“At St Christopher’s we aim to be both part of, and for the community, and never has this been truer than in 2020! I’d like to publicly acknowledge the astounding way that you have supported us, just as our staff and volunteers have sought to find new ways to keep supporting our community, despite the difficult circumstances brought by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The appreciation shown to our staff and volunteers, and the practical support that we have received as a hospice this year, has been overwhelming. There isn’t space here to name everyone who has helped, but you know who you are. From simple messages of thanks, to donations of ready meals for staff, hand-stitched PPE gowns, donations of visors from local schools, deliveries of hand creams, gloves, tea, chocolate and more from individuals and companies… we have been so heartened by your response.
“Meanwhile, at St Christopher’s, we continued to provide support for hundreds of local people every day, despite challenging times. Our care teams, wearing PPE to keep everyone safe, looked after patients and families on our wards and in the community. Wherever possible, teams used video consultations, to reduce the risk of infection by connecting with people virtually.
“Drivers from our charity shops teamed up with our quickly established Community Aid Team to deliver hundreds of essential food packages and prescriptions for vulnerable people who needed to social distance and stay at home to keep safe.
“Ben Vonberg-Clark, a volunteer who supported our Community Aid Team, told me, ‘I was asked to do some shopping and take it to one of our patients, Mathew. As I dropped-off the bags, we chatted at a safe distance and it turned out that Mathew hadn’t spoken to anyone face to face for over three weeks, as he was in a high-risk category and lived alone. We found out that we are both musicians, and made plans to hold a ‘virtual’ performance, with a group from the hospice! It’s been enjoyable for both of us.’
Within days we were providing virtual learning sessions for colleagues in hospitals and care homes, as well as offering online wellbeing sessions for patients and the community
“Our teams also reacted quickly to move what we do online. Within days we were providing virtual learning sessions for colleagues in hospitals and care homes, as well as offering online wellbeing sessions for patients and the community on everything from mindful breathing to arts and exercise classes to gardening.
“We know that this support and opportunity to connect meant a great deal to so many, especially those who were living alone and feeling isolated. Liz, whose mum, Betty, attended our virtual art class said, “Thank you so much for arranging the Zoom art meetings. I can see it’s bringing my mum, Betty, great joy just talking to the group and the fact that everyone can chat and stay in touch is heart-warming.”
“As you read this article, I do hope that we are all much closer to being able to safely see and support each other in person once again.”
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