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COVID-19 Updates

During this pandemic, DENS staff continue to work hard on our vital frontline services to ensure the most vulnerable people in our local community are supported. 

Our services are being stretched due to the unprecedented rise in people needing our support and emergency food parcels.

Our key priorities are to: 

  • Keep The Elms Hostel open and safe for our 44 residents, with self-isolation rooms set up and ready when required.
  • Keep the Foodbank operational to meet the high rise in demand for food parcels.
  • Keep all staff, volunteers and service users safe and protected.
This page is regularly updated with information about our services, how to access them, and items we are most in need of. 

Monetary Donations

This crisis is having a huge impact on our income due to the cancellation of all of our events and loss of income from other fundraising streams. 

We desperately need your help, now more than ever, to meet the increased demand on our frontline services and make up the large shortfall.

Please donate today.

Your donation will not only help make up this shortfall, it will also ensure that we are able to continue to run our vital services and support vulnerable people in our community now, and beyond lockdown. Thank you.

You can also pay directly into our bank (please email us on fundraising@dens.org.uk for bank details).

See more details on what your donation will go towards on the DENS Emergency Appeal page.

Food Donations

Our Foodbank is running extremely low on the following items:

  • Tinned ham
  • Tinned Corned beef
  • Sponge puddings
  • Custard
  • Tinned fruit
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Cleaning sprays

Food can be dropped off at the back of our Foodbank (Paradise, HP2 4TF) between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm.
Alternatively, you can drop the items in the Foodbank crates after the checkouts at: Tesco Extra Hemel, Tesco Metro Berkhamsted, Tesco Tring, Sainsburys Apsley Mills, Sainsburys Woodhall Farm, Waitrose Berkhamsted.

We are not accepting any household goods, clothes or any other goods other than food until further notice.

DENS Services



Our Foodbank remains open and we continue to provide emergency food.

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented rise in visits to our Foodbank and we expect this increase to continue, with young children still unable to attend breakfast clubs or free school meals until schools are back.  

With the support of the local community, since lockdown was announced, we have fed 739 vulnerable local people, including 311 children. 

We need you, our local community, to continue donating vital food supplies. There are certain items we are desperately running low on – please see our high needs list above.

Do you need a Food Parcel?

  • If you have a letter from the government instructing you to remain indoors, please phone Herts Help on 0300 123 4044 or info@hertshelp.net
  • If you don’t have a letter but need help, please phone Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) on 03 444 111 444.
  • If you are concerned about a vulnerable local person and think they need help, please call Herts Help.

Please be aware that both Herts Help and CAB are likely to be experiencing a high volume of calls so it could take some time to get through. If a food voucher is issued this will be done over the phone. You will be given a voucher number to take to a food parcel distribution centre. You will need to tell the person at the distribution centre your name, postcode and the voucher number.

Distribution centres currently open in Hemel Hempstead are:

  • DENS Foodbank, The Hub, Paradise, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4TF - Open Mon-Fri 10am-12pm
  • South Hill Centre, Cemetery Hill, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1JF - Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm

f you can, we’d appreciate cash donations to help keep this vital service open. DONATE HERE

The Elms Hostel

The Elms has a critical role to play in accommodating and supporting Dacorum's homeless, and we remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Strict social distancing measures are in place to keep everybody safe. Ensuring the wellbeing of our residents is a main priority, and our Keyworkers communicate with residents in new ways, such as via Video conferencing, WhatsApp chats, FaceTime calls and Voice messaging.

Day Centre

In light of Government guidelines our Day Centre is temporarily closed.

If you are homeless, please contact homelessnessprevention@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000. For out of hours, please call 0800 018 60 50.

Community Services

We have temporarily closed our Social Enterprise Projects and Open Space until further notice.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering for DENS. We are not, currently, recruiting any new volunteers. Once the government guidelines on social contact are relaxed we will advertise any vacancies that we have on our website.

If you would like to volunteer to help those affected by coronavirus please visit the TeamHearts volunteering website. They are aiming to recruit volunteers for a number of roles across Hertfordshire. 

Contact Us

If you are homeless, please contact homelessnessprevention@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000. If this is out of hours, please call 0800 018 60 50.

For any other enquiries please email office@dens.org.uk


Further Information

Financial support for individuals

The government has announced a range of measures to support individuals who may be facing financial challenges through loss of work and jobs including an increase to the amount paid by Universal Credit and an uplift to the Local Housing Allowance.

Advice on how to claim for the first time and details regarding the Local Housing allowance can be found at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 544 for support and advice.

For advice on council tax support please visit www.dacorum.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport

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