times and it has been extremely rewarding to hear from colleagues, how appreciative our tenants are of the steps we are taking to ensure their wellbeing is at the forefront of everything we do.”

Our Neighbourhood Coordinators continue to work remotely in line with Government guidelines. If you’re a Gentoo tenant and would like to talk to contact your Coordinator for support or a chat, you can find their contact details here: