Our impact during the COVID-19 pandemic
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown was first put in place, we were hit with a huge increase of call volumes.
Some of our charity clients were facing tight budgets and a very real risk of closure. Our clients were also no longer able to meet with their service users, which impacted on both service delivery and client wellbeing. Many of the most vulnerable people were not getting access to vital COVID – 19 guidelines and information.
We knew that we needed to step up to offer extra help to the vulnerable communities we serve.
As the country went into lockdown, our first focus was ensuring that all our interpreters were maintaining availability and that office staff moved as seamlessly as possible to remote working so that our clients would not experience a drop in service.
Our team adapted…
Due to many clients turning to alternative means of communication for their regular face-to-face meetings, demand for our telephone interpreting service increased. This meant that the team had to manage new volumes whilst adjusting to home working. We are so proud of our team’s resilience and commitment – they managed excellently even as our telephone interpreting usage more than doubled year-on-year.
Supporting our clients financially
We checked-in regularly with our clients to give them holistic support. It become apparent as a result of these conversations that our charity customers were struggling with their budgets. An increased demand on their services due to the pandemic coincided with many funding streams, such as events and charity shops, being severely affected. Twenty of our charity clients has seen their telephone usage more than double, and in some cases the increase was ten-fold.
Determined to support the very clients we were set up to support, we decided to give charities a 20% discount on all their increased spend during the pandemic. This has continued and, to date, we have saved charities over £25,000.
“The money saved from this discount has given us greater financial confidence and stability to reallocate resources towards hard to fund programmes of ours, including our £15 bi-weekly hardship grant to destitute refugees in Greater London.”– Clear Voice Charity Client
“ The discount we have received has made a huge difference for us as it has given us more freedom to provide interpreting services alongside our wellbeing and casework support – due to budget restraints, where we might have been hesitant to pay for an interpreter for all but the most complex and urgent of conversations, we have been able to be a little less frugal.”– Clear Voice Charity Client
Helping vulnerable people access guidance
It quickly became clear that there was a lack of translated resources around COVID-19 and, as such, many people who did not speak English were at risk of not being informed. They may, therefore, not know what to do to keep themselves and their families safe.
At Clear Voice, we know that language can be a huge barrier, but we provide interpreting and translation services specifically to overcome that.
We wanted to help break the language barriers and keep everyone safe so, when we were contacted by Doctors of the World and British Red Cross to help translate tailored guidance, we chose to do so free of charge. We knew how important it was for everyone to have access to this information and we didn’t want financial restraint preventing the most vulnerable people from accessing crucial information.
The release of these documents went viral over the weekend of release, and this led to more translation work coming forward. Eventually, the widely distributed resources were available in 49 different languages.
“ So far, our translated Covid-19 guidance has been downloaded more than 60,000 times, meaning that essential information to stay safe from the virus has reached a considerable amount of people to contribute to our community’s health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Clear Voice.”Doctors of the World
Offering a new kind of service
When lockdown was implemented, only a very limited number of face-to-face appointments were able to go ahead. We knew that this would limit a large number of our clients in service their vulnerable service users.
In response, we established a new video interpreting service, accessible to all of our clients, so they could continue to conduct important, and often highly emotional, appointments in a more personal way.
To date, we have delivered over 30,000 minutes of video interpreting and we are very proud to have been able to offer this service.