At the Comfrey Project we have been doing our very best to respond as effectively as we can to the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has forced us to make some difficult decisions about the services we provide and to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. The health and wellbeing of our participants, volunteers and staff is of paramount importance to us; in order to protect them, we have had to suspend all face-to-face services for the present time.
Our team of staff have continued to work from home and with the incredible help from volunteers and members of the community who continue to support us in many ways, we have worked hard to find new ways to continue to support people in ways that do not compromise personal safety.
Among the new ways of working we have adopted include regular, monthly “checking-in” calls for all participants, making sure people are well, finding out what they need and getting ideas on what we, or they, can do to help. These are coupled by monthly distributions of “wellbeing packs” including essential items, like food or toiletries, gardening kits, creative and learning activities. We provide regular phone credit vouchers to some participants (mainly asylum seekers and families), share resources regularly and signpost people to other services available. As and when required, we also deliver various types of ad hoc support, including food vouchers, shopping assistance, and more.
We have also established a phone-based Befriending service; we are delivering 1-2-1 Language video sessions; we have set up a number of themed digital chat groups; we have started a couple of new, remotely delivered projects. All to help our participants stay in touch, active and motivated.
We are now looking ahead to the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions and working out what that will look like for us; it is difficult to foresee when normal service will be able to resume safely. We are planning to phase in limited site-based activities with small groups where we can ensure it is safe to do so, and are carefully reviewing our health and safety measures to determine what our capacity will be. We appreciate that many of our group members will be reluctant to return too soon. Under these circumstances we anticipate that we will remain closed until at least the 4th of July; our new remote services will continue to operate throughout this process.
While the site remains closed The Comfrey Project can still be contacted from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 07795 320 706, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our social media.
We urge all our participants, volunteers and partners to stay safe and keep informed by following the latest guidance from the government (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public) and NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/).
You may also find to following resources useful:
Samaritans: 116 123 or email email@example.com
Alcoholics Anonymous: 0800 032 5945
NHS: 111 advice / 999 emergency
Coping in Stressful Times: Advice in multiple languages: http://www.awp.nhs.uk/news-publications/publications/patient-information/translated/
Advice for Parents in multiple languages: https://www.covid19parenting.com/
Advice for Adults with Anxiety: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
Advice for Older People: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/coronavirus/#
On behalf of all at The Comfrey Project, Please Stay Safe!