We listen to the news on a daily basis and hear about the fall in infections, the fall in people being admitted to hospital and Intensive Care and the fall in deaths as a result of the virus.  These falls in numbers are all good news because it means the virus is in retreat.  However, we are struck by these numbers as each number represents a human being who is a parent, grandparent, child, sister, brother of someone else.  The impact is huge and lasting.  

Here at St Luke’s, we continue to prepare for the return of our staff and the return of our service users.  We have spent some time looking at how so many staff will be able to come back into the Centre and go  back to their desks whilst at the same time keeping a proper distance from each other.  To achieve this, we are doing a number of things.

We are asking some staff, who are able, to work from home at least part of the time.  For those who are working from the office, we have rearranged the office by reducing the number of desks being used and spacing them out further from each other.  We have introduced a ‘one-way’ system for everyone to get around the Centre whilst maintaining social distancing. 

Above is a socially distant staff lunch break.

We are holding regular meetings with all staff by using Zoom.  Everyone logs into the meeting on their laptops and holds a conversation as if they were in the same room.  The difference is that it is a virtual room rather than an actual room.  It’s very strange to be talking to colleagues in this way even though they may be in the same office, at their desk but need to keep distant.   It’s necessary at the moment but I have to admit, I am really looking forward to all of us being back in the Centre again and being able to meet and speak together. 

We are also preparing for the re-opening of some of our services.  We have redesigned the lunch-club whereby eight people will be able to eat together.  If there is an interest in this, and we have more than eight people, we will be able to run two sessions of the lunch club.  One at noon and the other at 1.00 pm.  We will, of course, be ensuring that hygiene is paramount and will be cleaning down the whole area between sessions. 

We are very conscious of some of our members who have been at home and have been unable to get out and about.  We will run our minibus for those who may need help to come into the Centre.  At the moment, we are working out the logistics of this to see how many trips we might be able to make to bring people into the Centre.   We are also eyeing our two cargo bikes which have been sitting in the Garden room for the past three months without any use.   We may look for some of our members to volunteer to be collected by these bikes and brought into the Centre.   It would be great if we can!  We’ll ensure that all the safety precautions are taken and implemented in order to do so. 

Our café has been deep cleaned and redesigned to ensure we can operate sooner rather than later.  An exciting new menu has been put together to tempt the most cautious of people.   Our roof terrace has had a face-lift in anticipation of the approaching summer whilst at the same time taking advantage of the drop in pollution and the feel of the fresh air all around us whilst enjoying good nutritious food and drinks. 

As soon as Government guidelines permit, we will be re-opening our doors and welcoming everyone back in again albeit in accordance with social distancing.   I started off this page referring to the decline of the impact of the virus and I am finishing with the same point.  We are hopeful that we are going to get the ‘go-ahead’ very soon to resume our services in a new and different way.   We are prepared for that ‘go-ahead’ and can barely contain our excitement at the freedom, the clean air and the novel ways of working and providing services in the very near future.

If you can give anything to help St Luke's community support during lockdown please go to our JustGiving page. Thank you.

From Michael Ryan, CEO of St Luke's