In these unprecedented times, it’s the people who make the difference to a business.

And at Pippa’s Guardians, that’s never been more true.

We know our Host Families are exceptional, but during the lockdown, it’s become clear just how fantastic they are.

We’ve heard so many life-affirming stories from our Host Families, both those who have helped students catch repatriation flights – often at short notice – and those still looking after children who have chosen to stay in the UK.

Caring for children at a time of crisis isn’t easy for the Host Family, the child, nor worried parents. But it’s what Pippa’s Guardian excels at.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been proud of the swift, caring, decisive service we’ve given families.

And from the many messages of thanks, we know we’ve done a good job.

Our teams have become travel agents, liaising with travel partners and monitoring social media 24/7 to inform parents about last-minute seat availability.

We’ve heard stories of Host Families driving students to airports hundreds of miles away, equipping them with PPE and seeing them safely through security.

Many have been incredibly sad to see their students go home.

As one wrote: “Susie* has been a delight and pleasure. Her manners are impeccable, she’s respectful, eager to help, has a great sense of humour and is an all-round superb person.”

“She brought a new dimension to our home which has made lockdown a more enjoyable time.”

But it’s the Host Families still caring for students who have become the heroes this week.

Now term has started, online learning is an essential part of students’ days, and our Host Families have had to quickly adapt to being surrogate teachers, helping direct study.

Of course it helps that Pippa’s Guardians has forged strong relationships with schools over many years. But it’s been a new experience for our Host Families, and they’ve risen to the challenge.

From ensuring their teenage charges are at their desks at 9am to the challenges of registering for online study and even supervising virtual cello lessons, we’ve heard countless stories of the caring, supportive spirit for which our Host Families are renowned.

And while they are learning new skills, their students are too.

This week, we’ve been sent photos of students making soup, baking, playing board games and even gardening.

While they’re more used to being taken to the cinema or bowling, students are adapting to the lockdown in ingenious ways.

One couple told us their student had asked to borrow some tools.

He disappeared up the garden and, when he came back, led them to look at his handiwork.

He’d trimmed part of the lawn into a smiley face – as he said, to bring a little joy.

That encompasses everything our Host Families are about – caring for students as they would their own, supporting them, making them feel secure and helping them make the most of their time here. Whatever the global circumstances.