Open for business

It’s now four weeks since we started the gradual re-opening of the Centre and we are so happy to see our regular service users back again. People are now coming in to have lunch in the dining room and to take part in the Bingo and Hoy sessions in the afternoon. We have moved the ‘club room’ down to the Garden Room (photo below) so people do not need to use the lifts. They can also sit in the terrace garden if the weather is good. 

This week, I became ever more conscious of the need to ensure our service users continue to be welcomed into the Centre in a safe environment. I had the great pleasure in wishing my mother a happy 94th birthday. She lives in a Nursing Home and she told me that all staff and residents had been tested for covid-19 and all tests had been negative. The sense of relief that swept over me was immense but also the gratitude to the staff who look after their residents. It made me acutely aware of the responsibility that we have at St Luke’s to ensure people are safe and happy when they visit the Centre.  

It’s really heartening to see 15 people in the Garden Room at the Bingo and Hoy. Because of the size of the Garden Room, all participants are able to stay at least two metres distant from each other.  Keeping the large windows open also gives good ventilation to the room. The easy garden access is an added bonus, and can be used by four or five people taking part in the activities. It has been really lovely, particularly on warm days. 

The lunch club is thriving and, as before lockdown, the menu usually dictates how busy it is.   Wednesday is ‘roast’ day and never fails to attract people. The fish and chips on a Friday is also a ‘big hitter’ with people.  However, we have found that, even though we could have up to twenty four people attending the lunch club, we are able to accommodate all by having two sittings of 12 people attending each session.  In this way, we are able to ensure everyone receives a meal in a safe and secure environment. 

Our minibus continues to be an important link for our service users with mobility issues.  Staff support an average of six people on a daily basis and are rigorous in cleaning down the bus after each person is transported. The bus is crucial for people who may not otherwise be able to travel to the Centre.  

Since the end of March, the Centre has continued to offer food in support of local families. It is unsettling to see the number of families who still need that support. After over three months of our world being turned on its head, there is still a large number of families who are faced with very difficult circumstances. As with most things, there is no one reason why this is the case.  It is usually a combination of reasons which has been magnified by lockdown and the severe strain which has resulted on household income. Whilst St Luke’s is really happy to be able to support the families, we are also struck by the difficulties that our local families continue to face. 

I am ending today with a very simple message.  We are faced with great need in our community but we are so fortunate to have the support and dedication of our staff, service users, volunteers, neighbours, funders, corporate partners, organisations and Local Authority.  The response of support from one and all has been magnificent and, for this, we once again voice our heartfelt thanks.   Thank you!

Michael Ryan, CEO of St Luke's