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COVID-19 Update from Father Hudsons Care

A creative response to the crisis

A message from our Chief Executive

Andy Quinn, CEO of Father Hudson's Care, talks about how some of the charity's services are responding to the challenges of Coronavirus.

We will update this message every fortnight, so please check back soon for more information. In each message, we will discuss different areas of our work and how they are responding.

As a charity with a mission, it was not thinkable or possible, to restrain our managers and staff in their efforts to reshape in a vigorous way the 17 services that we provide.

Times like this test the validity of a charity’s mission. It is true, the challenges are overwhelming, but as our Lord said, ‘Let the day’s own problems be enough for the day’.

Staying focused on the needs today does not mean we do not plan ahead. However, if we have learnt anything from this crisis it is that plans have to be reshaped and rethought every day.

So, we live in the moment and we seek to ensure that those who are in our care, and at this point in their lives need our support, have the means to live.

Care homes may no longer be in the news, as schools and the economy are dominating the media. I was interviewed regularly when these were news. Our commitment to care for the elderly, for those experiencing dementia, for those with complex needs, for those with moderate learning disabilities was there yesterday, is here today and will be here tomorrow. We have not moved on at Father Hudson’s to other news. Our Board of Trustees is determined to support these services to the best of their ability, through terrible financial times, to honour those in our care and to honour our staff who have put their own lives on the line.

Our work with homeless people has surprised even me. Through close working with Birmingham City Council, it is hard to believe what has been achieved for more than 50 People who were street homeless and destitute before this crisis, by our team from Tabor helping the City council to run the support in the hotel accommodation that was offered for the last three months.

The third week in June is Refugee week. Have we continued to welcome the stranger? I don’t think there is anyone who has approached Brushstrokes, St Chad’s Sanctuary, Fatima House or Sophia House who would not shout out and shout out clearly “yes, yes, you were there, when so many other places were closed.”

And the isolated elderly in the community – it must have cheered so many of us to see what is happening locally around us to support the elderly in our own communities. I’m proud to say that Young at Heart in North Staffordshire (through its staff team of four and many, many volunteers, including new ones) has continued to stay in touch regularly with over 300 older people and indeed new individuals who were referred by the Local Authority, and Maryvale community project (through its Trustees) offering telephone befriending to those who used to come to the lunch club and the Sunshine group. And I am proud of the achievements of the Hope community project, delivering over 60 meals each week to isolated older people on the Heath town estate in Wolverhampton, working with staff volunteers from the Co-op.

Some people questioned whether it would still be possible to support children and young people in schools through our Family support service, and young people with foster carers through our New Routes team, when face-to-face meetings and visits were no longer possible during lockdown, and physical group work was a definite no. It is hard to put a measure on how much families, who have had to endure so much isolation, have valued the regular and helpful contact from our teams who care.

Our Origins service has continued to bring together, sometimes via Zoom or WhatsApp, or in parks and open public spaces, with social distancing, adults who had been separated at the start of their lives from their birth siblings and parents, and were adopted or in care. I have been privileged to see some of the photos of these reunions and the pure joy on their faces.

As St Vincent DePaul said “love is inventive, even to infinity” - we have found new ways of expressing this love and will continue to do so.

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