A message from Colette, Head of Service Delivery

“In light of recent circumstances, we’ve been somewhat plunged into our future strategy to be able to offer more services remotely. We haven’t just dipped our toes in the water, we have well and truly gone for it with full enthusiasm and commitment with the aim of providing the very best services to all of our communities, as well as supporting the NHS and other organisations with some of the challenges they have faced. I hope you have been able to access our remote services and found them helpful and comforting during this time.

I’m sure you will agree that our team of counsellors, therapists, bus drivers, choir co-ordinators, befrienders and all of our other supporters have been as compassionate as ever during this period. However, if you think you would benefit from any extra support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local Centre. Their phone lines are open from 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Thursday.

I thought it would be a good time to share with you our position with regards to returning to our beloved Centres. It is not my intention for us to rush back to our usual format for delivering services. There are many reasons for this, which I would like to share with you all below:

~ First and foremost, the vulnerability of many of our clients, volunteers and some staff.
~ The limitations and suitability of our indoor Centres for ‘physical distancing’.
~ The importance of physical presence given the barriers that masks, screens, gloves and physical distancing present.
~ Concerns over another period of restrictions being enforced causing further upheaval to services.
~ Our ambition to offer a completely personalised and holistic care package to everyone accessing our services will involve some changes to paperwork and systems which will be more consistent if introduced as we are phasing our return to Centres.
~ The additional measures that would need to be in place would jeopardise our commitment to supporting anyone who needs it as we would need to reduce numbers to below half initially.
~ Clients, staff and volunteers’ wellness is at the heart of what we do, and therefore it would be irresponsible for us to encourage the meeting of large, vulnerable groups for some time.
~ Considering all of the above, it is my intention to phase the return to a face-to-face service over the next six months. Exact timeframes will depend on the speed at which restrictions are lifted and we will be consulting with a group of clients on the detail of our plans going forwards.

We are so grateful to have been able to be here with you during this time. We have truly missed having you in our Centres, sharing tea and stories, and uplifting and encouraging each other We’re still here for you and we’ll always cherish some of the wonderful moments with you all on Zoom and over the phone.

I intend for us to continue to offer all our current remote services for the next three months, during which time we will be putting every measure in place to return to our Centres during the latter part of this period we will hope to introduce some outdoor support. More information on this will be available through your local Centre in due course.”

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