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COVID-19 Update from Father Hudsons Care

Our response to Coronavirus

A message from our Chief Executive, 5 May 2020

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.

In the ongoing, rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, many of our services cannot cease as we have tenants and clients who depend on our support. Those with health difficulties are the most affected, but there will also be a huge increase in people experiencing financial difficulties or social isolation.

All our projects have been affected by the rapid advance of Covid-19, but this has not stopped our work to reach out to give much-needed support. We may not be able to offer the full range of services that we have done until this month, due to government guidance and necessary restrictions, but we continue to have a vital role for our residents and clients. Indeed, for some our support has become even more important.

St Josephs Care home, which cares for older people, particularly those who experience dementia, and the three St Catherines bungalows for adults with complex needs are home to those who live there. There is nowhere else to go. Therefore, our staff have to come in each day, and want to come in each day, to continue to support those in their care. They are supporting residents to stay in touch with loved ones through video calls, messages home and via social media.

Our tenants in the Domiciliary care service, where we offer supported living to adults with moderate learning disabilities, need our ongoing support at a time which is very perplexing for them, and where ensuring their safety and support to comply with the guidelines is our responsibility.

Sadly, due to the frail health and complex needs of those who come from their own homes to St Catherines Day Service in Coleshill, we have had to cease this service for the immediate future, in order to protect them. We will re-open the centre as soon as it is safe to do so.

Children still need fostering placements. Just recently we have placed another young person with our foster carers. She will be sure of good care with them.

In our Family Support in Schools service, we not only continue to work with young people and families whom we have relationships with already, but schools are also asking us to take on new families where they have concerns. Much of this work is usually face-to-face and in groups, but support workers are endeavouring to provide telephone support. It is a real challenge to form a trusting relationship over the telephone with new families. Indeed, adapting our service to support families whom we are already working with, using telephone support is a real challenge. Families tell us they still more than ever need someone whom they can communicate with, who is understanding and there for them. As the months go on and people feel more isolated, this will become ever more important.

Our Young at Heart project in North Staffordshire, which up to recently was running nine lunch clubs and friendship groups for older people, has had to close the groups for the time being. However, the staff and volunteers are offering telephone befriending to the nearly 300 people who were using the groups. Not all will necessarily want this, but many value it highly. Over 70 new volunteers have approached  Young at Heart to support them in this newly shaped service, over 30 have now started and 35 new befriending relationships have been established with new referrals from the Local Authority of individuals who are very isolated and often have serious underlying health conditions.

Brushstrokes community project was getting even busier every week before the pandemic. It has been necessary to now limit visits to the centre to the provision of food for those who would be destitute. The vital face-to-face Advice services, which Brushstrokes is highly regarded for had to be stopped; we were able to continue support for many people with advice over the telephone. However for those who are most at-risk we have taken the decision to provide face-to-face support again ,under very strict conditions with the use of PPE, access to only one room, screens, and the one in one out approach approved as acceptable by Public Health.

St Chads Sanctuary also continues to offer food destitution support and has been able to continue to provide its invaluable ESOL support using social media. This is a terrific achievement and will be of great use in the future, even when group lessons are available again. The Trustees of Maryvale community project are now providing telephone befriending to those who were members of the lunch club and the Sunshine club .The manager of the Hope community project is also staying in touch with regular members and has been able to co-work with the Co-op to provide at-home meals  for those who used to come to the lunch club.

Tabor House, our collaborative permanent night shelter, was a real concern since it occupies a communal space rather than separate bedrooms for the guests. Birmingham City Council has worked with us to ensure that the guests from Tabor moved into the Holiday Inn in new Street where each has their own room. Some of our staff are assisting Birmingham City Council by supporting not only our own guests, but other people who were street homeless, who are being accommodated in the hotel; they are now supporting over fifty  people on a regular basis.

Fatima House continues to offer a safe home to the nine asylum seeking women who live there, supported on a daily basis by the Columban lay missionaries, who are working closely with our Deputy Community projects manager. Physical distancing has had to be put in place and communal eating is no longer possible. However these women are very resilient having experienced considerable trauma before coming to Fatima.

Sophia House continue to provide a service and receives support directly from Father Hudsons, and eventually from Brushstrokes, as the weeks go on.

Many of the users of our Origins service are elderly and cannot wait till the pandemic stops, to receive support concerning their early life in Father Hudsons orphanages decades ago or who were adopted through Father Hudsons.

Now more than ever your kindness and generosity are invaluable. Please support us as we continue to support those who are in great need in this terrible time.

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