We are planning on resuming the support aspect of the charity’s work, face to face, in a COVID safe manner on Tuesday 13th April with our first Technology Café of 2021. This will be swiftly followed by our Wednesday Tea & Chat at Maidstone Hall on Wednesday 14th and our Thursday session in Old Felixstowe starting on 15th April, which is amazing! There are other dates and support activities planned as well, but we are aware that, until Social Distancing measures are relaxed (hopefully mid-June) things won’t be quite back to normal for some time yet.
These exciting future plans have given us a chance to reflect on the 13 months that have just passed. After all, who thought COVID-19 would have affected us all, so much, for so long? We could never have foreseen the charity closing its doors to activities, having instead to move its contacts with the people we enjoy meeting and chatting with each week onto a more ‘remote’ methodology. But, and I know you should never start a sentence with the word but, yet it seems so appropriate here, but, has closing our doors forced us to find different ways to create closer relationships with the people we work with? Has our ‘chatty letter’ initiative with people we’ve never met, but who wanted more contact with people outside of their own, now smaller, world, been a success?
We’re also wondering, has being locked down given us all a chance to not just ‘do’ tasks in and around our homes, but work out exactly what, and perhaps more importantly who, is important to us? Embracing online technologies like Zoom and What’s App have allowed us to stay in touch, but so has ordering online goods, no, not just clothes and shoes but books, music and jigsaw puzzles - who knew!
We can’t have failed to notice that the longer this pandemic has lasted, the more of a negative impact it’s had, both physically and mentally on so many, especially this third lockdown over the winter months. This is why we’re going to start April with a new weekly initiative entitled ‘Walk with Hope.’ Starting at 10.30am on Monday 12th April, we’ll start a walk with anyone who’s fed up walking alone, leaving from the Ranelagh Road car park toilets. Lasting no more than 45 minutes it will be a chance to walk, and chat, with someone new. Perhaps this might just kickstart your journey of recovery from what Covid has thrown at us all.
The emotional toll for so many has also been immense these past months. We’ve lost close family members, as have many others. That’s why our 4-week Bereavement Support Group will be hosted from 10th May to 7th June, with a chance to find out what it’s all about on Saturday 1st May, simply turn up at Maidstone Hall at 10.30am for the introduction.
As we think about restarting the work of the charity, we know some changes will be permanent, some will pass never to be seen again and some will shape how we move forward. However, the great news is this, we will move forward together; Hope Trust is still here, it’s not going anywhere, promise.