From Michael Ryan, CEO at St Luke's

It is hard to imagine that we are into the eighth week of restrictive movement. When it all started to impact during the week of March 23rd, few of us imagined that we would still be restricted in movement by the middle of May.  However, of course, it is still very necessary and we all await clarification on the latest announcement from Government.

We, at St Luke’s continue our services which have increased significantly in the past weeks. A hot meal is delivered each day to our older vulnerable service users. Food parcels are distributed to over 100 families in the area. Telephone support continues for individuals and families in the area who are isolated and vulnerable.  

At the same time, our focus is now very much directed towards the ‘next phase’. We are trying to make arrangements for the return of our staff to the Centre whilst at the same time, observing social distancing.  We are discussing how our services might be delivered and what form they will take. We are currently looking at Perspex screens and pods to ensure a safe distance between people. 

We are all very proud of the way we have been able to respond to a situation which was thrust upon us.  However, this would not have been possible without the support of our staff, volunteers, corporate partners, funders and the Local Authority. We have been genuinely touched by the response from some of our corporate partners who have jumped to our side by way of donation of goods and monetary donations. These have been crucial to us being able to continue to provide the essential service for our service users. As ever, we are hugely grateful to every single one of you. 

Being at the Centre every day has made me aware of the great work our staff continue to do. However, it has also made me aware of the circumstances that some of our local residents have been faced with as a result of this awful virus. A number are directly affected healthwise where they are not sure if they actually have the virus. This has led to a lot of anxiety and fear which in turn has affected their mental wellbeing.    

Many are isolating and have been unable to see family and friends in almost two months. The physical isolation has impacted on their physical and mental health. It is worrying to hear of some of the effects on individuals and families. 

It is also horrendous to hear of some of the financial hardships which people are suffering from and the worry around the most basic issue of feeding themselves and their families. Some people have lost their income with no relief from the relentless worry of where the next meal or the next bag of food will come from. Some do not even proactively seek help because they do not want to take from others who, they believe, are in a more difficult situation than themselves. It is very humbling to speak to people and listen to their stories.  

We want to thank everyone who has supported St Luke’s in the past but particularly in the past eight weeks.   We can continue our work only through the generosity of our supporters especially those who have responded to our Just Giving appeal. I ask you, please do circulate our appeal (https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/slpt)  to as many people as possible in order for us to continue to support our local residents in genuine need. We are all grateful to you.